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Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks - BEST Places to Picnic

47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271-9700

Visitor Information
(559) 565-3341

Wilderness Travel Information
(559) 565-3766

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 sites.

Native peoples
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.

Park history
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
  • Wolverton

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