Map of the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
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Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
In east-central California, near Three Rivers
Sequoia, the second-oldest national park in the United States, was established in 1890 to protect the Big Trees in Giant Forest, including the General Sherman Tree, the worlds largest living tree. There's an excellent Giant Forest Museum that traces the ecology of sequoias. Sequoia also contains Crystal Cave, filled with marble stalactites and stalagmites, and Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. (However, you can't easily access Whitney from the park itself.) A small portion of what is now Kings Canyon was 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 back-country wilderness. Together, Sequoia and Kings Canyon have a total wilderness area of 736,980 acres. There are a few small developed areas within and abutting the park, including Grant Grove Village and Cedar Grove Village in Kings Canyon, Wuksachi Village, the northern gateway to Sequoia, and Lodgepole in Sequoia. Sequoia National Park was established on September 25, 1890, and Kings Canyon National Park was established on March 4, 1940.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Auto touring, backpacking, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, viewing sequoias, visiting museum and cave. Facilities: 4 visitor centers: Cedar Grove (end of Rte. 180, Kings Canyon National Park), Foothills (Generals Rte., Sequoia National Park), Grant Grove (Rte. 180, Kings Canyon National Park), Lodgepole (Lodgepole Rd., just off Generals Rte., Sequoia National Park); ranger station (Mineral King, Sequoia National Park); outdoor interpretive exhibits and signs, 140 mi of scenic roads, 800 mi of hiking trails, museum. Book and map sales. Programs & Events: Ranger-led walks, talks, and evening programs; field seminars. Horseback rides (June-Sept.), Crystal Cave tours (May-Sept.), snowshoe walks (Dec.-Feb., depending on snowfall). Nations Christmas Tree Ceremony (2nd Sun. of Dec, General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon). Tips & Hints: Plan on a two-hour drive from Ash Mountain entrance on Rte. 198 to Grant Grove at Rte. 180 entrance. Add two to three hours for side trip from Grant Grove into Kings Canyon. Bring rain gear and layered clothing for hiking. Use extra caution when driving as many park roads are steep and narrow. Rent or buy bear-resistant food storage containers. Black bears inhabit the parklands; if you see one, make plenty of noise and wave your arms to scare it away, but do not run. Never approach a bear or a cub. Parks busiest June-Aug., least crowded Jan. and Feb.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
& Camping: 14 campgrounds in park (1,295 sites; $12-$20; some flush toilets, some pit toilets, some showers). Backcountry camping allowed (permit required, see below). S Hotels: In the parks: John Muir Lodge (Grant Grove Village, tel. 866/522-6966; 30 rooms, 6 suites; $89-$140), Cedar Grove Lodge (bottom of Kings Canyon, tel. 866/ 522-6966; 21 rooms, $99-$110; closed Oct.-May), Wuksachi Village (tel. 888/252-5757; 102 rooms; $177-$219). In Three Rivers: Lazy J Ranch Motel (39625 Sierra Dr., tel. 559/561-4449 or 888/315-2378; 18 rooms; $105). X Restaurants: In the parks: Grant Grove Village Restaurant (tel. 866/522-6966; $7-$15), Wuksachi Village Dining Room (tel. 599/565-4070; $5-$30). In Three Rivers: Gateway Restaurant & Lodge (45978 Sierra Dr., tel. 559/561-4133; $15-$32). 6 Groceries & Gear: In the parks: Grant Grove Village General Market (tel. 866/522-6966), Lodgepole Market (tel. 559/565-3301), Wuksachi Village Market (tel. 559/565-4070).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee: $10 per vehicle or $5 per person on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle. Backcountry permit (free) required for all backcountry camping. Hiking permit (free) required for all hiking to Mt. Whitney. California state fishing license required. No bikes on trails. Bear-proof storage required for food, trash, toiletries, baby wipes, and any other such scented items. Road to Mineral King in Sequoia National Park open Memorial Day-Oct., weather permitting. Vehicles longer than 22 feet not advised on Generals Rte. between Potwisha Campground and Giant Forest in Sequoia. Rte. 180 to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon open mid-Apr.-mid-Nov. Park open daily. Foothills Visitor Center open June-Aug., daily 8-5; Sept.-May, daily 8-4:30. Grant Grove Visitor Center open June-Aug., daily 8-6; Sept.-Nov. and Mar-May, daily 8-5; Dec.-Feb., daily 9-4:40. Lodgepole Visitor Center open June-Aug., daily 8-6; Sept.-Nov. and Mar-May, daily 9-5; Dec.-Feb., Fri.-Mon. 9-4:30. Mineral King Visitor Center open May-Oct., daily 8-4:30.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are no roads into the parks from the east. From the west, take Rte. 180 from Fresno to enter Kings Canyon and Rte. 198 from Visalia to enter Sequoia. Generals Rte. connects the two roads, making loop trips possible. In winter, the Generals Rte. between Lodgepole and Grant Grove may be closed by snow. Closest airport: Fresno (53 mi).
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (Visitor information, 47050 Generals Rte., Three Rivers, CA 93271, tel. 559/565-3341).
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. How to get by car to the
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. How to book a room and its price in the
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks