The Full Wiki

Sequoia: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Sequoia

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sequoia sempervirens
Del Norte Titan, the fourth largest coast redwood.
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Subfamily: Sequoioideae
Genus: Sequoia
Species: S. sempervirens
Binomial name
Sequoia sempervirens
(D. Don) Endl.

Sequoia sempervirens (pronounced /sɨˈkwɔɪ.ə ˌsɛmpərˈvaɪrənz/, Latin: /sɛkwɔɪ.ə ˌsɛmpərˈvɪrənz/)[1] is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae (formerly treated in Taxodiaceae). Common names include Coast Redwood and California Redwood (it is one of three species of trees known as redwoods, but "redwood" per se normally refers to this species). It is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living for up to 2,200 years, and this species includes the tallest trees on Earth, reaching up to 115.5 m (379.1 ft) in height and 8 m (26 ft) diameter at breast height. It is native to coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon within the United States.

The name sequoia is sometimes used as a general term for the subfamily Sequoioideae in which this genus is classified, together with Sequoiadendron (Giant Sequoia) and Metasequoia (Dawn Redwood); as a common name, it usually refers to Sequoiadendron.



Detail: bark

Coast redwoods have a conical crown, with horizontal to slightly drooping branches. The bark is very thick, up to 30 cm (12 in), and quite soft, fibrous with a bright red-brown when freshly exposed (hence the name 'redwood'), weathering darker. The root system is composed of shallow, wide-spreading lateral roots. The leaves are variable, being 15–25 mm long and flat on young trees and shaded shoots in the lower crown of old trees, and scale-like, 5–10 mm long on shoots in full sun in the upper crown of older trees; there is a full range of transition between the two extremes. They are dark green above, and with two blue-white stomatal bands below. Leaf arrangement is spiral, but the larger shade leaves are twisted at the base to lie in a flat plane for maximum light capture. The seed cones are ovoid, 15–32 mm long, with 15-25 spirally arranged scales; pollination is in late winter with maturation about 8–9 months after. Each cone scale bears 3-7 seeds, each seed 3–4 mm long and 0.5 mm broad, with two wings 1 mm wide. The seeds are released when the cone scales dry out and open at maturity. The pollen cones are oval, 4–6 mm long. The species is monoecious, with pollen and seed cones on the same plant.

Its genetic makeup is unusual among conifers, being a hexaploid (6n) and possibly allopolyploid (AAAABB).[2] The mitochondrial genome is (unlike other conifers) paternally inherited.[3].

Range and ecology

Sunlight shining through redwoods in Muir Woods

Coast Redwoods occupy a narrow strip of land approximately 750 km (470 miles) in length and 8–75 km (5–47 miles) in width along the Pacific coast of North America; the elevation range is mostly from 30–750 m, occasionally down to sea level and up to 920 m (about 3,000 feet) (Farjon 2005). They usually grow in the mountains where there is more precipitation from the incoming moisture off the ocean. The tallest and oldest trees are found in deep valleys and gullies, where year-round streams can flow, and fog drip is regular. The trees above the fog layer, above about 700 m, are shorter and smaller due to the drier, windier, and colder conditions. In addition, tanoak, pine and Douglas-fir often crowd out redwoods at these elevations. Few redwoods grow close to the ocean, due to intense salt spray, sand and wind.

Fog is of major importance in Coast Redwood ecology. Redwood National Park.

The northern boundary of its range is marked by two groves on the Chetco River on the western fringe of the Klamath Mountains, 25 km (15 miles) north of the California-Oregon border. The largest (and tallest) populations are in Redwood National and State Parks (Del Norte and Humboldt Counties) and Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Humboldt County, California). The southern boundary of its range is somewhere in the Santa Lucia Mountains of the Big Sur area of Monterey County, California.

This native area provides a unique environment with heavy seasonal rains (of up to 2,500 mm or 100 inch annually). Cool coastal air and fog keep this forest consistently damp year round. Several factors, including the heavy rainfall, create a soil with fewer nutrients than the trees need, causing the trees to depend heavily on the entire biotic community of the forest, and complete recycling of the trees when dead. This forest community includes Coast Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock, Tanoak, Pacific Madrone, and other trees along with a wide variety of ferns, Redwood sorrel, mosses and mushrooms. Redwood forests provide habitat for a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Old growth redwood stands provide habitat for the federally threatened Spotted Owl and the California-endangered Marbled Murrelet.

The thick, tannin-rich bark, combined with foliage that starts high above the ground provides good protection from both fire and insect damage, contributing to the Coast Redwood's longevity. The oldest known Coast Redwood is about 2,200 years old[4]; many others in the wild exceed 600 years. The numerous claims of older trees are incorrect.[4] Interestingly enough, Coast Redwoods because of their seemingly timeless lifespan were deemed the "everlasting redwood" at the turn of the century; in Latin, "sempervirens" means "ever green" or "everlasting," a coincidence unbeknown to those who named these giants.

The prehistoric fossil range of the genus is considerably greater, with a subcosmopolitan distribution including Europe and Asia until about 5 million years ago.


Coast Redwood reproduces both sexually and asexually. Seed production begins at 10–15 years of age, and large seed crops occur frequently, but viability of the seed is low, typically well below 15%.[5] The low viability may be an adaptation to discourage seed predators, which do not want to waste time sorting chaff (empty seeds) from edible seeds. The winged seeds are small and light, weighing 3.3–5 mg (200-300 seeds/g; 5,600-8,500/ounce). The wings are not effective for wide dispersal, and seeds are dispersed by wind an average of only 60–120 m (200–400 feet) from the parent tree. Growth of seedlings is very fast, with young trees known to reach 20 m (65 feet) tall in 20 years. Coast Redwoods can also reproduce asexually by layering or sprouting from the root crown, stump, or even fallen branches; if a tree falls over, it will regenerate a row of new trees along the trunk. This is the reason for many trees naturally growing in a straight line. Sprouts originate from dormant or adventitious buds at or under the surface of the bark. The dormant sprouts are stimulated when the main adult stem gets damaged or starts to die. Many sprouts spontaneously erupt and develop around the circumference of the tree trunk. Within a short period after sprouting, each sprout will develop its own root system, with the dominant sprouts forming a ring of trees around the parent root crown or stump. This ring of trees is called a "fairy ring". Sprouts can achieve heights of 2.3 m (8 feet) in a single growing season.

Redwoods may also reproduce using burls. A burl is a woody lignotuber that commonly appears on a redwood tree below the soil line, though when above, usually within 3 m of the soil. Burls are capable of sprouting into new trees when detached from the parent tree, though exactly how this happens is yet to be studied. Shoot clones commonly sprout from burls and are often turned into decorative hedges when found in suburbia.

The species is very tolerant of flooding and flood deposits, the roots rapidly growing into thick silt deposits after floods.

A ring of Sequoia trees as seen from below.

Cultivation and uses

Coast Redwood is one of the most valuable timber species in California, with 899,000 acres (364,000 ha) of redwood forest, all second growth, managed for timber production.[6] Coast Redwood lumber is highly valued for its beauty, light weight, and resistance to decay. Its lack of resin makes it resistant to fire.

P. H. Shaughnessy, Chief Engineer of the San Francisco Fire Department wrote:

In the recent great fire of San Francisco, that began April 18th, 1906, we succeeded in finally stopping it in nearly all directions where the unburned buildings were almost entirely of frame construction and if the exterior finish of these buildings had not been of redwood lumber, I am satisfied that the area of the burned district would have been greatly extended.

Because of its impressive resistance to decay, redwood was extensively used for railroad ties and trestles throughout California. Many of the old ties have been recycled for use in gardens as borders, steps, etc. Redwood burls are used in the production of table tops, veneers, and turned goods.

The Coast Redwood is locally naturalized in New Zealand, notably at Rotorua. Other areas of successful cultivation outside of the native range include Great Britain, Italy, Portugal,[7] the Queen Charlotte Islands, middle elevations of Hawaii, a small area in central Mexico (Jilotepec) and the southeastern United States from eastern Texas to Maryland. Coast Redwood trees were used in a display at Rockefeller Center and then given to Longhouse Reserve in East Hampton, Long Island, New York and these have now been living there for over 17 years (2010) and survived 2°F (-17°C)[8].


Dried resin of a redwood tree
An example of a bonsai redwood, from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Trees over 60 m (200 feet) are common, and many are over 90 m (300 feet).

