King’s Canyon National Park is an absolute treasure of place to visit, especially by motorcycle. The 461,000 acre National Park has beautiful valleys between breathtaking glaciers, and some of the world’s largest grand sequoia trees thought to be thousands of years old. It’s hard to imagine, but you can just rent a motorcycle in Los Angeles, get out of the chaos and fakeness of the city, and be somewhere naturally beautiful.
Before you get started, here are 10 tips to know before your first motorcycle ride in King’s Canyon National Park:
- Some of the roads will take you winding between mountains or along mountainsides. The views of valleys and glaciers can be impressive, but also run the risk of being distracting. Make sure you pull over and take lots of “scenic breaks” so that you don’t find yourself getting lost in the scenery and veering into oncoming traffic (it happens sometimes).
- It can get windy, which may seem obvious, but keep in mind we’re dealing with heights here, meaning the wind can add an extra bit of “excitement” to your King’s Canyon experience. If you want a refresher on riding in windy conditions, check this out.
- Pack a lot of snacks and drinks, because once you’re in, you won’t want to leave. Bringing more food and drinks then you think you’ll need ensures that you can stay a little longer if you want to. Not only that, but you’ll be working up an appetite from checking out some of the sights I’m going to recommend that you visit.
- King’s Canyon isn’t overrun with tourists yet, so while you will find others out there if you get into trouble, you won’t be dealing with the same level of traffic and people around as you would find in Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks. As long as everything goes well, which it should, this is definitely a good thing!
- As with all National Parks, the general rule is “Leave no trace” – that includes not only bringing your litter home with you, but if you do business in the park, you’re expected to bury it, so pack a little garden hand shovel, and a bag to collect all of your garbage throughout your visit.
- Grizzly Falls is a beautiful waterfall that makes for a great cool spot to stop, have a bite to eat, or even wet your feet. The terrain is rugged, so if you have a cheap pair of water shoes, your feet will thank you.
- If you’re looking for a next place to visit within the park, Zumwalt Meadow combines a meadow with a river, with a view of mountains and in one picturesque spot that most people describe simply as “stunning”.
- Some parts of the park can be a little flooded depending on the season. Early in the year the snow could still be melting, and water levels could still be high. Because motorcyclists are limited to how much we can carry with us, I recommend you call 1-559-565-3341, the phone number for King’s Canyon National Park and talk to someone there about what to expect, so you can bring only what’s necessary.
- Roaring River Falls is another great destination. It’s a short hike from the road and the water here is rough, but it’s totally worth it to see. Feeling the raw power of this waterfall is humbling to any motorcyclist visiting it, no matter what the displacement of his or her motorcycle.
- If you feel like camping, you can buy a really basic tent that includes it’s own little “garage” to cover your motorcycle for only $210. The overall package itself is designed to be small enough to be easy to travel with and to transport on a motorcycle using just some a cargo net or some bungee cords. They’re also super easy for one person to install. I spent many weekends in my early twenties in these. They’re as basic as it comes but they’re perfect for moto camping.
King’s Canyon National Park is absolutely stunning, some have called it California’s Iceland. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Los Angeles, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by the city, rent a motorcycle and check out King’s Canyon. You’ll thank me when you get back.