There are 35 miles of marked backcountry trails in the parks. For information, call park concessionaires (tel. 559/335-5500 in Grant Grove, 559/565-4070 in the Wuksachi Lodge area).
In Sequoia, the Pear Lake Ski Hut is open to the public for overnight backcountry accommodations from mid-December through April for $30 to $40 per person per night. The hut is equipped with a pellet stove and cooking gear, but guests need to bring their own food. The hike is almost 7 miles one-way and has a 3,000-foot gain. Reservations are by a November lottery, but there are often openings during the season. Call tel. 559/565-4222 for more information.
Open all year for trout fishing -- rainbow, brook, German brown, and golden trout -- are the Kaweah drainage, the parks' lakes, and a section of the South Fork of the Kings River. Most other waters are open for trout fishing from late April to mid-November, and for other species year-round. California fishing licenses (available at stores in the park) are required for anglers 16 and older; you should also get a copy of the National Park Service's fishing regulations, available at visitor centers.
Guided horseback and mule rides and overnight pack trips are offered by concessionaires in both parks and the adjacent national monument during the summer. In Kings Canyon, Cedar Grove Pack Station (tel. 559/565-3464 in summer, 337-2314 in winter) is located about 1 mile east of Cedar Grove Village, and Grant Grove Stables (tel. 559/335-9292 in summer, 337-7242 in winter) is located near Grant Grove Village. In Giant Sequoia National Monument, Big Meadow (tel. 559/565-3404 in summer, 564-6429 in winter) is located on Big Meadows Road, 10 miles east of Generals Highway. The pack stations offer hourly rides as well as overnight treks, while the stables offer day rides only. Rates are $40 for a 1-hour ride and $60 for a 2-hour trip; call for current charges for pack trips.
Free ranger-led snowshoe tours take place in both parks on Saturdays and holidays when conditions permit. Call tel. 559/565-4480 (Wuksachi) or tel. 559/565-4307 (Grant Grove). There are also several snowshoe trails and around Wuksachi Lodge (tel. 559/565-070); rentals are available at the lodge.
The Kaweah and Upper Kings rivers within the parks are not open to boating (neither kayaks nor inflatable rafts), but several companies run trips on the rivers just outside the parks. You're guaranteed to get wet on this thrilling roller-coaster ride through the rapids; it's a great way not only to see these scenic rivers, but also to experience them close up.
Whitewater Voyages (tel. 800/400-7238; www.whitewatervoyages.com) offers trips on the Kaweah, Kings, Merced, and other rivers, with rates that range from $99 to $219 for half- and full-day trips. Multiday trips are also available (call for rates). Kings River Expeditions (tel. 800/846-3674 or 559/233-4881; www.kingsriver.com) specializes in rafting trips on the Kings River. Day trips run $90 to $160 per person. Overnight trips are also available (call for rates).