  • The current tallest tree is Hyperion, measuring at 115.61 m (379.3 feet).[4] The tree was discovered in Redwood National Park during Summer 2006 by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor and has been measured as the world's tallest living organism. The previous record holder was the Stratosphere Giant in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, at 112.83 m, last measured in 2004 (was 112.34 m in Aug 2000 and 112.56 m in 2002). Until it fell in March 1991, the "Dyerville Giant" was the record holder. It too stood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park; it was 113.4 metres high and estimated to be 1,600 years old.
  • There are 41 measured living trees more than 110 m (361 feet) tall.[9]
  • There are 178 measured trees that are more than 106.7 m (350 feet) tall.[9] Preliminary analysis of LiDAR data indicates there are hundreds of additional trees in excess of 106 m (348 ft) previously unknown.[10]
  • A tree claimed to be 115.8 m (380 feet) was cut down in 1912.
The foliage of an "albino" Sequoia sempervirens exhibiting lack of chlorophyll

The theoretical maximum potential height of Coast Redwoods (or any other tree) is limited to between 122 and 130 m (between 400 and 425 feet), due to gravity and the friction between water and the vessels through which it flows.[11]

The largest Coast Redwood in volume is the "Lost Monarch", with an estimated volume of 42,500 cubic feet; it is 320 feet tall with a diameter of 26 feet at breast high (DBH). It is located in the Grove of Titans. Among current living trees there are only 6 known Giant Sequoias that are larger; these are shorter, but have thicker trunks overall, giving the largest Giant Sequoia, General Sherman, a volume of 1,487 cubic metres (52,510 cubic feet), making it the world's largest known tree. A redwood cut down in 1926 had a claimed volume of 1,794 m³ (63,350 cubic feet), but this is not verified.

About fifty 'albino' redwoods (mutant individuals that cannot manufacture chlorophyll) are known to exist, reaching heights of up to 20 m.[12] These trees survive as parasites, obtaining food by grafting their root systems with those of normal trees. While similar mutations occur sporadically in other conifers, no cases are known of such individuals surviving to maturity in any other conifer species.

Largest trees

The nine largest known coast redwoods by total wood volume in the main trunk and stems combined as of 2009.[13]

Rank Tree Name Location Volume Height Diameter (b.h)
      (m³) (ft³) (m) (ft) (m) (ft)
1 Lost Monarch JSRSP 1206 42,500 97.8 321 7.92 26.0
2 Melkor RNP 1109 39,100 106.3 349 6.82 22.4
3 Iluvatar PCRSP 1064 37,500 91.4 300 6.25 20.5
4 Del Norte Titan JSRSP 1055 37,200 93.6 307 7.22 23.7
5 El Viejo Del Norte JSRSP 1002 35,400 98.7 324 7.01 23.0
6 Howland Hill Giant JSRSP 953 33,580 100.6 330 6.02 19.8
7 Sir Isaac Newton PCRSP 942 33,192 91.1 299 6.85 22.5
8 Terex Titan PCRSP 919 32,384 82.3 270 6.49 21.3
9 Adventure Tree PCRSP 912 32,140 101.8 334 4.95 16.5

The order of largest and tallest can change at any time due to new discoveries, loss of stem and foliage, growth, and new measurements. One of the better known internet databases for large conifers is [4], but its data can be different from other resources due to differences in standards.

Tallest trees

Trees over 112 m (367.5 ft) as of 2010.[9]

Tree Name Height Location
  (m) (ft)  
Hyperion 115.61 379.3 RNSP
Helios 114.58 375.9 RNSP
Icarus 113.14 371.2 RNSP
Stratosphere Giant 113.11 371.1 HRSP
National Geographic 112.71 369.9 RNSP
Orion 112.63 369.5 RNSP
Lauralyn 112.62 369.5 HRSP
Paradox 112.56 369.3 HRSP
Mendocino 112.20 368.1 MWSR
Apex 112.00 367.4 HRSP

Special Trees

Fallen Sequoia at Bank Hall in Bretherton taken 2010.

It is believed by Redwood World, (who are a group who monitor and record Redwood Trees) that there are only two specimens of fallen sequoia in the UK, one being at Bank Hall in Bretherton, Lancashire.[14] The second being at Leighton Hall, Powys, Wales. [15]

