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Sequoia National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)

Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron) trees in the Giant Forest.
Location Tulare County, California, USA
Nearest city Visalia
Coordinates 36°26′0″N 118°41′0″W / 36.433333°N 118.683333°W / 36.433333; -118.683333Coordinates: 36°26′0″N 118°41′0″W / 36.433333°N 118.683333°W / 36.433333; -118.683333
Area 404,051 acres (1,635 km2)
Established September 25, 1890
Visitors 954,507 (in 2006)
Governing body National Park Service

Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California, in the United States of America. It was established on September 25th, 1890. The park spans 404,051 acres (1,635 km2). Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) 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.

The park is most famous for its Giant Sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five out of the ten largest trees in the world, in terms of wood volume. The Giant Forest is connected by the park's Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park's Grant Grove, home to the General Grant tree among other sequoias. The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (81,921 ha) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.[1] Indeed, the parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.[2]

Contents

Front country

Many park visitors enter Sequoia National Park through its southern entrance near the town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain at 1,700 ft (520 m) elevation. The lower elevations around Ash Mountain contain the only National Park Service-protected California Foothills ecosystem, consisting of blue oak woodlands, foothills chaparral, grasslands, yucca plants, and steep, mild river valleys. The foothills region is also home to abundant wildlife: bobcats, foxes, ground squirrels, rattlesnakes, and mule deer are commonly seen in this area, and more rarely, reclusive mountain lions are seen as well. The California Black Oak, Quercus kelloggii, is a key transition species between the chaparral and higher elevation conifer forest.[3]

At higher elevations in the front country, between 5,500 and 9,000 feet (1,700 and 2,700 m) in elevation, the landscape becomes montane forest-dominated coniferous belt. Found here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey, Sugar, and Lodgepole pine trees, as well as abundant white and red fir. Found here too are the mighty Sequoia trees, the most massive living trees on earth. Between the trees, spring and summer snowmelts sometimes fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows. In this region, visitors often see mule deer, Douglas squirrel, and American black bears, who have been known to break into unattended cars to steal food left by careless visitors.

Back country

The High Sierra Trail passes over the Great Western Divide at Kaweah Gap, climbing some 5,000 ft (1,500 m) in 3 miles (5 km). The valley below it is referred to as Valhalla.

The vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness; in fact, to the surprise of many visitors, no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the park's boundaries. 84% of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated as Wilderness[4] and is accessible only by foot or by horse.

Sequoia's backcountry offers a vast expanse of high-alpine wonders. Covering the highest-elevation region of the High Sierra, the backcountry includes Mount Whitney on the eastern border of the park, accessible from the Giant Forest via the High Sierra Trail. On a traveler's path along this 35-mile (56 km) backcountry trail, one passes through about 10 miles (16 km) of montane forest before reaching the backcountry resort of Bearpaw Meadow, just short of the Great Western Divide. Bearpaw Meadow offers rustic tent cabins and gourmet meals cooked by a seasonal resident park crew.

Crabtree Meadows, west of Mt. Whitney.

Continuing along the High Sierra Trail over the Great Western Divide via Kaweah Gap, one passes from the Kaweah River Drainage, with its characteristic V-shaped river valleys, and into the Kern River drainage, where an ancient fault line has aided glaciers in the last ice age to create a U-shaped canyon that is almost perfectly straight for nearly 20 miles (32 km). On the floor of this canyon, at least 2 days hike from the nearest road, is the Kern Canyon hot spring, a popular resting point for weary backpackers. From the floor of Kern Canyon, the trail ascends again over 8,000 ft (2,400 m) to the summit of Mount Whitney.

At Mount Whitney, the High Sierra Trail meets with the John Muir Trail and the epic Pacific Crest Trail, which continue northward along the Sierra crest and into the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park.

Human history

American Black Bear, marked with a radio collar. This bear has most likely been fed by visitors and is being tracked by the Park Service to make sure it returns to its natural habits.

The area which now comprises Sequoia National Park was first home to Monachee (or Western Mono) Native Americans, who resided mainly in the Kaweah River drainage in the Foothills region of the park, though evidence of seasonal habitation exists even as high as the Giant Forest. In the summertime, Native Americans would travel over the high mountain passes to trade with tribes to the East. To this day, pictographs can be found at several sites within the park, notably at Hospital Rock and Potwisha, as well as bedrock mortars used to process acorns, a staple food for the Monachee people.

By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, smallpox had already spread to the region, decimating Native American populations. The first European settler to homestead in the area was Hale Tharp, who famously built a home out of a hollowed-out fallen Giant Sequoia log in the Giant Forest next to Log Meadow. Tharp allowed his cattle to graze the meadow, but at the same time had a respect for the grandeur of the forest and led early battles against logging in the area. From time to time, Tharp received visits from John Muir, who would stay at Tharp's log cabin. Tharp's Log can still be visited today in its original location in the Giant Forest.

However, Tharp's attempts to conserve the Giant Sequoias were at first met with only limited success. In the 1880s, white settlers seeking to create a utopian society founded the Kaweah Colony, which sought economic success in trading Sequoia timber. However, Sequoia trees, unlike their Coast Redwood relatives, were later discovered to splinter easily and therefore were ill-suited to timber harvesting, though thousands of trees were felled before logging operations finally ceased.

