The vibrant cultural scene, world-renowned landmarks, and delicious cuisine in Los Angeles make it a popular destination for tourists. From the beautiful Santa Monica beaches to the exciting streets of Hollywood, there is an endless amount of things to do. In spite of this, you might be itching to get out of city life and into something a bit more relaxing, which is why you’ll want to consider a Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park road trip.
While you can technically do this drive in one day, it’ll be a long adventure, so it’s best to break it up into stops. Plus, you never know what new town you might discover and decide to spend more time in. That’s why I’m constantly on the road – road trips let you stop whenever, wherever, and give you so much more freedom than being stuck in a plane. I’ve found so many new cities by accident during trips like these that I ended up going back later to explore them more.
With that, let’s get into everything you need to know about driving from Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park.
Tips for a Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park Drive
Before you set off, grab my handy family road trip checklist and then scan these useful tips below to help make your LA to Sequoia adventures even smoother.
How Long Is an LA to Sequoia National Park Drive?
The trip spans about 220 miles along Interstate 5 (I-5), with stretches of road that are narrow and winding in some parts.
Can You Do a Day Trip to Sequoia From Los Angeles?
The direct drive is certainly doable non-stop, but I believe road trips are more rewarding when they include a few overnight stays.
If you extend the trip, this will allow you to go sightseeing, soak up the charm of several small towns en route, and pack a whole lot of activity into the entire ride.
When Is the Best Time in the Year for an LA to Sequoia National Park Road Trip?
For a quieter period with less road traffic, opt for spring (March-May) or fall (September-November). While these seasons are typically mild and temperate, the weather can be a bit unpredictable. Cool nights follow warm days, so packing a few warm sweaters won’t hurt. You’ll also get to enjoy the perks of cheaper accommodation prices.
If you prefer not to compromise on those sizzling summer experiences, travel from LA to Sequoia in the peak season – between June and August. Just keep in mind that this is the busiest period, and prices tend to be higher.
Sequoia National Park operates year-round, so you’re free to visit whenever suits you best, depending on your travel preferences.
Tip: For winter babies who don’t shy away from road trips during the colder months (December-February), you can still venture to Sequoia National Park for the attractions available. Remember to be well-prepared for the snow-covered roads (e.g., take your snow chains with you for extra tire grip).
Next Read: LA is the launching pad for many road trips across the state. Here are 15 incredible LA-San Francisco stops when you want to explore more of California.
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Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park Road Trip Map
Do you want to get a visual of what the LA to Sequoia trip entails? Take a peek at this map.
7 Stops on a Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park Road Trip
When you make your way through California from LA to Sequoia National Park, a spectacular array of marvelous scenery and tourist spots await. Organize the car like a pro, then get ready for a wild and wonder-filled expedition.
1. Los Angeles
Your road trip fiesta through the Golden State begins in Los Angeles, the city of bright lights and big Hollywood stars. Spend a few hours here doing a bit of shopping and sightseeing.
One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is Griffith Observatory, a stunning location offering astonishing views of LA and the opportunity for cosmology enthusiasts to geek out a little. This famous observatory has also served as a film site for blockbusters like Jurassic Park, The Terminator, La La Land, and Transformers.
It isn’t an authentic LA experience without a curated tour. So, how do you fancy a guided Warner Bros. Studio walkabout? You’ll see classic movie sets and sound stages and get insights into some of Hollywood’s moving-making secrets.
After you’ve gotten a taste of the LA glitz and glam, get onto the I-5 to head to Santa Clarita, a no-fuss, 45-minute (32-mile) drive.
2. Santa Clarita
LA outings and delightful, romantic destinations like Santa Clarita make for fun-filled road trip ideas for couples. I suggest making this your first overnight stay to take full advantage of exploring the city at your own pace.
Take an approximate 10-minute ride to Mentryville for a history-inspired self-guided tour of a location once considered the state’s oil-producing trailblazer. You’ll spot “Pico Number 4,” one of the world’s oldest running oil wells.
