The Sequoia National Forest, named for the world’s largest trees, celebrates the greatest concentration of giant sequoia groves in the world. Protected within the Giant Sequoia National Monument, these groves and the areas around them are managed by the U.S. Forest Service for today and for future generations.
These parks lie side by side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Activities and weather vary a lot by season and elevation, which ranges from 1,370′ to 14,494′. Sequoias grow, in the snow, above 5,000′.
From low foothills to the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, this remarkable range provides diverse and dynamic habitat for plants and animals of the Sierra Nevada. Rivers, Caves, Wildlife, Rock Climbing, and a Canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Sequoia National Park is the nation’s second national park, established on September 25, 1890. Its original legislation states “…whereas, the rapid destruction of timber and ornamental trees in various parts of the United States, some of which trees are the wonders of the world on account of their size and the limited number growing, makes it a matter of importance that at least some of said forests should be preserved.”
Kings Canyon National Park, established March 4, 1940, incorporates lands initially protected as General Grant National Park (established October 1, 1890 and abolished March 4, 1940). Of note, the park was established to ensure the permanent preservation of wilderness character 25 years prior to the passing of the Wilderness Act. The site protects the General Grant Tree, declared by legislation as the Nation’s Christmas Tree (1926) and a national shrine in memory of the men and women of the Armed Forces (1956).
The top Attractions at these parks include:
From where in the parks can I see Mt. Whitney?
Actually, you cannot see Mt. Whitney at all from park roads, which are all on the west side of the park. The Sierra Nevada mountains have an unusual double crest running north-south at the southern end of the range. Since Mt. Whitney is on the eastern crest, the peaks of the Great Western Divide block views of the eastern crest from the west side of the park. Mt. Whitney is most easily seen from the Owens Valley, east of the parks.
If you’re willing to climb to the top of Alta Peak (11,200 feet high; a strenuous but exhilarating day-long hike from Wolverton or Giant Forest), you can see the top of Mt. Whitney over the Great Western Divide (weather permitting).
Where can I:
•WALK A PET?
In National Parks: Not on trails but it’s ok in developed areas ( picnic areas, campgrounds, roads).
In National Forest: Pets can go on trails. In both areas: Pets must be on a leash less than 6 feet (1.8m) long. Don’t leave pets in hot cars.
• FEED WILDLIFE?
Not in either area! Animals become unnaturally dependent. Some can be dangerous and may have to be killed. Some can carry disease. Roadside beggars get hit by cars.
• GO CAMPING?
In National Parks: Only in numbered sites in designated campgrounds.
In National Forest: In campgrounds or, unless posted otherwise, near roadsides. Pull safely off the road & no further.
• HAVE A FIRE?
In National Parks: Only in fire grills in campgrounds & some picnic areas.
In National Forest: Fire permits are required outside picnic area grills & campgrounds. Get one at Grant Grove Visitor Center or the USFS office in Dunlap on Hwy 180.
• COLLECT THINGS?
Not in National Parks: Leave everything to play its natural role in the ecosystem.
In National Forest: Gathering a few cones or rocks for personal use is permitted. In both areas: Archeological sites & artifacts are protected by law.
Not in either area. Stay on roads.
• CUT WOOD?
Not in the National Parks.
In National Forest: Call Hume Lake Ranger District for permit & guidelines: 559-338-2251.
• GO FISHING?
In both areas: Permitted during the season; a California fishing license is required for ages 16 & up. Get copies of park-specific regulations at any visitor center.
• RIDE SNOWMOBILES?
Not in the National Parks.
In National Forest: Only on designated snowmobile routes. Snowmobile trailheads are at Big Meadows, Quail Flat & Cherry Gap.
• GO PICNICKING?
Look for picnic symbols on the map you get when you enter the park, or click here to find a Maps link. Never leave food unattended!
Most sites have tables, restrooms & fire grills, except: No fire grills at Foothills & Sandy Cove. No fires permitted at Lodgepole & Crescent Meadow. No water at Grizzly Falls, Halstead, & Powdercan.
• RIDE A BICYCLE?
In National Parks: Keep bikes on roads only, not on any trail.
In National Forest: Ask a ranger which trails permit bicycles. In both areas: Be careful & courteous near pedestrians & horses. People under 18 must wear a helmet.
What is special about the caves in Sequoia and Kings Canyon?
The caves in these national parks formed in marble, which is metamorphosed limestone. Most caves, such as Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, are limestone caves. So far, over 200 caves have been discovered in the parks. Some contain creatures found nowhere else on earth. It is said that, even if there were no sequoia trees here, these parks would be a national treasure based on the caves.