See also


  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
    "sempervirent". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ Ahuja, M.R.; Neale, D.B. (2002). "Origins of Polyploidy in Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and Relationship of Coast Redwood to other Genera of Taxodiaceae". Silvae Genetica 51 (2-3): 93–100. 
  3. ^ Neale, D. B.; Marshall, K. A.; Sederoff, R. R. (1989). "Chloroplast and Mitochondrial DNA are Paternally Inherited in Sequoia sempervirens." (PDF). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86 (23): 9347–9349. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Sequoia sempervirens". The Gymnosperm Database. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  5. ^ "Botanical Garden Logistics" (PDF). UC Berkeley – Biology 1B – Plants & Their Environments (p. 13). Department of Integrative Biology, University of California-Berkeley. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  6. ^ "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species". Species Survival Commission. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  7. ^ "Distribution within Europe". Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  8. ^ "Longhouse". 
  9. ^ a b c Tallest Coast Redwoods. Landmark Trees Archive. Retrieved 2010-03-09
  10. ^ Tree Climbers International - Re: The world's second tallest tree found in Tasmania
  11. ^ Koch, G.W., Sillett, S.C., Jennings, G.M., and Davis, S.D. 2004. The limits to tree height. In Nature 428: 851-854.
  12. ^ Stienstra, T. (2007-10-11). "It's no snow job - handful of redwoods are rare albinos". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  13. ^ Largest Coast Redwoods. Landmark Trees Archive. Retrieved 2010-03-09
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

Further reading

  • Preston, Richard "The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring", Random House, 2007, ISBN 978-1-4000-6489-2.
  • Farjon & members of the Conifer Specialist Group (2006). Sequoia sempervirens. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a lengthy justification of why this species is vulnerable
  • Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4
  • Noss, R. F., ed. (2000). The Redwood Forest: history, ecology and conservation of the Coast Redwood. Island Press, Washington DC. ISBN 1-55963-726-9

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North America : United States of America : California : Sierra Nevada : Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
General Sherman, the world's largest tree, in Sequoia National Park
General Sherman, the world's largest tree, in Sequoia National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks [1] are United States National Parks that are located in the Sierra Nevada region of California. These two adjacent parks offer a variety of mountain and forest scenery.


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 combined area of these two parks is 865,952 acres (3,504 km²) with most of that area being wilderness backcountry. The altitiude in the parks range from 1,300 feet (418m) to 14,505 ft (4421 m). The front country area can be divided into basic areas: The Foothills, Giant Forest, Mineral King, Grant Grove, and Kings Canyon and Cedar Grove.


Humans have traveled or lived in the Southern Sierra for at least 6-7,000 years. In the higher mountains, and also down into the western foothills, lived hunters and gatherers remembered today as the Monache or Western Mono. West of the Monache in the lowest foothills and also across the expanses of the Great Central Valley were a second group, the Yokuts.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Spanish began exploring the edge of the Sierras. Soon afterwards, trappers, sheepherders, miners, and loggers poured into the Sierras seeking to exploit whatever the mountains had to offer. By the end of the 19th century, San Joaquin Valley communities increasingly looked to the Sierras for water and recreation. In the struggle between all these competing interests, two national parks were born that became what we know today as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Today the parks together protect 265 Native American archeological sites and 69 historic sites.


Sequoia is named for its groves of Sequoia trees, the largest trees known, and Kings Canyon is named for the deep valley of the Kings River.

Flora and fauna

Extreme topographic differences and a striking elevation gradient (ranging from 1,360 feet (412 m) in the foothills to 14,494 feet (4,417 m) along the Sierran crest) create a rich tapestry of environments, from the hot, dry lowlands along the western boundary to the stark and snow-covered alpine high country.

This topographic diversity in turn supports over 1,200 species (and more than 1400 taxa, including subspecies and varieties) of vascular plants, which make up dozens of unique plant communities. These include not only the renowned groves of massive giant sequoia, but also vast tracts of montane forests, spectacular alpine habitats, and oak woodlands and chaparral.

The richness of the Sierran flora mirrors that of the state as a whole--of the nearly 6,000 species of vascular plants known to occur in California, over 20% of them can be found within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks support a wide diversity of animal species, reflecting the range in elevation, climate, and habitat variety here. Over 260 native vertebrate species are in the parks; numerous additional species may be present but have not been confirmed. Of the native vertebrates, five species are extirpated (extinct here), and over 150 are rare or uncommon.

There have been some studies of invertebrates here, but there is not enough information to know how many species occur in the parks. Many of the parks' caves contain invertebrates, some of which occur only in one cave and are known nowhere else in the world.



These lower elevations (Under 4,000 feet) are characterized by mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Precipitation usually occurs from January to mid-May; rain in the summer is rare. Average rainfall is about 26" (66 cm). During the winter, low-hanging clouds often drift in from the west, obscuring the countryside for several days at a time.

Middle Elevations

Summer in this forested area of the parks offers warm days and cool evenings. These elevations (4,000 - 7,000 feet) receive an average of 40-45" (102-114 cm) of precipitation annually. Much of this falls during the winter, resulting in a deep blanket of snow from December to May. Sub-zero temperatures, however, are rare. In the summer, occasional afternoon thundershowers may occur.

