Here's a seldom-traveled, beautiful back road alternative to entering Kings Canyon National Park from the south, via Dry Creek Drive, Highway 245, and Highway 180.
Dry Creek Drive has been described by one local resident as "my very long private driveway." And so it is: there are few cars on this unpainted county road. As they drive along it, travelers get a sense of moving from the bustle of civilization into a world dominated by nature, a place to breathe easier and see clearer. Spring wildflowers along this route are simply spectacular. Dry Creek Drive is a maintained county road (Tulare County J-21), paved but unlined, for cars, small RV's, motorcycles, and bicycles.
At approximately 3000 foot elevation, Dry Creek ends at Mountain House and the route continues on California Highway 245. This wind-y road follows a Native American footpath to the settlement of Badger, which offers cooler temperatures in the blazing heat of summer. Continue past grazing land and forest to Pinehurst at 4000 foot elevation. Once a logging outpost, this tiny settlement has become a vacation destination known for its even cooler climes.
Continue past the Pinehurst Lodge, following Highway 245's lined road, to Highway 180. Turn right and head directly into Kings Canyon National Park and the Grant Grove visitor center area. As you climb past 6000 foot elevation, look carefully and you will see a mature Giant Sequoia several miles before you enter the Park.