The National Park Service incorporated the Giant Forest into Sequoia National Park in 1890, the year of its founding, promptly ceasing all logging operations in the Giant Forest. The park has expanded several times over the decades to its present size; one of the most recent expansions occurred in 1978, when grassroots efforts, spearheaded by the Sierra Club, fought off attempts by the Walt Disney Corporation to purchase a high-alpine former mining site south of the park for use as a ski resort. This site was annexed to the park to become Mineral King, the highest-elevation developed site within the park and a popular destination for backpackers.

Speleology

Calcite formations in Crystal Cave
Entrance to Crystal Cave

Little known to many visitors, the park is home to over 240 known caves, and potentially hundreds more. The caves in the park include California's longest cave at over 20 miles (32 km), Lilburn Cave, as well as recently discovered caves that remain strictly off-limits to all but a handful of specialists who visit on rare occasions to study cave geology and biology. The only cave open to park visitors remains Crystal Cave, the park's second-longest at over 3.4 miles (5.5 km) and remarkably well-preserved for the volume of visitation it receives annually. It was discovered on April 28, 1918 by Alex Medley and Cassius Webster.[5] The cave is a constant 9 °C (48 °F), and only accessible by guided tour.

In 2003, the Sequoia National History Association (SNHA) created the Protect Sequoia Caves Program after vandals damaged areas in the entranceway to Crystal Cave.[6]

Park caves, like most caves in the Sierra Nevada of California, are mostly solution caves dissolved from marble. Marble rock is essentially limestone that was metamorphosed by the heat and pressure of the formation and uplift of the Sierra Nevada Batholith (ca. 50-10 million years ago). The batholith's rapid uplift over the past 10 million years led to a rapid erosion of the metamorphic rocks in the higher elevations, exposing the granite beneath; therefore, most Sierra Nevada caves are found in the middle and lower elevations (below 7,000 ft/2,100 m), though some caves are found in the park at elevations as high as 10,000 ft (3,000 m) such as the White Chief cave in Mineral King. These caves are carved out of the rock by the abundant seasonal streams in the park; most of the larger park caves currently have or have had sinking streams running through them.

Caves are discovered every year in the park; in fact, 17 have been discovered since 2003 alone. The most recently discovered major cave in the park, in September 2006, has been named Ursa Minor.[7] Park caves are valued by scientists and cavers alike for their pristine beauty, variety, and endemic cave life.

Park attractions

Tunnel Tree in 1940
Crescent Meadow in the Giant Forest, called by John Muir the Gem of the Sierra
Moro Rock

In addition to hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking, the following attractions are highlights with many park visitors:

  • Tunnel Log is a tunnel cut through a fallen giant sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park in California. The tree, which measured 275 feet (84 m) tall and 21 feet (6.4 m) in diameter, fell across a park road in 1937 due to natural causes. The following year, a crew cut an 8-foot (2.4 m) tall, 17-foot (5.2 m) wide tunnel through the trunk, making the road passable again.
  • Crescent Meadow is a small, sequoia-rimmed meadow in the Giant Forest region of Sequoia National Park. This sierran montane meadow marks the western terminus of the High Sierra Trail, which stretches from the meadow across the Great Western Divide to Mount Whitney. Pioneer Hale Tharp homesteaded in this and nearby Log Meadow. Conservationist John Muir visited this meadow many times and praised it highly calling it the "Gem of the Sierras". The meadow lies at the end of a three mile paved road which leaves the Generals Highway near the Giant Forest Museum.
  • Moro Rock is a granite dome located in the center of the park, at the head of Moro Creek, between Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow. A 400-step stairway, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is cut into and poured onto the rock, so that visitors can hike to the top. The stairway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The view from the rock encompasses much of the Park, including the Great Western Divide. It has an elevation of 6,725 feet (2,050 m).
  • Campgrounds in the park include three in the foothills area: Potwisha (42 sites), Buckeye Flat (28 sites), and South Fork (10 sites). Four campgrounds are at higher, conifer-dominated elevations, ranging from 6,650 to 7,500 feet (2,000 to 2,300 m): Atwell Mill (21 sites), Cold Springs (40 sites), Lodgepole (214 sites), and Dorst (204 sites).

See also

References

  1. ^ Bolsinger, Charles L.; Waddell, Karen L. (1993), Area of old-growth forests in California, Oregon, and Washington, United States Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Resource Bulletin PNW-RB-197, http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_rb197.pdf 
  2. ^ Franklin, Jerry, F; Fites-Kaufmann, Jo Ann (1996), "Assessment of Late-Successional Forests of the Sierra Nevada", Status of the Sierra Nevada, Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project. Final Report to Congress, pp. 627–671, http://ceres.ca.gov/snep/pubs/v2s3.html 
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) California Black Oak: Quercus kelloggii, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Stromberg
  4. ^ Sierra Nevada Wilderness Education Project http://sierranevadawild.gov/wild/sequoiakings-canyon
  5. ^ Despain, Joel (1995). Crystal Cave: A Guidebook to the Underground World of Sequoia National Park. Sequoia Natural History Association. ISBN 1-878441-06-x. 
  6. ^ Crystal Cave. Sequoia National History Association. Last accessed January 27, 2007.
  7. ^ Magical underground world: Just-discovered cave in Sequoia National Park http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/24/CAVE.TMP&feed=rss.news

External links

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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.

Understand

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.

History

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.

Landscape

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.

Climate

Foothills

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.

Fees/Permits

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.

See

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.

Do

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.

Eat

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.

Sleep

Lodging

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

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.

Backcountry

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 www.nps.gov/seki/resform.htm) 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.

Wildlife

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.

Driving

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.

Crime

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!

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