Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is located in southern Sierra, Nevada. The park encompasses an area that was once General Grant National Park, which was established in 1890, in order to preserve a grove of giant sequoia trees. The area was known to European settlers in the mid-nineteenth century, but was not well-known until 1873, after John Muir visited and found the environment to be similar to Yosemite valley. Harold Ickes, a United States Secretary of Interior, supported the idea of establishing the area as Kings Canyon National Park and hired now famous photographer Ansel Adams to photograph the area and others. This effort was significant in passing the bill to establish the park in 1940. In 1965, Tehipite Valley and Kings Valley were included in the park, although for fifty years prior to this the areas were questionable sites for new dams.

Kings Canyon National Park holds two distinct areas. One area holds many groves of large sequoia trees, like the General Grant Grove and the Redwood Mountain Grove, which holds 3,100 acres of land and 15,800 sequoia trees. The sequoia trees are part of a 202,430-acre old growth forest that occurs throughout Kings Canyon National Park and crosses over into Sequoia National Park. The other area of the park, which is located east of the General Grant Grove, takes up 90 percent of the entire park. It holds the headwaters of the South Fork of the San Joaquin River and the Middle and South Forks of Kings River. Kings Canyon, which is part of the South Fork canyon, is one of the deepest canyons in America at 8,200 feet and is the feature from which the park was named. The Sierra Crest, which holds the 14,248 feet high North Summit peak, is the park’s highest area, and most of the mountains in this range are comprised of granite rocks.

The old growth forested area of Kings Canyon National Park can be accessed by well-developed, paved highways. The only area of the main park that is accessible by automobile is Cedar Grove. The park offers attractions like camping and hiking. Visitors can hike to Boyden Cave, which is located in one of Kings Canyon’s many cave systems. High lands that are located in the Sierra Crest region of the park can only be visited by foot or by horse, but is covered by snow for the majority of the year. Lodging is available for guests throughout the park including campgrounds located Grant Grove and Lodgepole.

Image Caption: Kings Canyon as seen from the Mist Falls trail. Credit: Crd637/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)