Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 1,635.18 km2. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 4,000 metres, the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 4,421 metres above sea level. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, one of the largest trees on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park's General Grant Grove, home to the General Grant tree among other giant sequoias. The park's giant sequoia forests are part of 81,921 ha of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.
The parks are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, weather permitting.
Although technically they are two separate national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon generally operate as a single unit in many ways. One fee (US $5 per person or US $20 per private vehicle) allows entrance to both parks.
The parks are on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, and can only be entered by car from the west. The two main entrances are:
Both of these routes are winding mountain roads; driving speeds will be slower than usual and special conditions will apply in winter.
The parks are relatively distant from major cities and airports, and there is no public transportation to the parks, although there is a $15 round trip shuttle from Visalia
Food and shops are available at Grant Grove, Lodgepole, and Cedar Grove visitor centers. Overnight visitors should consider buying some food in advance on the way to the park.
Lodging is available at the Wuksachi Lodge in the Lodgepole area (Sequoia), in the John Muir Lodge and the Grant Grove cabins at Grant Grove Village (Kings Canyon) and at the Cedar Grove Lodge in Cedar Grove (Kings Canyon). Reservations are recommended. Cedar Grove closes for the winter in October.
In addition, a range of hotels and motels are available outside the park, including several lodges in the National Forest (on the road from Grants Grove to Cedar Grove) and motels in Three Rivers (on Route 198 near the southwest entrance).
Camping is the most common way to stay in the park. There are campgrounds available in all areas of the park, although the ones closest to main attractions may require reservations at peak times. All campers should be aware of the presence of bears, and should stow any unattended food in bear-proof containers as instructed by park rangers.
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