Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park, California

With the gigantic redwoods (sequoias), the deep gorges and impressive mountains, the two adjacent national parks are among the most popular destinations in California’s Sierra Nevada.

The humid climate with dry summers and snowy winters offers ideal conditions for the main attraction of the region: the giant sequoias. The first specimens were discovered during an expedition in 1833. Soon after, the first was felled. The slices were even shipped to Europe as “evidence” in the early 1850s. Large-scale deforestation followed. After entire sections of forest fell victim to saws and axes, the national park of the same name was founded in 1890 to protect the remaining sequoias.

The evergreen tree with its narrow, pointed scaly leaves can live up to 3,500 years according to estimates and counting of the annual rings. The fibrous, spongy bark reaches a thickness of up to 60 cm, is orange-brown to dark red-brown in color and serves as a protective shield in the event of forest fires.

The “General Sherman Tree” in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park is considered the tallest tree in the world. During the peak summer season, many visitors flock to the park. Those who come in spring can admire the spectacular giant trees almost alone – you will also be rewarded with beautifully flowering dogwood trees. These small trees bear creamy-white, saucer-sized flowers (actually small flowers surrounded by distinctive foliage) on slender black branches. One has the impression that they are floating in the air between the mighty towering trunks of the sequoias. In spring, the snowmelt also turns some of the streams into raging rivers. This natural spectacle is impressive but dangerous as the water is freezing.

Location and size
According to usprivateschoolsfinder, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are two adjacent national parks in California’s Sierra Nevada. The approximately 3,500 km² area is only crossed by the Generals Highway and, due to the different altitudes from 412 m to over 4,418 m, has diverse habitats for animal species as well as flora and fauna. The Sierra Nevada mountain range forms the eastern border of both national parks and is the result of plate tectonic processes in which the Pacific Plate is pushed inwards under the North American Plate.

Getting there
Kings Canyon can be reached by car via Highway 180 – Sequoia via Highway 198. The Generals Highway connects the two national parks, making it possible to drive back and forth between the two. It is recommended that vehicles no longer than 22 feet be used between Potwisha and the Giant Forest Museum. Highway 180 is easier to navigate with long vehicles. Amtrak air, bus and rail service, as well as rental cars are available in Fresno and Visalia. There is no possibility to buy gas inside the park.

East of Fresno, take Highway 180 to the Grant Grove area of ​​Kings Canyon National Park, then continue east 48 km (30 miles) to the Cedar Grove Area. Hwy 180 ends 10 km (6 miles) east of Cedar Grove.

Sequoia National Park can be reached via Highway 198 from the southwest via Three Rivers.

Opening Hours and Seasons
Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The road to Cedar Grove is open late April through mid-October, weather permitting. The road to Mineral King is open late May through late October, weather permitting.

Admission
prices Park admission is valid for all visitors for up to 7 days. Access by private car, van, SUV, or RV is USD 35 per car and is valid for Sequoia, Kings Canyon and the Hume Lake District of Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument. The fee is USD 20 for individuals entering the park on foot or by bicycle, and USD 30 for motorcycles. It is also valid for 7 days.

America the Beautiful Annual Pass
The annual pass costs $80 and entitles you to visit over 2,000 US federal recreation areas and national parks for one year from the date of purchase. The entrance fee applies to the driver and all passengers of a private, non-commercial vehicle (or up to a maximum of 4 adults in total if per-person entrance fees are charged). Children under 16 are free. If you visit more than 4 national parks, it is usually worth buying the America the Beautiful Annual Pass.
The pass can be purchased at many stores across the US and is also available in advance from various tour operators.

Campgrounds Campgrounds
can be found from the warm foothills to the cool forests. Some are also open all year round. Lodgepole, Grant Grove and Atwell Mill campsites are located near the redwoods.

Park Shuttle Service
The free Park Shuttle buses run from the end of May to the beginning of September from 09:00 to 18:00.

Campgrounds
There are 14 campgrounds in the parks, all on a first come, first serve basis.

Climate
Spring: April to June
The Sequoia grove is often still snow-covered. Rivers and streams are particularly fast, cold and dangerous. Spring brings warm weather and abundant wildflowers in the foothills.

Summer: July to mid-September
Snow has generally melted on the High Sierra passes. The temperatures are pleasant.

Autumn : Mid-September to November
It gets cold at night. Light snowfalls are possible from the end of October.

Winter : November to April
The parks are snowy and cold. The foothills are cool and green with plenty of wildflowers beginning to bloom as early as January.

Average temperatures in Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park in °C
Month Jan Feb March Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max 14 16 18 21 26 32 36 36 33 27 19 14
Min 2 4 5 8 11 16 20 19 11 6 3 2

Clothing
Good gear, warm clothing and sound planning are essential to making a hike through the Sierra Nevada safe and enjoyable.

Activities
The main attractionSequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are undoubtedly the various groups of redwoods through which many short walks lead. The largest specimens can be found in the Giant Forest, which also houses the largest, the General Sherman Tree. Due to their diversity, the two national parks offer a large number of possible activities. These range from hiking and mountaineering to fishing, animal watching and horseback riding. In any case, it should be noted that there are 4 different seasons in the national parks and there are five different regions to visit. Advance information on which regions are particularly recommended for a visit during the travel period in question and what weather conditions you will find there is available at: www.nps.gov/seki

The largest tree on earth
The dimensions of these sequoias are really impressive: In terms of the total mass of the wood alone, the giant sequoia is the largest tree on earth. Its nearly conical trunk, more reminiscent of a club than a walking stick, is a testament to this. There is at least one species of tree that lives longer, another that is larger in girth, and three that grow taller—but no other tree is taller . The western slope of the Sierra Nevada is the only place in the world where these sequoias occur. They prefer altitudes between 1,520 and 2,130 m. There are 75 such groves in total. The age of the General Sherman tree is between 2,100 and 2,300 years. Its largest branch is about 2 m in circumference. The wood around which General Sherman grows each year is that of a 18 m tall tree of normal proportions.

Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park, California

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