Spend the rest of your time in Santa Clarita meandering through Main Street, mixing with the locals, and enjoying the culinary scene on your road trip to Sequoia National Park from Los Angeles.
My top picks for delicious food and drinks in the area are:
- Gyromania – for tasty Greek meals
- The Original Saugus Cafe – for classic American comfort food
- The Old Town Junction – for delectable slow-roasted rib dishes
- Pulchella Winery – for premium wine-tasting experiences
- Pocock Brewing Company – for the best beer and pizza in town
- Newhall Refinery – for an upscale gastropub atmosphere
Leaving from SF? Here’s my San Francisco to Sequoia National Park road trip itinerary.
3. Six Flags Magic Mountain
Just 10 minutes (five miles) from Santa Clarita is Six Flags Magic Mountain, your third stop and one of the best theme parks in the country. Explore 260 acres of amusement park mania, where over 100 games, rides, and attractions are up for grabs.
If you’re cruising with little ones and you let them indulge in all sorts of kids’ road trip snacks, the perfect place to burn off all that extra energy is Six Flags on your Sequoia National Park road trip from Los Angeles.
The park also hosts themed music festivals and cultural celebrations that you can get involved in when visiting during certain periods. The aim of this leg of the trip is to let loose and channel your inner child. Enjoy thrilling, carnival-inspired hours of carefree joy and entertainment.
After your Six Flags hoopla, it’s time to head for Castaic Lake, a short 20 minutes (10 miles) away.
Castaic Lake is one of the state’s prettiest reservoirs, and you’ll love stopping here on your road trip from Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park. This is a popular destination for holidaymakers wanting a quiet escape in the Sierra Pelona Mountain region. Many travelers enjoy activities like swimming, fishing, and camping while here.
Your first point of call is Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, where you can embrace a relaxing picnic and embark on a short scenic hike too. This area’s natural beauty will inspire captivating road trip captions for Instagram, so go photo crazy and snap as many pictures as possible.
Hasley Canyon Park is another great location in Castaic for picnics, leisure walks, and nature photography. If you prefer a few hours of fun in the sun at the beach, then you’ll love Pyramid Lake’s Vaquero Beach.
You can swim, kayak, or enjoy pedal boating. Thereafter, all roads lead to Bakersfield, an hour and 20 minutes (74 miles) from Castaic.
Make sure to buy your America the Beautiful pass ahead of time so you can easily enter all the national parks for a low price.
Chances are spirits are still high at this point in the trip, but if you feel the car atmosphere waning, try my road trip trivia questions to pep up the mood. There’s no rush once you get to Bakersfield, so I propose lodging here for the night.
Bakersfield is about enriching cultural experiences and seizing opportunities to learn something new. So, if museums are your thing, here are two winning options:
- Buena Vista Museum of Natural History: This Bakersfield gem is for science fiends who want to immerse themselves in all things archeology, anatomy, and more.
- California Living Museum: Plant and animal lovers will revel in the wildlife spoils at this sanctuary, where you can view a bevy of magnificent creatures and plant species.
Stroll around downtown Bakersfield, popping into one of the lively burger joints or cocktail bars before turning in for the night on your drive from Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park.
After a night’s rest in Bakersfield, you’ll travel 1 hour and 45 minutes (109 miles) to Fresno. This is your penultimate major break before reaching the final destination. So, activate a bit of slow travel and squeeze in a third overnight stop here.
Fresno is an abundant agriculture-driven landscape in the San Joaquin Valley and a much-favored stop for LA to Yosemite road trips as well. Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a must-visit attraction because who isn’t fascinated by stingrays and sea lions?
To switch things up, spend an hour or two at the Shinzen Japanese Garden. Nature meets art and tradition in this striking, tranquil setting celebrating Japanese heritage. There’s a tea house, a bonsai garden, an enchanting grove, and a koi pond.
For an organized group experience, you might like to do a Kearney Mansion Museum and Gallery tour to learn more about the city’s agricultural history.