In fall and winter, Lodgepole Campground is generally 10-15 degrees F (6-9 degrees C) colder than the average middle-elevation temperature shown on the chart.

Summer temperatures in Cedar Grove are generally hotter than the average for the middle elevations, and cooler than the foothills. Temperatures in mid-summer may reach the 90's (35-40 degrees C). Cedar Grove is closed in the winter due to common rockfalls on the road.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon area map
Sequoia & Kings Canyon area map

The parks are relatively distant from major cities and airports, and there is no public transportation to the parks. Any information about private tour buses or other alternatives to driving would be appreciated.

By plane

The closest commercial airport is in Fresno. [2]

By train

Fresno is also the closest city with an Amtrak station, and is served by the San Joaquins [3] Oakland - Bakersfield route.

By car

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:

  • Route 180 east from Fresno. This enters the parks at Grant Grove and divides there to go either northeast to the main part of Kings Canyon or southeast to Sequoia. This is the recommended route from Northern California, and from Southern California if one intends to go directly to Kings Canyon.
  • Route 198 northeast from Visalia. This enters Sequoia from the south, and is the recommended route from Southern California. This route is not recommended by the park for long vehicles such as RVs. On 12 a mile stretch from Potwisha Campground to Giant Forest Museum in Sequoia Park, advised maximum is 22 feet (6.7m). Maximum length limit on the Generals Highway is 40 feet (12 m) for single vehicles, 50 feet (15 m) for vehicles plus a towed unit.

Both of these routes are winding mountain roads; driving speeds will be slower than usual and special conditions will apply in winter.

The Northern park entrance is somewhat more than an hour east of Fresno, with the park centers being another 45-60 minutes, and the total driving time from San Francisco should be close to five hours, and a little less from Los Angeles, using the Southern entrance. Those coming from the South may still prefer to enter the parks via the Northern entrance, since that route is less winding once you enter the parks . Larger vehicles such as RVs are not allowed from just inside the Southern entrance to Giant forest.

Sequoia Sightseeing Tours [4], (559) 561-4189, operates daily sightseeing tours into Sequoia National Park from the gateway town of Three Rivers.

The Mineral Kings area is accessed via a separate road off Highway 198. Turn right in Three Rivers, before reaching the Ash Mountain park entrance. The road is single lane, and paved only part of the way.

Gasoline is not sold in the park, except the Grant Grove market which sells cans of emergency gas, so one should be careful to fill up at one of the towns on the way to the park or in the National Forest between Grant Grove and the rest of Kings Canyon.

On foot

The Eastern parts of the park are accessible from trailheads off Highway 395.


The park entrance fee is $20 for private vehicles and $5 for individuals on foot or on bike, and is valid for seven days in both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The National Parks pass ($80) allows free entry into all national park areas for one year.

Get around

By car

Roads through both parks are at high altitude, and are generally slow and winding. Navigation is relatively straightforward: Route 198 is the main road through Sequoia, continuing from the Ash Mountain (southwest) entrance north through Sequoia's main sights (most of which are on signposted side roads) to intersect with route 180 at Grant Grove just inside the Big Stump (west) entrance, while Route 180 is the main road through Kings Canyon, continuing north and then east from Grant Grove to the main Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon. Parking is generally ample at most sights in the park.


Driving in the parks provide mostly up-close views of trees, so the roadside vista points that do exist should not be overlooked:

  • The road to Cedar Grove provides many excellent views of the narrow Kings Canyon.
  • Between Grant Grove and Lodgepole is only one major lookout. Great view of the Sierras.
  • The steep and winding road from Giant Forest down to the Ash Mountain entrance has some good vistas of the Kaweah River valley.

Some of the scenic attractions in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, divided by area, are:

