At a quick 5-10 minute drive from Grant Grove, this viewpoint is one of the best places to stare down into Kings Canyon from above and one of the best places to see and photograph the sunrise. I got the opportunity to spend some time here recently and here is everything you need to know about sunrise at Panoramic Point.
- Two mile drive uphill and a less than .5 mile hike to the lookout point
- Arrive around 30 minutes before the sunrise is scheduled so that you can hike and set up
The drive itself is one and a half lanes most of the way, but at sunrise there is never much traffic so you shouldn’t have much issue getting to the top. Do watch out for deer and bears though, we saw a lot of deer and one small bear while driving up.
From the parking lot you will take the short paved road and follow the signs for Panoramic Point. The path is a gradual uphill but it is not very difficult, when you reach the first plaque you can set up here or proceed uphill.
Personally, I would recommend proceeding uphill to the area near the second plaque as this area has a better view of Hume Lake below so it adds some contrast to the sea of trees.
After setting up you will just be waiting for the sun to start doing its thing. I like to take pictures before, during and after so that you can see the progression of the light.
Here are a few photos from my time up there, I mostly shot with a 24-105 lens and loved being able to have the zoom range that it provided to craft my shots. I had a wide angle with me as well but it took away from the view.
As you can see this is a fantastic place for sunrise, it is one of the better ones I have seen on my travels in California and I can easily say that it is worth the effort to set your alarm and get out of bed. Heck, you might even make a new friend while heading down the path.
If you have another spot you like for sunrise be sure let me know and read more about my time in this National Park at my other blog CaliforniaThroughMyLens.com.