Sequoia National Park is a national park in Tulare County, California. Covering 404,051 acres (1,635 sq km) in the southern Sierra Nevada, it is an outstanding park with a great diversity of landscapes.
The Sequoia National Park has two major highlights: the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on earth, and Mount Whitney, at 14,505 ft (4,421 m), the tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 United States.
Sequoia National Park is located east of Visalia, California, and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park immediately to the north. The national park has a Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) forest that continues into the General Grant Grove of Sequoia trees in Kings Canyon National Park.
The area has always had human presence going back into prehistoric times. The earliest people to live here were the Monachee Native Americans who lived along the Kaweah River in the Foothills region. Before the first European arrived, smallpox had already reached the area, decimating the Native American population.
The first European, by name, to build his home here was Hale Tharp, who had his home hacked out of a hollow in a Giant Sequoia trunk. A front running in environmental awareness, Tharp led a campaign against indiscriminate logging. The Giant Sequoia was saved from excessive logging when it was discovered that its wood splinters easily.
Tharp was often visited by famous naturalist John Muir, who was invited to stay in Tharp's log cabin. That log cabin, built in 1861, is still around today. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 8 March, 1977.
There are some 240 caves within the Sequoia National Park, including Lilburn Cave, which at 20 miles (32 km) in length, is the longest cave in California. Only one cave is open to casual visitors, Crystal Cave, which at 3.4 miles (5.5 km) is nonetheless the second longest cave in the park.
Attractions of Sequoia National ParkSequoia National Park has a number of attractions. In addition to those already mentioned, here are some more:
Visiting Sequoia National Park, CaliforniaThe popular entrance into Sequoia National Park is by taking California State Highway 198 from the town of Three Rivers, at Ash Mountain, with an elevation of 1,700 ft (520 m). At this level, the landscape is one of blue oak woodlands, foothills chaparral, grassland and steep, mild river valley.
As you climb higher, you will notice a gradual change in the vegetation. At between 5,500 and 9,000 ft (1,700 and 2,700 m), montane forest dominates the landscape, with coniferous trees such as the Ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, Sugar pine, Lodgepole pine, white fir and red fir.
An alternative, if you are coming from Fresno, is to take California State Highway 180 heading east and then Highway 198 to reach Sequoia National Park.
Both national parks are open all year round, although some parts of the parks may be snowed in from November through May. Highway 198 takes you from the Grant Grove area to Sequoia National Park.
Entrance fees of $20, valid over 7 days, allows you to enter Kings Canyon, Sequoia and the Hume Lake District of Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument. Other permits are required for overnight backpacking, hiking in the Mt. Whitney area, fishing, visiting Crystal Cave (tickets available at Foothills and Lodgepole visitor centers), and commercial filming.
To learn more about the Sequoia TreesRead more on Sequoiadendron giganteum and Sequoia sempervirens.
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