  • Grants Grove, a grove of giant Sequoia trees at the west entrance to the parks.
  • Giant Forest, a collection of groves at the center of Sequoia a few miles south of the main Visitor Center, including the General Sherman Tree, the world's largest (but not tallest) tree. The areas centers around a museum, and the grove can be seen along a 1-2 mile looping trail. The parking area is 0.4 miles uphill from the grove, so those who may not be able to easily walk back up the trail (remember that the elevation is 7000 feet) may want to arrange for a pickup from the main park road.
  • Crystal Cave, Crystal Cave Road, 15 miles (24 km) from the Sequoia Park entrance on Hwy 198, and 3 miles (5 km) south of the General Sherman Tree Maximum vehicle length is 22' (6.7 m); +1 559 565-3759. Tour times: Saturdays 11am, 12pm, 3pm, & 4pm; Sundays through Fridays at 11am, 2pm, & 3pm. A large cave filled with various water-sculpted features. The temperature in the cave is 50°F (10°C) so dress warmly. No strollers, tripods, or baby backpacks are allowed in the cave and it is not wheelchair accessible. Tickets for a tour must be bought at either the Lodgepole or Foothills visitor center, neither of which is located near the cave. No tickets are sold at the cave.Adults (13-61): $10.95, children (6-12): $5.95, seniors (62 and up): $8.95, six and under are free.
  • Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road, a 3-mile (5 km) road leaving General's Highway at the Giant Forest Museum. Leads to several features at the south of the Giant Forest. Note that this road is not recommended for trailers or RVs.
    • Moro Rock, a granite dome you can climb to the top of via a steep 1/4-mile (.4 km) staircase to the summit (300 foot /91 m elevation gain). The top provides spectacular views of Sequoia's mountains and the Great Western Divide. Note that this is not for those afraid of heights as the staircase is very narrow with steep drop-offs.
    • Tunnel Log, a fallen sequoia that can be driven through. A bypass is available for tall vehicles.
    • Auto Log, a giant sequoia log formerly available for vehicles to drive onto, for a photo opportunity. The natural process of decay has put an end to the practice as the log can no longer safely support the weight of a vehicle.
    • Crescent Meadow, a High-Sierra meadow awash with wildflowers in the summer.
  • Cedar Grove, the main area of Kings Canyon, is about 45 minutes northeast of Grants Grove. The deep canyon offers impressive mountain scenery, a waterfall, and broad meadows.
  • Mineral Kings, a secluded, narrow, alpine valley accessible by car. Two campgrounds in the area, from which it's possible to make day hikes to lakes and mountain passes with splendid views.

A broad variety of wildlife can be seen in both parks, including deer, birds, and bears.


Sequoia and Kings Canyon both provide many trails for hiking and backpacking, and some facilities for horseback riding.

Suggested Day Hikes:

  • Alta Peak: Longer day hike to a rugged peak with excellent views.

Most practical trailhead is Wolverton, just South of Lodgepole.

  • Tokopah falls: Easier day hike to a large waterfall, near Lodgepole.

3.5 miles round-trip.

  • Lookout peak: Easy day hike from Grant Grove.

Especially attractive in the winter when the road to Cedar Grove is closed, as it affords a similar view.


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.


The High Sierra is a backpackers paradise, and numerous trails wind through Kings Canyon and branch out from Mineral King. Permits are required and may be requested on a first-come, first-served basis at the ranger station nearest the trailhead that is going to be used. Permits are issued the morning of the backpacking trip or after 1:00 p.m. the day before the trip. The cost of a permit between mid-May and late September is $15 per group. Permits are free the remainder of the year. There is a quota for each trailhead and when it is reached, no more permits are issued for that day. Popular areas may fill well in advance during the summer, so reservations are recommended and can be made after March 1 by faxing in a form (available from no later than three weeks prior to the planned start date.

Stay Safe

For all emergencies in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, dial 911 (toll free) from any phone.


Do not feed or touch any of the wildlife as there is the possibility of aquiring the plague from fleas that live on the animals. Be aware of rattlesnakes and always check where you are stepping.

Cougars (or "mountain lions") also inhabit the park, but are rarely seen. They look like light brown house cats, but 5-8 feet long (including the tail). In the unlikely event that you run into one, don't approach it, and don't run. A cougar expects prey to flee and will react appropriately. Pick up any small children or pets. Make eye contact, spread your arms to make yourself look bigger, and back away slowly. If it approaches you, make noise and throw things at it; let it know that you're dangerous too. If it attacks, don't curl up defensively... fight back.

The park is prime habitat for black bears and it is very likely that you will see one. Stay a safe distance from bears and be careful never to come between a mother bear and her cub. Never leave food in your vehicle or unattended at a camp site. Bear proof containers are provided for food storage at camp sites and trail heads. Safely storing food is required by park regulations and is essential for your own safety and also for the ultimate well-being of the bears. You can find more information on bears in the park, how to deal with a bear-human encounter, and park regulations about bears at the National Park Service web site. [5]

Ticks are prevelant in the park and may carry Lyme disease. To avoid tick bites, tuck pants legs into socks and tuck shirts into your pants. If you do find an attached tick, remove it carefully with tweezers and seek medical advice from a ranger or a doctor. If bringing your dog along, make sure to check the dog for ticks after your visit as well.

