The core of Kings Canyon (i.e. the South Fork of the Kings River) is accessible by car only in the summer.
You first get a view of the canyon and the fork in the
Kings River soon after leaving Grant Grove. In the winter the
road closes through this section. Given that the canyon floor is only
about 4000' elevation
is also 4000'), it is probably not snowed in, but there is no access.
This shows the V shape of an eroded valley, not the U shape of a
Some references call this the deepest canyon in some subset of the world (with the depth measured somewhere in the vacinity of this picture). Since there is no really obvious flat top for the canyon (as is the case of the Grand Canyon) I take no stand on how deep it may be, except to say it is not an easy hike up. The view is primarily up the Middle Fork (which leads to Muir Pass and Palisade Creek
|The road is up the South Fork (to the right). Access to areas on the North Fork is via other routes (e.g. Courtwright Reservoir). These are far more interesting for hiking than the lower Middle Fork, and for most purposes, than the trails that leave the hot, dusty, low end of the road at Cedar Grove.|
|Once you drop down closer to the river, the road into Kings Canyon has the usual canyon views with cliffs and almost nowhere to stop for pictures. Being 100 miles south of Yosemite reduces the rain and snow (part of the general gradient of rain along the Pacific coast) in the winter season, and means the temperature is a little higher than Yosemite. The climate and different geology makes thses very different locations.|
|Grizzly Falls. The falls is visible along the road after crossing the river. The cascade is from a small tributary creek.|
|Mist Falls. This falls is a medium walk (9 miles round-trip, half of it is essentially flat, though the trail is soft) from Road's End just beyond the campgrounds and lodge in Cedar Grove.|