7. Sequoia National Park
When you leave Fresno and drive for an hour and 30 minutes (77 miles) onward, you’ll finally hit the glorious Sequoia National Park. This is your last stop and your chance to fill your time with outdoor activities.
Sequoia National Park is a nature wonderland of mesmerizing canyons, rugged highlands, majestic mountains, and towering trees. Since Kings Canyon National Park is only 20 minutes (10 miles) away, why not amp up your explorations and visit both parks on your Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park road trip?
At Sequoia, appreciate the splendor of all the sequoia groves. Then, when you get to Kings Canyon National Park, discover the different waterfalls, valleys, and mountain peaks.
Sequoia National Park Tours
Consider including any of these three excellent Sequoia National Park tours in your itinerary:
- Semi-private tour to Sequoia National Park with lunch
- Private guided hiking tour of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
- Stargazing in Sequoia National Park
Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park Itinerary: 4 Days
The LA to Sequoia voyage is bite-size, but that’s more reason to extend it over a few days to get the most from the different stops during the trip. Here’s my recommended four-day itinerary to make your Los Angeles to Sequoia road trip one to rave about for months to come.
Day 1: Los Angeles to Santa Clarita
The first stretch of your trip is a comfortable 45-minute drive from Los Angeles to Santa Clarita. With much to see and do, you can tailor your time to match your favorite activities.
In LA, visit acclaimed attractions like Universal Studios for a glimpse into the magical world of Hollywood movie-making. You can also dip into the city’s history at the San Fernando Rey de España Mission.
Take it easy in Santa Clarita. Saunter around Main Street, indulging in boutique shopping and sampling what’s on offer on the gastronomy side of things.
Where To Stay: Hotel Lexen affords the perks of a fitness center, a sun terrace, and a trendy on-site bar. (Rates start at around $128 per night.)
Day 2: Santa Clarita to Bakersfield
Day two of your LA to Sequoia road adventure will see you make your way from Santa Clarita to Bakersfield, a one-hour, 20-minute journey. There are two fantastic destinations worth seeing before you get there, however.
The first is Six Flags Magic Mountain, your ultimate high-energy, adrenaline-inducing opportunity to keep things light and childlike with some theme park fun.
Next, bring things back down to earth with a lovely picnic or long walk at Castaic Lake. Seal the day by going museum-hopping or bar-crawling in Bakersfield before retiring for the night.
Where To Stay: At Hourglass Hotel, you can luxuriate in your comfy room or mingle and socialize in the garden courtyard. (Rates start at around $107 per night.)
Day 3: Bakersfield to Fresno
On the second-last day of this expedition, you’ll be looking towards Fresno, which sits an hour and 45 minutes (109 miles) from Bakersfield.
From zoos to museums to parks and gardens, try to mix it up when you get to Fresno. If you’re a fan of birds (and slight detours), drive 50 minutes from Bakersfield to Kern National Wildlife Refuge to witness an extraordinary wildlife habitat.
Where To Stay: Comfort Suites Fresno River Park is close to Millerton Lake State Recreation Area and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. (Rates start at around $131 per night.)
Day 4: Fresno to Sequoia National Park
From Fresno, it’s a quick one-hour, 30-minute ride to Sequoia National Park. Let the last day of your awesome road trek be your time to reconnect with nature. At Sequoia, you’ll get to recenter yourself before making the return trip and getting back to your busy life.
The beauty of your final destination is that it allows a two-in-one national park adventure at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, only 10 miles apart. See mountains, canyons, mind-blowing sequoia trees, and more.
Where To Stay: Three Rivers’ Comfort Inn & Suites Sequoia Kings Canyon is about six miles from Sequoia National Park, with the convenience of a seasonal national park shuttle service. (Rates start at around $144 per night.)
I know you’ll feel inspired and keen to add more road-tripping exploits to your travel bucket list. If so, take an amazing cross-country excursion from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon.
Now it’s time to start planning your Los Angeles to Sequoia National Park road trip!