November 2005: The Generals Highway connects the two roads from which you can enter Sequoia and Kings Canyon. There are no entrance roads from the east. From the west, Highway 180 from Fresno enters Kings Canyon National Park at the Big Stump Entrance. Highway 198 from Visalia enters Sequoia at the Ash Mountain Entrance which goes through the town of Three Rivers.
In the summer, the Generals Highway connects the two roads, making loop trips available. During the winter, the Generals Highway between Lodgepole and Grant Grove may be closed due to snow.
The road from the Ash Mountain entrance starts out user friendly enough and certainly with beautiful views.
However, pretty soon it becomes obvious why it’s not recommended for RVs over 22 feet on the 12 mile stretch from the Potwisha Campground (which is about 4 miles past the Ash Mountain entrance from Three Rivers) and the Giant Forest Museum.
The rangers at the entrance will not specifically prohibit larger RVs from traveling the road, but there is good reason for the recommendation. The road is quite narrow in spots, and besides the frequent, sometimes hairpin curves, the 5-8% grades cause engine overheating and brake failures. There is a stated limit of 40 feet for single vehicles and 50 feet for RVs including a tow vehicle.
On this day, I was following my campground neighbors, The Dean Family, who decided to try it because they had no tow vehicle. They said they had no problem getting to the Giant Forest Museum (about 18 miles from the entrance), but on the way back down, their brakes got that “spongy” feeling and they had to pull off and wait a while until they could proceed safely.
Here’s an overview of a portion of the snaky highway as seen from atop Moro Rock. It truly is one of the most spectacular roads I’ve ever driven and one that should be savored and taken slowly for maximum effect.
I Spy Moro Rock. Can you believe my mom and I climbed that? Here’s proof!