Dry Creek Drive and Highway 245 to Grant Grove in Sequoia Kings Canyon NP

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.

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Latitude: 36.3993165 Longitude: -119.0269089 Elevation: 484 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Mahalia LoMele

Length of Byway or Route

32 miles

Driving Directions

From Highway 198 in Lemon Cove, turn onto County Road 216 at the gas station. You will soon cross the Kaweah River, then make an immediate right onto Dry Creek Drive (also known as J-21). Continue until you reach a stop sign at the intersection of Dry Creek and Highway 245. Bear right onto 245. Continue through Badger and Pinehurst until you reach a stop sign at Highway 180. Turn right and continue into Kings Canyon National Park.

Highlights and Key Points Along the Route

- Kaweah River

- Dry Creek

- Dry Creek Preserve and Homer Ranch (Sequoia Riverlands Trust)

- Fairlea Ranch

- Mountain House (restaurant)

- Seven Circles Retreat (formerly Life of Reilly Lodge, formerly Badger Inn)

- Badger Creek Development (former site of Synanon and Baladullah; current site of the Hatchery Art Spaces)

- Pinehurst Lodge (restaurant; former sawmill)

- Neff's Camp (historic logging camp)

- Sequoia Lake

- entrance to Kings Canyon National Park and Grant Grove visitor area


I did the trip in reverse...mostly 2nd and 3rd gear..turning off 180 onto 245 its DOWNHILL NOW! Also at one point, off to the left there is Moro Rock in all its glory!! Not many places to pull off..I was practically the only vehicle on the road..more on the Dry Creek Highway the closer I got to the intersection of 216.

nick bonnell, 9/3/2014

This drive is beautiful any time of year, but especially in the spring, when the wildflower display is often breathtaking. Be sure to stop at Dry Creek Preserve on J-21, and you must make the short walk to the General Grant Tree in Grant Grove. Learn the stories of these special places at http://www.tularecountytreasures.org/dry-creek-preserve.html and http://www.tularecountytreasures.org/grant-grove.html.

Laurie Schwaller, 6/8/2015

We "accidentally" took 245 up to the park from Lemon Cove. We don't have such narrow roads in Michigan. It was a nail-biter when the logging truck came the opposite way, but when all was said and done, this drive was the highlight of our October trip to Southern California. Loved the Pinehurst Bar.

Jan Biliti, 11/8/2015

Went from Grant Grove to Hwy 198 following the map distributed by the National Park Service. We thought it was 245 all the way to 216 and never saw the turnoff for Dry Creek Road. If you want to take this route from Kings Canyon Nat'l Park back to 198, DO NOT miss the turn to Dry Creek Road. Continuing on 245 is a long and intense series of switchbacks, one after the other. If you are susceptible to car sickness, you're in trouble, believe me. And it takes forever. It took at least twice the time to make the entire drive on 245. I don't recommend it. However, I'd drive it again if I could be sure not to miss Dry Creek Road. Great scenery.

Janet Nicholson, 9/16/2016

My husband and I were out for a drive so I could take photographs of scenery. Just before we got to Lemon Cove, we took the J21, a left turn. What a WONDERFUL decision! We saw so many beautiful old barns, and buildings! Would love to know more on the history of the abandoned hotel/resort?? The trip DID take a long time, but, it was worth it! By the time we got to 245, it was dark! I am not real fond of heights, so "what is over the mountain" was a little scarier in the dark. The scenery was beautiful and I have some wonderful photos from our "date night".

cpkleve, 9/12/2018

After driving into the park and stopping at the welcome center, my grandmother and I were both sick. We are prone to motion sickness. The park ranger told us to take dry creek road as it was a much easier drive than continuing into the park because we had a while to go. BOY WAS HE WRONG! It took almost two hours! Driving on a one lane road on the side of the mountain was terrifying. The highest speed limit sign was 20 because of how curvy the roads are. Pretty scenery, but not worth it if you are prone to motion sickness or have a fear of driving on the side of a mountain.

Lauren , 2/22/2019

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