Living Here

Three National Parks in our Backyard

Yosemite Falls

Just 2½ hours from Porterville, you can be in your choice of three world famous national parks in the Sierra Nevada – incomparable Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park or scenic Kings Canyon National Park.

To visit all three, budget at least three to five days. The entrance fee for each park is $20.

Here is a suggested itinerary for three days if you have a car and start your trip out of Porterville. First, gas up in Porterville.

Day 1 – Drive to Yosemite through Fresno on Highway 41. It's 2½ hours to the entrance and another 30 minutes to the valley floor. Short walks to three outrageous waterfalls. Lunch at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel and visit eyepopping Glacier Point on your way back. Travel back to Porterville that evening. If you have another day, stay in Yosemite (accommodations: 559-252-4848).


Day 2 – From your Porterville hotel, travel 45 minutes up Highway 198 to Three Rivers to the Sequoia National Park entrance and another 45 minutes to Giant Forest, home of the Big Trees. Stop at Giant Forest Museum, see Moro Rock, and then go to the General Sherman Tree and take pictures in front of the world's largest tree. Walk in Giant Forest Grove next to Sherman Tree, a favorite hike of John Muir himself. Stop in Three Rivers for a treat on your way back to Porterville. If you have another day, stay in Sequoia National Park at Wuksachi Lodge (559-565-4070) and hike to Tokapah Falls, see Redwood Mountain Grove.

Kings Canyon

Day 3 – From your Porterville hotel, take Highway 65 to Highway 198 to Visalia, then take Highway 63 north of Visalia through Orange Cove to Highway 180 and up to the Kings Canyon National Park entrance about one hour. Stop at the Kings Canyon Visitor Center in Grant Grove and visit the General Grant Tree. Have lunch at the restaurant at Grant Grove. Travel further on Highway 180 into the scenic canyon part of the park and visit Boyden Cave along the mighty Kings River. Return to Porterville.

Have another day? Head up to alpine-like Mineral King Valley off 198 in Three Rivers. Picnic in the valley 2½ hours up from Visalia, a five-hour round-trip, but worth it!

**Article borrowed with permission from Discover Magazine/Valley Voice Newspaper.

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