From your car window, view a wide variety of spectacular landscapes along one of our scenic routes: Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, Generals Highway, Western Divide Highway, and Sherman Pass Road.
Our definition of “scenic” reaches beyond breathtaking vistas. The Sequoia’s scenic drives are gateways to adventures. The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway and other scenic routes listed are accessible by passenger car. Additional information is available at forest offices.
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 180) provides the only vehicle route into Kings Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in North America. Travel through many of the southern Sierra life zones, and experience the spectacular geology of Kings Canyon. The route begins near the Hume Lake Ranger Station in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada at 1,800 feet in elevation and climbs to 6,400 feet. At Kings Canyon National Park, stop at the visitor center, or take a short hike to the General Grant Tree. The byway descends 2,700 feet to the Wild and Scenic Kings River. Take a guided tour of Boyden Cave, a magnificent limestone cavern beneath the massive 2,000-foot marble walls of the famous Portals of the Kings. Grizzly Falls is a great spot for a picnic lunch with a beautiful waterfall close to the road. The road ends at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. Travel time is about 2-3 hours. The section of the byway just below the turn-off to Hume Lake closes for the winter, so plan your tour of Kings Canyon mid-May to mid-October.
Beginning at Highway 180 in Kings Canyon National Park, this scenic route travels through the Giant Sequoia National Monument and then becomes the travel artery through Sequoia National Park to the community of Three Rivers at Highway 198. This route provides access to the Big Meadows and Eshom areas and also provides access to Tenmile Road, leading to Hume Lake. Forest Service campgrounds, Montecito Lake Resort, and Stony Creek Lodge are located on the Generals Highway. Portions of the highway close during the winter.
Western Divide Highway
The Western Divide Highway (M107) travels the dramatic ridgeline that divides the Kern River watershed from the Tule River watershed. This 15-mile scenic route begins at Quaking Aspen Campground and ends at the junction with M50. You can travel west on M50 to California Hot Springs and then on to Highway 65, or travel east to Johnsondale, dropping into the Kern River Valley. From this road, access numerous giant sequoia groves, fire lookouts, fishing streams, and trails. The road is closed to passenger vehicles during the winter, due to snow, but many still enjoy the area for snow play, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Sherman Pass Road
Sherman Pass Road (22S05) provides access to the Kern Plateau. This scenic route stretches from the North Fork of the Kern River in the west, east to the high desert, connecting to Highway 395. The road is open from late May or early June, depending on snow, until the snow falls in late fall or winter. From the west, this road climbs out of the Upper Kern River Canyon to Sherman Pass and falls to the east side of the Kern Plateau and then to the Mojave Desert. At the summit of Sherman Pass, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Sierra Crest and Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. As the road winds downward across the plateau on the east side, the forest changes from red fir to mixed conifer and to pinyon pine. The road is closed during the winter to passenger vehicles.