- Sequoia is the second-oldest national park in the United States. It was established in 1890 to protect the Big Trees in Giant Forest, including the General Sherman Tree, the world's largest living thing. Sequoia also contains the Mineral King Valley and Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
Copyright: National Park Service
Kings Canyon National Park
A small portion of what is now Kings Canyon was originally set aside in 1890 as General Grant National Park. In 1940, General Grant was absorbed into the new and larger Kings Canyon National Park which eventually grew to include the South Fork of the Kings River and 456,552 acres of backcountry wilderness. Managed as one park, together Sequoia and Kings Canyon total over 863,700 acres.
Recreation - Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park provides many opportunities for the nature lover to explore and learn about its varied terrain. The Ash Mountain and Grant Grove visitor centers are open all year. The Cedar Grove Visitor Center, located at the bottom of the Kings Canyon, is open between late May and September. The Lodgepole Visitor Center is open daily from April to early November, and on weekends during the snowy season. The Mineral King Visitor Center is open June to Labor Day. Roadside exhibits along the Generals Highway and Highway 180 interpret the natural and human history of the Sierra. Together, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks contain 140 miles of roads and 800 miles of trails.
Ranger-led walks, talks and evening programs are offered primarily during the summer, but some are offered throughout the year. During the summer,
concessioner-operated bus tours and horseback rides are also available.
Campgrounds in Sequoia & Kings Canyon are operated by the National Park Service. In Sequoia Park, South Fork and Mineral King campgrounds have pit toilets. All other campgrounds provide flush toilets. All areas except South Fork have drinking water and sanitary disposal stations. There are no hookups for RVs in any of the park campgrounds. Showers are available in summer at Lodgepole, Grant Grove and Cedar Grove through the concessioner. Additional campgrounds are located in the national forests adjacent to the parks.
Climate - Deep snow often covers the middle elevations in southern California from December to May, but subzero temperatures are rare. Precipitation falls mostly between January and mid-May, but thunderstorms, rain and even snow can occur at any time of year.
Temperatures vary with elevation. In the summer, daytime temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F in the foothills, but seldom exceed 90 degrees F in the sequoia groves. Even in the summer, backpackers in the high country can encounter nighttime temperatures in the low 30s, and occasionally even in the 20s.
In any season, it is wise to bring clothing that can be "layered". Always include some kind of rain gear.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is located in southern California east of Highways 5 and 99. The site lies within Fresno and Tulare counties.