Sequoia is the second oldest park in the National Park system, being predated only by Yellowstone National Park. It is named for the many groves of Giant Sequoia trees which are the largest living things on earth. The largest of these trees is the General Sherman which is between 2,300 and 2,700 years old. This tree has a ground circumference of 103 feet and weighs an estimated 1,385 tons. Its largest branch is almost seven feet in diameter. The effort to preserve this area came from a diverse group of San Joaquin Valley residents in the 1880s. Some park proponents sought to protect water supplies for irrigation while others wanted to protect the big trees from further logging. This effort bore fruit when president Benjamin Harrison signed into law a bill creating Sequoia National park on September 25, 1890.
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. Sequoia National Park contains many scenic glacier carved canyons in addition to the Sequoia groves. 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, Crystal Cave, is open to visitor tours in the summer. Sequoia also contains Mt. Whitney which at 14,494 feet is the highest peak in the Lower 48 states.
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 the Giant Forest Village.