I don’t know how it works in national parks (or state parks for that matter) in other states, but here in California, good luck getting a campsite on a holiday weekend. You have to be waiting on your computer the very first day reservations become available for your desired dates, and then attempt to reserve your site the very moment the link goes live. Sorta like trying to register for classes back in college. And even then you still might not be successful.
On the one hand it’s awesome so many people want to visit and support our parks, but on the other, it sure makes life difficult.
By the time we decided to make this Kings Canyon trip happen, that narrow window to book a site within the park had long since come and gone. Everything within the park was already booked, and all the sites in Sequoia were gone too. However, the park is surrounded by Sequoia National Forest, and it has tons of campgrounds of its own. We were lucky and found a spot at Big Meadow Campground, which is only a 20 minute drive from Grant Grove.
The campground ended up being pretty cool. Lots and lots of space, plus less rules and regulations than the campgrounds inside the park. They actually allowed firewood gathering!
It came with a picnic table and fire ring, plus a bear locker to store your scented stuff (this park is probably one of the most bear infested parks in the whole country). Tons of room for tents, easy access to bathrooms (pit toilets), and firewood sold onsite by the campground host.
There is no running water though, which isn’t a big deal to me, but is something to keep in mind.
Despite its more primitive nature, this campground was really pleasant and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. I would definitely recommend this spot to others.
All the spots in Kings Canyon full? Click here to looks for availability in the national forest, near Hume Lake (which is what we did).
And if you want to check out Big Meadow campground specifically cause it’s awesome, click here to make reservations.
There is no shortage of campgrounds and lodging options near Kings Canyon, and even plenty of first come, first served sites available in case you couldn’t get a reservation. And the national forest area even allows people to set up camp outside of designated campgrounds (we saw tons of tents practically right next to the highway). So no matter what, you will be able to find a place to stay. But the longer you wait to get a spot, the worse your options become.
I mean, who wants to camp next to a highway? That just feels like tempting fate. Definitely not as fab as our spacious and secluded campground. So plan ahead and make those reservations folks!