Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Park

Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart

Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park. It is located in the Sierra Nevada, which means “snowy mountain range” in Spanish.

The California park was established in 1890. About 930,000 people visit each year to see the huge mountains, rugged foothills, canyons, caverns, and the world’s largest trees.

Over 200 caves have been discovered in the parks. They are different from other caves in that these formed in marble.

Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States but can’t be seen from park roads. The peaks of the Great Western Divide hide it from west side of the park. For the hearty climber, a day-long hide to the top of Alta Peak allows the hiker to see the top of Mount Whitney over the Great Western Divide — as long as the weather cooperates.

The famous sequoia tree, General Sherman, is the largest living specimen on earth. It is 275 feet tall. The base of the tree has a circumference of 109 feet.

In 1937, a giant sequoia fell across the Crescent Meadow Road. A tunnel was cut into the log the following summer so that people could drive through it, creating the “Tunnel Log.” It is 17 feet wide and 8 feet high and is still in use today.

For the first seventy years, the park put out all the fires around the sequoias. Then they realized that the giant trees actually need fire to reproduce because it leaves bare mineral soil for the young sequoias to grow.

Some of the wildlife living in Sequoia are bobcats, foxes, coyotes, squirrels, frogs, beavers, turtles, mule deer, black bears, mountain lions, and snakes.



Flynn, Sarah Wassner. National Geographic Kids: National Parks Guide U.S.A., National Geographic Society, 2012.

McHugh, Erin. National Parks: A Kid’s Guide to America’s Parks, Monuments, and Landmarks, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc., 2012.

Palmerlee, Danny; Bendure, Glenda; Friary, Ned; Karlin, Adam; Matchar, Emily; Sainsbury, Brendan. Discover USA’s Best National Parks, Lonely Planet Publications, 2012.

“Sequoia & King’s Canyon: National Park, California,” National Park Service, 2014/12/16



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