Wednesday – June 8, 2016
Kings Canyon National Park
General Grant Tree
Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, that was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres. It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias. The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service jointly as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Kings Canyon National Park consists of two sections. The small, detached General Grant Grove section preserves several groves of giant sequoias, including the General Grant Grove, with the famous General Grant Tree,
and the Redwood Mountain Grove, which is the largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world covering 3,100 acres and with 15,800 sequoia trees over 1 foot in diameter at their bases.
The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This section of the park is mostly mixed conifer forest, and is readily accessible via paved highways.
The remainder of Kings Canyon National Park, which comprises over 90% of the total area of the park, is located to the east of General Grant Grove and forms the headwaters of the South and Middle Forks of the Kings River and the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. Both the South and Middle Forks of the Kings Rivers have extensive glacial canyons. One portion of the South Fork canyon, known as the Kings Canyon, gives the entire park its name. Kings Canyon, with a maximum depth of 8,200 feet, is one of the deepest canyons in the United States. The canyon was carved by glaciers out of granite. The Kings Canyon, and its developed area, Cedar Grove, is the only portion of the main part of the park that is accessible by motor vehicle.
To the east of the canyons are the high peaks of the Sierra Crest, which attain an elevation of 14,248 feet at the summit of North Palisade, the highest point in the park. This is classic high Sierra country: barren alpine ridges and glacially scoured lake-filled basins. Usually snow free only from late June until late October, the high country is accessible only via foot and horse trails. The Sierran crest forms the eastern boundary of the park, from Mount Goethe in the north, down to Junction Peak, at the boundary with Sequoia National Park. Several passes cross the crest into the park, including Bishop Pass, Taboose Pass, Sawmill Pass, and Kearsarge Pass. All of these passes are above 11,000 feet elevation.
This is a man-made lake, originally built in 1908 as a reservoir, to supply water for logging flumes used to float rough-cut sequoia lumber 54 miles from Converse Basin to a mill in the town of Sanger. There's a big Christian camp here, along with a store, cafe and gas station and you can rent boats. It's off the main road going toward Kings Canyon and can be reached by turning off onto either end of the loop road that goes past it.
This is an attraction in Cedar Grove. George Knapp was a wealthy business man in California who chose a spot to build his cabin to use as a storage shed for all of the summer camping trips he would take during the 1920’s. It is now the oldest building in Cedar Grove. A mile from Knapp’s Cabin is Roaring River Falls, accompanied by a variety of wildflowers in the area and also a variety of birds.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.