Natural hazards

Poison oak is also present at elevations up to 5000 feet (1,500 m) in the park. It causes itching, burning rashes in the affected areas and is easily spread. Most trailheads have a bulletin board with a picture of poison oak. If you come in conatact with poison oak, wash your clothes and the affected areas immediately. A product named Technu (found in camping stores and drugstores) is good for neutralizing the toxic oils from the plant. Avoid contact with your eyes.

Water from natural sources should be treated or boiled before drinking as it may contain giardia, a protozoa that causes intestinal illness.

Lightning can be a great hazard, especially on rock outcrops, on ridges or in meadows. If a storm approaches, try to get indoors or inside a vehicle. Do not stand under trees or in shallow caves.


Many of the roads in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are very steep. Use low gears when going downhill to avoid overheating and possible failure of the brakes. Slower traffic must use turnouts to let faster vehicles pass.

Especially in winter, roads can be snow-covered or icy. For up-to-date road conditions, call +1 559 565-3341 then press 9, then 4.

For 24-hour emergency towing, dial +1 559 565-3341, then press 0. In Sequoia NP, AAA service is available 24 hour for out-of-gas, lock outs, jump starts, and minor repairs. Call +1 559 565-4070.


Due to the remote nature of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, it is sometimes the site of illegal marijuana cultivation. If you come across a marijuana farm, immediately leave the area. Do not linger in the area of the farm as the people who plant the farms are often armed and do not take kindly to visitors.

  • Yosemite National Park
  • Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, lies just to the east of Sequoia National Park. It is blocked from view from the park itself by the crest of the Sierra Nevada range, however. Unlike other day hikes, hiking in the Mount Whitney area requires a permit. It's a one or two-day hike.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SEQUOIA, a genus of conifers, allied to Taxodium and Cryptomeria, forming one of several surviving links between the firs and the cypresses. The two species are evergreen trees of large size, indigenous to the west coast of North America. Both bear their round or ovoid male catkins at the ends of the slender terminal branchlets; the ovoid cones, either terminal or on short lateral twigs, have thick woody scales dilated at the extremity, with a broad disk depressed in the centre and usually furnished with a short spine; at the base of the scales are from three to seven ovules, which become reversed or partially so by compression, ripening into small angular seed with a narrow wing-like expansion.

The redwood of the Californian woodsmen, S. sempervirens, on which the genus was originally founded by Stephan Endlicher, abounds on the Pacific coast from the southern borders of Oregon southward to about 12 m. south of Punta Gorda, Monterey county, California, forming a narrow mountain forest belt, rarely extending more than 20 or 30 m. from the coast or beyond the influence of ocean fogs, or more than 3000 ft. above sea-level '(see' C. S. Sargent, Silva of North America, vol. x.). It grows to a gigantic size, from 200 to 300 ft. or more in height, with a diameter of from 12 to 15, or rarely 20 to 28 ft. at the much Sequoia sempervirens - a, Branch with green cones and male catkins; b, Section or cone; c, Scale of cone. All slightly reduced.

buttressed base. Professor Sargent refers to it as the tallest American tree, which probably occasionally reaches 400 ft. or more in height. In old age the huge columnar trunk rises to a great height bare of boughs, while on the upper part the branches are short and irregular. The bark is red, like that of the Scots fir, deeply furrowed, with the ridges often much curved and twisted. When young the tree is one of the most graceful of the conifers: the stem rises straight and tapering, with somewhat irregular whorls of drooping branches, the lower ones sweeping the ground - giving an elegant conical outline. The twigs are densely clothed with flat spreading linear leaves of a fine glossy green above and glaucous beneath; in the old trees they become shorter and more rigid and partly lose their distichous habit. The cones, from 4 to 1 in. long, are at first of a bluish-green colour, but when mature change to a reddish brown; the scales are very small at the base, dilating into a broad thick head, with a short curved spine below the deep transverse depression. From the great size of the trunk and the even grain of the red cedar-like wood it is a valuable tree to the farmer and carpenter: it splits readily and evenly, and planes and polishes well; cut radially, the medullary plates give the wood a fine satiny lustre; it is strong and durable, but not so elastic as many of the western pines and firs. Professor Sargent describes it as the most valuable timber tree of the forests of Pacific North America. In England the tree grows well in warm situations, but suffers much in severe winters - its graceful form rendering it ornamental in the park or garden, where it sometimes grows 30 or 40 ft. in height; its success as a timber tree would be doubtful. In the eastern parts of the United States it does not flourish. It was discovered by Archibald Menzies in 1795 and was first described as Taxodium sempervirens, under which name it was known until distinguished by Stephan Endlicher as a new genus in 1847.

