Giant Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Photo and Information


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 Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park include beautiful displays to behold. A fours seasons feast ranges from colorful wildflowers in the spring to summer greens, fall foliage for leaf peeping and winter snows. But the main attraction is the Giant Sequoia forests and groves.

Just six hours by car from Los Angeles or San Francisco, the Sierra Nevada mountain range contains the first national park established in California, Sequoia National Park. Important because of a treasure that exists, this is the home of the world's biggest tree. Not the tallest tree, Hyperion, which is hidden in a forest along the Redwood Coast in the Redwood National and State Parks, standing in a moss and fern grove which obscures some of its 379.1-foot height, nor the oldest tree named Methuselah, which is visible in the Inyo National Forest near Bishop, California, dating to 4,841 years. The Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument honor the world's largest tree, General Sherman, weighing in at 6167 tons (12,334,000 pounds) and standing 274.9 feet tall.  You can drive through a tunnel cut into a fallen giant sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park. Named Tunnel Log, you'll find it in the Giant Forest along the Moro Rock Road.

Part of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, a 2,600-mile designated trail stretching from Canada to Mexico, 78 miles of Sequoia National Forest are included, along with the Giant Sequoia, the world's largest tree. It grows in more than 30 groves on the forest slopes of this national park, one of 19 in California.  With elevations range from 1,000 feet to over 12,000 feet, there's plenty of challenge in a variety of outdoor sports activities. There are  three National Recreation Trails in the forest named Cannell Meadow, Jackass Creek and Summit, hundreds of miles of paved roads, trails and abandon trails, and ample room to roam. Forest drives, hiking and offroad in designated areas are some of the options to enjoy.  


At the national park located in the Sierra Foothills east of the San Joaquin valley of California, the climate varies wildly from semi-desert heat during the summer months to snow banks on the mountain peaks during the winter.


Guest visiting the park can camp, hike and even go on cave tours beginning in May each month and running through the summer. The cave tour does not allow tripods, wheelchairs or other items so it's a 50 minute excursion in dark caves led by flashlight that's appropriate for those who are mobile.  A fee is charged (around $11-15, subject to change) and tours are limited to 50 people.


Getting there: Crystal Cave tours are quite an ordeal, but well worth the fun. You can't buy tickets at the cave. You can only get them at the visitors center, Foothills or Lodgepole, in the Sequoia National Park. From those locations, it will take about 90 minutes to drive to the cave location. Located off  Generals Highway between the Ash Mountain entrance and Giant Forest in the park, there's a half-mile trail hike along Cascade Creek to the cave entrance where you meet your guide.


Where to stay: Hotel pickings can be slim since there are only a few hotels nearby. Wuksachi Lodge is the first choice as it is located in the park. But often it is full so you may opt for a hotel down the mountain in Three Rivers.


Who to contact: The National Parks office is located at: Sequoia National Forest, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA 93257. Call: (559) 784-1500


Other points of interest on the forest include designated wilderness areas, lakes, quaking aspen campgrounds and rivers that can be quite treacherous in the spring after a snow melt.



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