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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks - General Park Information

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks encompass a vast and varied landscape of beauty and fascination, including towering trees, huge mountains, deep canyons and expansive caverns. Located in the southern Sierra Nevada, the parks offer many wonderful opportunities for year-round activities.

Inhabited for thousands of years by local hunters and gatherers, the area was explored by the Spanish in the late 1700s and early 1800s and was heavily settled by the middle of the 19th century. As the local resources began to be exploited for industry and recreation, many became interested in protecting the landscape. Sequoia National Park was created in 1890, while Kings Canyon was not officially established until 1940. Currently the parks protect nearly half of the giant sequoia groves in the world.

The parks have five distinct regions and experience four distinct seasons, contributing to a diverse and ever-changing landscape. The regions include the Foothills, Mineral King, Giant Forest/Lodgepole, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove. Each area offers unique opportunities for visitors.

Foothills are accessible year round and offer a landscape of oaks, chaparral and river canyons with abundant flora and fauna, including wildflowers in the spring and summer.

Accessible only in the summer, Mineral King ranges across the southern edge of Sequoia National Park and offers 11 challenging alpine trails, including the area around Mt. Whitney.

Giant Forest and Lodgepole is centrally located in the parks and offers 40-miles of trails through some of the world's tallest trees.

Grant Grove covers and area that was originally designated as General Grant National Park to protect the giant trees from logging.

Cedar Grove encompasses much of Kings Canyon National Park and is accessible only in the summer. Comprised of powerful waterfalls, cliffs and mountains, the area offers excellent backcountry opportunities.

Each area is worth exploring both on your own and through ranger-led activities. Popular summer activities include scenic drives, nature walks, hiking, camping, rock climbing and cave tours. Winter activities include snowshoeing, skiing, and enjoying the abundant solitude. Both parks have several museums and visitor centers that offer families interesting information and ideas for fun activities.