Archive for the ‘Kings Canyon National Park’ Tag

Sequoia National Park   2 comments

SNP 01Where Is It: 225 miles north of Los Angeles; 250 miles southeast of San Francisco

The Birth: After years of struggles with entrepreneurs seeking to exploit the resources in the area, Sequoia National Park was founded in 1890 to protect the largest trees on earth. In 1916, the US Congress appropriated $50,000 for the purchase of private lands in the Giant Forest; the National Geographic Society contributed $20,000. The park has been expanded several times … most recently in 1978. That was the result of an effort led by the Sierra Club to deny the Walt Disney Corporation the land to build a ski resort. That annexation became known as Mineral King.

SNP, one of 8 National parks in California, is the oldest of the bunch.

The Park: The Sequoia National Park is adjacent to the Kings Canyon National Park, and they are operated together by the National Park Service (which was originally begun in 1944 as a wartime economy measure). Other National Park Service units that are contiguous are the Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The two National Parks are divided into 5 areas; 3 of them are in the SNP: Giant Forest, Mineral King and Foothills.

It Happened Here: In 1920, the last private holdings in Giant Forest were acquired by the Park Service. Bear Hill, the park garbage dump at Giant Forest, became a regular evening attraction and bleachers were erected for visitors to congregate and watch black bears forage through the trash.

Size: 864,411 acres

# Visitors: 1,106,584 in 2012. August has the highest attendance; December the lowest.

Plants: There are 1,530 documented plant species, including 22 deciduous & 26 evergreen tree species

Animals: SNP is the home of two endangered species: the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and the California Condor. There is also one threatened species, the Little Kern golden trout.

Choices: There are 2 entrances to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks:

Big Stump entrance, accessible on California 180 from Fresno. I prefer this entrance; from Los Angeles I exit at the 198, but then go through Dinuba to get to the 180 and go up the mountain.

Ash Mountain entrance, Accessible on California 198 from Visalia. This entrance enters the Park at a lower elevation, and has a very twisty turny road to get to SNP.

Fees: $20 for each car entering the Sequoia/Kings Canyon area.

Staying There: There are multiple hotels between the entrances of the Parks, which are largely on non-park owned property. They are easily accessible, here. Campsites are available in multiple locations; fees are currently $18 daily for single campsites and $35 daily for group sites. Running water is available near most sites; flush toilets are available as well.

Contact Info:

By Mail:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9700

By Phone:
For 24-hour recorded information.
Speak with park staff from 8:15 a.m.-4:15 p.m., weekdays only.

Current Issues: SNP has the worst air pollution of any National Park. That is causing problems for pine and sequoia trees, as they cope with air the same quality as in Los Angeles. This year, a drought has resulted in the closure of several campgrounds, though the park is still open and continues to see high visitation.

Don’t Miss This: There are so many things you must see!

  • General Sherman Tree, the largest living thing on earth
  • Moro Rock, a granite dome with a 1/4 mile, 300′ elevation gain staircase to the top
  • Congress Trail, taking you by some of the most spectacular sequoia groves in the park
  • Crystal Cave, a cave tour that is so popular you must buy advance tickets at the Lodgepole or Foothills Visitor’s Centers.


The Congress Trail

National Park Service: Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP

NationalParks[AndMore]: Sequioia National Park (In Winter)

San Francisco Chronicle: Air Pollution

One Cool Thing Every Weekend: Tokopah Falls Hike In SNP

The Congress Trail   1 comment

The highlight of visiting the Sequoia National Park is seeing the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman tree, and then continuing on to hike the Congress Trail.

This is an easy, paved loop. It’s a 2 mile stroll through some of the world’s largest sequoia groves. The scenery is spectacular.

Come, take a walk with me.

Dwarf mistletoe: Arceuthobium occidentale   1 comment

There are 21 species of Dwarf Mistletoe that live in North America.

They suck the life out of our conifer forests. The bulk of the plants live under the bark of their host … just like an iceberg, you only see the tip.

They suck water from their host. They suck food from their host. They’re not a blood-sucking parasite, but that’s how they affect their plant host. They are “natural,” but they degrade your forests and should be killed when found.

Shot on the Sunset Trail, Kings Canyon National Park.

Dwarf Mistletoe 01

Dwarf Mistletoe 02

This tree is in trouble, and has multiple outbreaks of Dwarf mistletoe.


Mistletoe: No Kissing

Mistletoe: Kissing Allowed

California Black Oak: Quercus kelloggii   5 comments

Enjoyed the shade of this lovely black oak tree near the Sequoia Lake overlook on the Dead Giants Loop Trail. Kings Canyon National Park.

California black oak occupies more total area in California than any other hardwood species, though it is under attack as civilization encroaches on its habitat.

My, oh my, what a burl this tree has! That’s the protuberance growing out of the left side of the trunk in the first and second picture below. Someday, that wood could make something lovely … but today, it is something lovely.

CA Black Oak 01

CA Black Oak 02

CA Black Oak 03

CA Black Oak 04

Lookout Trail   6 comments

In the Kings Canyon National Park, above the Crystal Springs campsite, you’ll find Panoramic Point … drive there. Then, there’s a 3 mile out-and-back trail to a Ranger lookout tower which is a lovely hike. Do the whole trail … or hike until you’ve had your fill, and then return.

I did this hike on day 1 of my campout, and did not see a single soul on the trail.


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