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8 under-the-radar gems of the National Park Service

By: Matt Hickman on April 2, 2010, 6:38 p.m.
Lower Vidette Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park

Photo: Miguel Vieira/flickr

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, California

An appropriate word to describe Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park — technically two separate parks but adjacent to one another — in the southern Sierra Nevada: "super-sized." This California beauty, the second oldest national park behind Yellowstone, boasts big trees, big skies, big mountains, big caves, big everything. Except for one thing: big crowds. The park's close proximity to Yosemite is somewhat of a blessing. Both share the same natural beauty, but Yosemite is traditionally congested with more admirers (and their cars). It's all good if you want to commune with fellow humans, but if you're looking to commune strictly with Mamma Nature, don't follow the crowd... do Sequoia and Kings Canyon.