s/y Nine of Cups
Sequoia / King's Canyon National Parks, California
May 2012
Return to Home Page
More national parks?
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra
Nevada mountains. Sequoia was established on September 25, 1890 and spans
404,063 acres encompassing  among its natural resources the highest point in the
contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. It is
the second oldest national park in the US.
The park is famous for its giant
sequoia trees
), including the
General Sherman tree,
reputedly  the largest tree on
Earth. The General Sherman
tree grows in the Giant Forest,
which contains five out of the
ten largest trees in the world
For a free history of the parks
and the efforts made to protect
the sequoias, read
Challenge of the Big Trees"...a
free park offering.
The vast majority of the
park is roadless
wilderness; no road
crosses the Sierra
Nevada within the
park's boundaries. 84
percent of Sequoia and
Kings Canyon National
Parks is designated
wilderness and is
accessible only by foot
or by horseback.
From left: Driving into the Giant Forest, the Four Guardsmen stand sentry; the auto log road made from one tree is no longer driveable; Marcie & David pose in front of General
Sherman, the largest living thing on earth; everything is up in this giant forest and we are dwarfed and humbled by the sheer magnitude and majesty of these colossal trees.
The park offers several short (1-3 mile) hikes, exploring different terrain and sights. Above, we explored Moro Rock, a granite dome with
a steep 1/4 mile staircase to the top. From the summit, there were spectacular views of the Great Western Divide below. Note the sign to
the right: As if!
We saw several mule deer and California grey squirrels.
Despite lots of warnings, the only bears we saw were carved or stuffed.
Tunnel Rock
It was early in the season and Crescent
Meadow was still covered in snow.
Tunnel Log was a pretty interesting drive-through.
King's Canyon National Park was
established in 1940 and covers
461,901 acres. It incorporated General
Grant National Park, established in
1890 to protect the General Grant
Grove of giant sequoiasThe Generals
Highway connects Sequoia National
Park to Kings Canyon National Park
via CA State Routes 180 and 198.  
Driving this 80-year-old road is a
wondrous part of the park experience.
It earns its name by carrying visitors up
nearly a mile in elevation from the
General Sherman Tree to the General
Grant Tree. Originally a wagon road,
the National Parks Service has done a
remarkable job of combining a
"mountain road" atmosphere with a
modern, safe highway. What a ride!
General Grant is found in Kings Canyon NP.
At 268' tall, it's called "the Nation's
Christmas Tree". It's also the only living thing
ever designated as a US National Shrine.
It is difficult to appreciate the size of the giant
sequoias because neighboring trees are so
large. The largest of the sequoias are as tall
as an average 26 story building and their
diameters at the base exceed the width of
many city streets. As they continue to grow,
they produce about 40 cubic feet of wood
each year, approximately equal to the volume
of a 50 foot tall tree one foot in diameter.
Big roots, big caverns ... it's all big and nearly overwhelming.
General's Highway, lined with wildflowers, is  fantastic and so are the views.
          Thank you, John Muir!
John Muir (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914 was a Scottish-
born American naturalist, author and early advocate of
preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays,
and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the
Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by
millions. His activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia
National Park and other wilderness areas.
The Sierra Club,
which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation
organizations in the United States.
President Bill Clinton expanded the protection
of the giant sequoias by proclaiming lands
surrounding and adjoining the national parks
as Giant Sequoia National Monument. Part of
the Sequoia National Forest, it includes 38 of
the 39 Giant Sequoia  groves that are located
in the Sequoia National Forest, about half of
the sequoia groves currently in existence.
From Sequoia-King's Canyon, we head rather indirectly
Yosemite National Park. Come along with us.

Beyond National Parks and Monuments, we also visited
lots of "off  the beaten path" places. Come along for the
ride ...  
American Odyssey.

                        Home Page