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General Grant Tree

 

Kings Canyon National Park

Grant Grove and the General Grant Tree
The General Grant Tree is called "The Nation's Christmas Tree," and special Yuletide celebrations are held under its snow-laden branches every year in Grant Grove. Measuring 267.4 feet tall and 107.6 feet around, it is the earth's second-largest tree. While still a youngster at 1,800 to 2,000 years old, the beautiful behemoth is the star attraction of a grove of 2,000 and 3,000-year-old sequoias, including the 254.7-foot-tall Robert E. Lee. In 1890, Congress created General Grant National Park to protect Grant Grove. It later was absorbed by Kings Canyon National Park in 1940. While walking the Grant Grove trail, you'll also see the historic Gamlin Cabin and Fallen Monarch Tree, in which the cavalry guarding the park stabled their horses in the 1890s.

Kings Canyon and the Kings River

Kings Canyon & Kings River

"A rival to the Yosemite," wrote Muir, describing one of the canyons of the mighty Kings River. It is an awesome sight to behold the white water of this wild river as it rushes between the granite canyon walls. Above the South Fork of the Kings River, in the deepest part of Kings River canyon, the granite cliffs rise more than 8,000 feet from river to ridge. Many visitors are surprised to learn that this river-carved section of the canyon is thousands of feet deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Grand SentinelCedar Grove, Grand Sentinel, & North Dome
The 36 mile-drive along Hwy. 180, from the entrance to Kings Canyon National Park to Cedar Grove Village, is known as the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. This is a beautiful drive which zigzags down into the canyon passing many wonderful sights on the way. Be sure to stop at Junction View, where the sheer canyon walls seem to close in around you, as the wild South Fork of the Kings River surges over rapids far below. Deep in the heart of Kings Canyon, Cedar Grove is a lush place of tumbling waterfalls, meadows, and miles of quiet hiking trails. It is near two spectacular granite formations: Grand Sentinel, which rises 3,500 feet above the canyon floor, and North Dome, which many liken to Half Dome in Yosemite. Other highlights are the noisy and powerful Roaring River Falls, and the beautifully scenic Zumwalt Meadow.

Boyden Cavern

Boyden Cavern
On Hwy. 180 heading towards Cedar Grove, you'll find the entrance to Boyden Cavern in Kings Canyon, Giant Sequoia National Monument. Daily tours are conducted during summer; call 1(209)736-2708, toll free (866)762-2837, or visit:

http://www.caverntours.com/BoydenRt.htm
 

Photo was taken at Boyden Cavern.  Sierra Nevada Recreation Corporation, P.O. Box 78, Vallecito, CA 95251, USA

 

 

Big Stump Trail
Near the entrance to Kings Canyon National Park is the Big Stump Basin Trail. The one-mile trail reveals the remains of early sequoia logging. Along the trail you'll find the Mark Twain Stump, it is all that remains of the 26-foot-wide, 1,700-year-old tree that took 2 men 13 days to cut down in 1891. Ironically, sequoia wood was brittle and broke across the grain when it fell, so it was useless as timber. Nevertheless, the early loggers proceeded to chop down and carry away one-third of the ancient trees.

Panoramic Point
At Grant Grove village, you can take a 2.3-mile road to Panoramic Point. A short trail will take you to the 7,520-foot-high ridge, with a magnificent view of the High Sierra, including Hume Lake and the Kings Canyon.

 

Sequoia National Park

General Sherman TreeGiant Forest and the General Sherman Tree
Named in 1875 by explorer and conservationist John Muir, the Giant Forest is celebrated for its beautiful meadows and sequoia grove. The Big Trees may be seen today as Muir found them: "Giants grouped in pure temple groves, or arranged in colonnades along the sides of meadows." The northern fringe of the grove is guarded by the 274.9-foot-tall General Sherman Tree, the world's largest living tree, and a few of his troops, including the 246.1-foot-tall Washington Tree. The 2-mile looping Congress Trail provides access.

Moro Rock
Moro Rock is a large granite dome found in the Giant Forest area. You can take a quarter-mile trail and climb up nearly 400 steep steps to the top of Moro Rock, where you'll have an unparalleled view (especially at sunset) of the Great Western Divide.

Auto Log & Tunnerl LogAuto Log & Tunnel Log
Along the Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road, you will see Auto Log, on which you can drive your car, and Tunnel Log, a fallen sequoia that you can drive through.

Crescent Meadow
John Muir is said to have called this lovely, grassy open area the "gem of the Sierra." It is located 10 miles east of Moro Rock. A hike on the trail around the meadow takes about an hour.

Tharp's LogTharp's Log
Hale Tharp, the first non-Native American settler in the area, established a cattle ranch among the Big Trees. He also built a simple summer cabin from a fallen, fire-hollowed sequoia log in the 1860s. Muir called it "a noble den." It is the oldest pioneer cabin in the park and is located in the Giant Forest area.

 

Crystal Cave
The parks protect more than 200 caves, including Crystal Cave. Formed of limestone that has turned into marble, it is decorated with curtains of icicle-like stalactites and mounds of stalagmites. The cave can be toured in summer only. Call (559) 565-3759 for information.

Hospital Rock
Hospital Rock, several miles northeast of the Southern entrance to Sequoia National Park, was the home of a subgroup of the Monache people until the 1870s. You can see pictographs, as well as nearly 50 grinding spots used by Monache women to grind acorns into flour.

Mineral King
Located at the end of a 25-mile winding road near the Southern entrance to Sequoia National Park, this glacial valley was named by 19th century prospectors searching for silver. With 11 different trails, Mineral King is a hikers' heaven.

Mount Whitney
Crowning the Sierra Nevada, majestic Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. To reach Mount Whitney from western trailheads, backpackers take a 70-mile, 8-day trek. It takes one to two days from eastern trailheads. The trek is so popular that special permits are required from the National Park Service

 


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