Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks
Three Rivers, California 93271
Established September 25, 1890; March 4, 1940
865,952 acres. Open all year. Fee - $10/vehicle.
HIGHLIGHTS: Two vast tracts of wilderness in the heart of the Sierra Nevada offer a myriad of beautiful lakes, creeks, and six peaks over 14,000' high. Mt. Whitney is the tallest peak in the U.S. at 14, 496’, excluding Alaska. These parks are not nearly as crowded or developed as Yosemite.
The John Muir trail traverses the entire length on the eastern border of the adjoining parks. California 180 leads to General Grant Grove and the Visitor Center on the far western side of Kings Canyon, and to interior Cedar Grove, from which many trails lead to the high country. South of Grant Grove in Sequoia, off the Generals Highway, is the most famous grove of sequoia trees in the Sierras, the Giant Forest, as named by John Muir. On its northern edge is the General Sherman tree, more than 270' tall and still growing. It has been alive 2,300 to 2,700 years and weighs about 41/2 million pounds. Also off the Generals Highway are Lodgepole and Buckeye Flat campgrounds, beginning points for trails through Sequoia into the high country and across the Great Western Divide.
ACTIVITIES: Hiking, backcountry camping (permit required), mountain climbing, horseback riding, fishing, and downhill and cross-country skiing.
WILDLIFE: Black bear, mule deer, bobcat, mountain lion, porcupine, long-tailed weasel, badger, striped and spotted skunks, fisher, wolverine, Clark’s nutcracker, pine marten, water ouzel, Douglas’ (chickaree) and California ground squirrels.
PLANT LIFE: Giant sequoia, black and live oaks, white fir, ponderosa and sugar pines, alpine willow, sky pilot, columbine, and primrose.
TRAVEL TIPS: Avoid leaving any food in cars to avoid bear damage – follow instructions from rangers. Drive slowly as many of the park roads are steep and curvy; use low gears to avoid overheating brakes. Chains may be required in winter. Visitors with respiratory and circulatory problems should avoid higher elevations. Beware of lightning on exposed peaks during storms.
DIRECTIONS: From Modesto, take California120; from Fresno, take California Highway 180 west and follow signs to Sequoia National Park. From the south, go to Visalia and take 198; follow signs to the park. Nearest airport: Fresno.