Sequoia & Kings Canyon
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9700
Wilderness Travel Information
WELCOME to a Land Of Giants
These two parks testify to nature's size,
beauty, and diversity: Immense mountains, rugged foothills, deep
canyons, vast caverns, and the world�s largest trees!
The parks lie in the southern Sierra Nevada,
east of the San Joaquin Valley. Activities vary greatly by season
and elevation - which ranges from 1300' to 14,494'
Humans have traveled or lived in the Southern
Sierra for at least 6-7,000 years. In the higher mountains, and also
down into the western foothills, lived hunters and gatherers
remembered today as the Monache or Western Mono. West of the Monache
in the lowest foothills and also across the expanses of the Great
Central Valley were a second group, the Yokuts.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Spanish
began exploring the edge of the Sierras. Soon afterwards, trappers,
sheepherders, miners, and loggers poured into the Sierras seeking to
exploit whatever the mountains had to offer.
By the end of the 19th century, San Joaquin
Valley communities increasingly looked to the Sierras for water and
recreation. In the struggle between all these competing interests,
two national parks were born that became what we know today as
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Today the parks together
protect 265 Native American archeological sites and 69 historic
The two tribes that lived in the area
of the parks, the Monache and Yokuts, were separated by language and
history. The Yokuts spoke a Penutian language, like many other
tribes of interior California, while the Monache language is similar
to the Shoshone or Paiute from the Great Basin east of the Sierra.
Exploration and exploitation
Like many another disenchanted miner,
Hale Tharp sought another way to make a living providing supplies to
the immigrants pouring into the Sierra. He wandered south in search
of open land that would support cattle. In the broad, open canyon
where the Kaweah leaves the Sierra, Tharp found what he was seeking.
The full story of one week in 1890 when the Giant Forest was added
to Sequoia National Park and the precursor to Kings Canyon sprang
into existence may never be known. Through clever legislation, some
unknown agents grew the two parks that now protect nearly half the
remaining sequoia groves in the world.
Places to Picnic
- Ash Mountain
- Cedar Grove Village
- Giant Forest
- Grant Grove Village
- Lodgepole Village
- Mineral King
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