Information about Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range. It can be reached by taking highway 180 east out of Fresno. Continue east until the Kings Canyon entrance is reached at Grants Grove. Kings Canyon is the sister park to Sequoia National Park and the Grants Grove portion is a mirror counterpart. The most noticeable features in Grants Grove are the giant sequoias.

The canyon of the Kings River is reached by continuing on highway 180 to Cedar Grove which sits on the valley floor. Kings canyon reaches a depth of over 8200 feet just outside the park and is one and a half times deeper than the Grand Canyon. Highway 180 ends a few miles past Cedar Grove at a place know appropriately as "Roads End." From here you can park and travel on several scenic trails. Just getting out of your car allows you to stand on a flat, glacial valley and stare up at canyon walls rising nearly a vertical mile above the river's level.

Although Kings Canyon is considered a sister park to Sequoia National Park and shares boundaries with it, it has a history unique to itself. The area that was to become Kings Canyon was first established as the General Grant National park. This was signed by President Harrison and was part of the same legislation that established Yosemite National Park and tripled the size of Sequoia National Park. The canyon of the Kings River was still unprotected. However, in February 1893, President Harrison signed a Presidential proclamation creating the Sierra Forest Reserve. This withdrew from private ownership almost the entire Southern Sierra from Yosemite to south of Sequoia. In March of 1940, Kings Canyon became a national park by incorporating the General Grant National Park along with an area stretching to the Desolation Wilderness. In 1965 Cedar Grove and Tehipite Valley was added to the park enlarging it almost to its present size.

The Sierra Nevada is the largest single mountain range in the United States. It stretches nearly 400 miles from Tehachapi Pass in the South to Lake Almanor in the North. It is nearly as large as the French, Swiss and Italian Alps combined. Kings Canyon National Park contains many scenic glaciers carved canyons in addition to the sequoias at Grants Grove. Due to the presence of limestone, caves are another feature of the park. Over 100 caves have been discovered in the Sequoia Kings Canyon area. One of these, Boyden Cave, is open to visitor tours in the summer.

There are several campgrounds in the park that are operated by the park service. Some can accommodate RV vehicles while others offer more primitive facilities. In addition, private concessionaires operate a lodge which is located in Cedars Grove.

Werner Hager at
Last updated September 17, 1997.
Copyright 1996 by Werner W. Hager and Micromoms. All rights reserved.