Sequoia National Park, CA
We did a lot of hiking in the Sequoia National Park. The biggest difference, I think, between the Redwood Forest and Sequoia is that the Redwood Groves are very dense with Redwood Trees and giant ferns. The Sequoia forest, on the other hand, is more of a traditional forest with lots of different kinds of trees growing along with the Giant Sequoias. Both parks are equally beautiful, but in different ways.
Sequoia also has enormous mountains (more scary driving!) gorgeous wildflowers (even Garrett with his stuffy nose mentioned how nice it smelled in the woods) and several rivers and streams with great rocks for climbing and swimming.
After several long hikes (one rather strenuous), a cave tour and a several hours spent exploring the woods, we were all beat. We had planned to drive to Kings Canyon late in the day, but it was hot, and G and N both fell asleep in the car after our last hike so we called it a day. Plus, I didn’t want to be driving back to camp after dark.
Camping: We camped in a little campground about 13 miles from Sequoia. That’s 13 miles of curvy, mountainous driving, so it took about 30+ minutes to get to the park and then another 30 minutes, once inside the park, to get to the hiking trails and giant trees. While towing a camper on those mountain roads would not have been fun, it would have been nice to stay in the park. That would also have meant no electricity or water hook ups but that would have been fine. The temperatures in the foothills (at our campground) were around 105 (115 at one point) and the high temps up in the mountains were only in the low 80’s, and much cooler at night. There is just something about camping in the woods that you just don't get at a commercial campground.
Our weekend at Sequoia happened to be the National Park Service “stimulate the economy” weekend—no park entrance fees (usually $20), so the park was busy! We hadn’t planned to be here for this weekend, it just worked out that way.