The only other member of the genus is the giant tree of the Sierra Nevada, S. gigantea, the largest of known conifers; it is confined to the western portion of the great Californian range for a length of about 260 m., at an altitude of from 5000 to 8400 ft. above the sea, and forms extensive forests, or, in the northern part of the area, isolated groves, such as the Calaveras Grove, the Mariposa Grove, and others. The leaves of this species are awl-shaped, short and rigid, with pointed apex; closely adpressed, they completely cover the branchlets. The male catkins are small, solitary, and are borne at the ends of the twigs; the cones are from 12 to 3 in. long, ovoid, with scales thicker at the base than those of the redwood, and bearing below the depression a slender prickle. The young tree is more formal and rigid in growth than S. sempervirens, but when old the outline of the head becomes cylindrical, with short branches sparsely clad with foliage sprays. The bark, of nearly the same tint as that of the redwood, is extremely thick and is channelled towards the base with vertical furrows; at the root the ridges often stand out in buttress-like projections. The average height is about 275 ft. with a diameter near the ground of 20 ft.; but specimens from 300 to 320 ft. tall, with trunks 25-35 ft. thick, are not rare.

The famous group known as the Mammoth Grove of Calaveras in California, containing above ninety large trees, stands in 38° N., about 4370 ft. above the sea, between the San Antonio and Stanislaus rivers. It was discovered by a hunter named Dowd in pursuit of a bear in 1852, but had been visited before by John Bidwill, who crossed the Sierra in 1841. Some trees in the Mariposa Grove rival these in size: one measures for ft. round the root, and a cut stump is 31 ft. in diameter. Gigantic as these trees are and imposing from their vast columnar trunks, they have little beauty, owing to the scanty foliage of the short rounded boughs; some of the trees stand very close together; they are said to be about four hundred in number. The age of the trees has been greatly overestimated. A few years ago a full-sized tree was felled in Fresno county, California, and contiguous transverse sections have been set up, one in the Museum of Natural History at New York, the other (upper one) in the British Museum of Natural History at South Kensington; the annual rings of the latter section have been carefully counted and found to indicate an age of 1335 years.

The growth of the "mammoth tree" is fast when young, but old trees increase with extreme slowness. The timber is not of great value, but the heartwood is dense and of deeper colour than that of S. sempervirens, varying from brownish red to very deep brown; oiled and varnished, it has been used in cabinet work. S. gigantea was brought to England by Lobb in 1853, and received from Dr Lindley the name of Wellingtonia, by which it is still popularly known, though its affinity to the redwood is too marked to admit of generic distinction. In America it is sometimes called Washingtonia. In the Atlantic States it does not succeed; and, though nearly hardy in Great Britain, it is planted only as an ornament of the lawn or paddock.

In early geological times the sequoias occupied a far more important place in the vegetation of the earth. They occur in the Lower Chalk formations, and in Tertiary times were widely diffused; the genus is represented in the Eocene flora of Great Britain, and in the succeeding Miocene period was widely distributed in Europe and western Asia. It is presumed that in the Glacial epoch the genus was exterminated except in the areas in western North America where it still persists.

<< Sequin

Seraing >>


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




presumably from the Cherokee name for opossum

Wikipedia has an article on:


Wikispecies has information on:


Proper noun


  1. (botany) a botanical name at the rank of genus. Circumscription and placement of the genus depend on taxonomic system and viewpoint. In the older literature this genus is assumed to have two species, but for the past few decades it is accepted as having only a single species - the redwood. Placement commonly is in family Taxodiaceae or, lately, in family Cupressaceae

Derived terms

See also

  • Sequoia sempervirens


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Classis: Pinopsida
Ordo: Pinales
Familia: Cupressaceae
Subfamiliae: Sequoioideae
Genus: Sequoia
Species: †S. affinis - S. sempervirens


Sequoia Endl.


  • Meyer, H. W. & Manchester, S. R. (1997). The Oligocene Bridge Creek flora of the John Day Formation, Oregon. University of California Publications in the Geological Sciences 141: 1-195.

Vernacular names

English: Coast Redwood
Galego: Sequoia común

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address