I thought I'd post my trip itinerary since we really enjoyed this trip, and I thought others might like to do something like this. We drove through the entire mountain range and chose south to north because we did it in spring (late May through early June). Here is the day by day:
Saturday: Flew in to L.A. (from Chicago) and stayed the night.
Sunday: Drove to Red Rock Canyon State Park and then stayed the night in Kernville, at the southern end of the Sierras. Red Rock Canyon is not part of the Sierras ( I think) but it,s a fun place to look around as you drive to the southern end.
Monday: Drove north from Kernville past the Trail of One Hundred Giants, past Ponderosa, hiked to the Needles, past Camp Nelson. We then drove out of the mountains and back in and entered Sequoia National Park.
Tuesday: HIked in Sequoia National Park.
Wednesday: Hiked in Sequoia National Park
Friday: Hiked in Kings Canyon National Park
Saturday: Left the mountains and drove to El Portal (one of Yosemite's western entrances).
Sunday: Hiked in Yosemite National Park
Monday: Hiked in Yosemite National Park
Wednesday: Hiked in the June Lakes/Mammoth Lakes area.
Friday: Drove to and explored Lassen Volcanic National Park. Stayed in Redding. While Lassen is not in the Sierras, driving there allowed us to complete the mountain range by driving on Route 36, which is the Fredonyer Pass, which is the northern end of the range. Also, couldn't bypass a nearby national Park!
Sunday: Flew home from San Francisco to Chicago.
Many people do a week in Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite. The full mountain range really requires more than a week, but if you have the time, it was an extraordinary trip.