Hello! We're glad that you're using our audio descriptions of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Map and Guide.
We're hopeful that these audio descriptions provide an accurate and complete overview of the brochure. You can expect to find details about the natural history of the park on the front page, and trip-planning information on the back page.
The most detailed element of the brochure is the driving map on the back page. Because of the complexity of the map, we described it in different ways. If you find some of the descriptions redundant, you can skip to the next section in your screen reader.
This entirety of this audio version lasts about 90 minutes, which we have divided into 61 sections as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 3 through 7 and their subsections describe the front of the brochure, which contains natural history information. Sections 8 through 14 and their subsections describe the back of the brochure, which is focused on an informational map of roads, services, and points of interest.
If you have suggestions for improving the descriptions, we'd love to hear your ideas. Please contact us to us and let us know how we can improve.
DESCRIBING: A black band containing some text and one color image.
SYNOPSIS: A black band contains text indicating that the brochure is for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The text identifies the U.S. government agencies and departments that oversee the operation of the park. A small color arrowhead logo of the National Park Service is on the right side of the black band. This type of black band with text and arrowhead logo is a common graphic element on official National Park Service publications.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A black stripe spans the width of the brochure and is about an inch tall. The black stripe creates a background for white text at varying sizes. The largest text is at the left and reads “Sequoia and Kings Canyon.” This bold text is on one line that’s about half the height of the black stripe. On the right side of the brochure is text that’s much, much smaller. One column of text reads, “Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, California.” The next column reads “National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.” The element at the farthest right is the arrowhead logo of the National Park Service that’s about half the height of the black stripe. It is brown with green, white, and darker brown elements that show a natural scene of a buffalo on a green landscape with a tall tree. White stylized text in the logo says, “National Park Service.”
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern California, are part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The two parks are contiguous, with Kings Canyon National Park being directly north of Sequoia National Park, and they are managed jointly. The 856,964 acre parks are situated roughly 60 miles east of Fresno, CA, and roughly 35 miles east of Visalia, CA. Sequoia National Park was established in 1890 while Kings Canyon National Park, a portion of which was originally created as General Grant National Park in 1890, was established closer to its current form and under its current name in 1940. Both parks have been expanded multiple times since their creation. Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park. Each year, more than a million visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be found here. We invite you to explore the parks' natural beauty and majestic views. Feel the rough bark of centuries-old sequoias, the largest trees by volume on planet Earth. Take a hike and hear the crunch of pine needles underfoot. Listen to the sound of the wind through the trees. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, install the NPS app and download the parks' data for offline use during your visit. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "Contact Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
DESCRIBING: A panoramic view of mountains of the Great Western Divide.
SYNOPSIS: A large landscape photo of a mountain range spans the width of the brochure with text placed on top of the image.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Spreading across the entire top of the brochure is a photo of a multitude of sunlit red-orange and brown mountains. The rugged mountains have many peaks and ridges with purple shadows which fade to dark gray on the lower slopes. Above the peaks’ razor-edged skyline, the air appears to be pale yellow. Farther above the mountains the sky gradually becomes light blue gray. A few wispy gray clouds float above the panoramic mountainscape.
CREDIT: RAYMOND RIOS
A thousand upspringing spires and pinnacles pierce the sky in every direction, the cliffs and mountain-ridges are everywhere ornamented with countless needle-like turrets.
Clarence King, Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872
DESCRIBING: A full-color map of ecosystems in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
SYNOPSIS:This is a cognitive map that shows the natural history of the area. Four different ecosystems can be found within the boundaries of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The four ecosystem types, in order from highest elevation to lowest elevation, are alpine, subalpine, montane forest, and foothills. It appears that the most common ecosystem in the parks is the montane forest, followed in order of commonality by the alpine, subalpine, and foothills ecosystems. The map does not provide any information about ecosystems found outside the park boundaries.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This map shows the entirety of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with each of the four defined ecosystems present within the park depicted with a specific color. From highest elevation to lowest elevation, alpine regions are shown in white, subalpine in a light greenish yellow, montane forest in green, and foothills in light orange. The foothills ecosystem, which is indicated by a tan color, is the least common, and can be found mostly along the west-southwest boundary of the park, where the park is closest to the community of Three Rivers. The montane forest ecosystem is indicated by a green color. It appears to be the most common ecosystem in the parks and covers the majority of the western portion of the parks and almost all of the river valleys in the eastern portion of the parks. The subalpine is indicated by a light green and is found mostly in the eastern and northern part of the parks, as well as along the Kings-Kaweah Divide, an east-west line of peaks that stretches toward the western boundary of the parks. It is more common than the foothills ecosystem. The alpine ecosystem is indicated in white and is found in the mountain peaks that dominate the northern and eastern portions of the parks, far from any of the roads that are in the parks. It appears to be the second most common ecosystem type in the parks.
RELATED TEXT: None.
Despite the natural longevity of giant sequoias, early conservationists recognized they needed protection. In 1890 Congress established Sequoia National Park as a permanent refuge for sequoias. As awareness grew of the importance of the surrounding landscape and habitats, the park was expanded several times. In 1940 Kings Canyon National Park was established. Over 800,000 acres in both parks are designated wilderness.
The great diversity of life at these parks results mainly from their extreme elevation range—1,360 to 14,494 feet. As you explore, keep in mind that the parks face threats their early advocates could not have envisioned, mostly due to climate change: higher temperatures, changing precipitation, more severe wildfires, and invasive species. How will future generations experience these fragile mountain habitats?
DESCRIBING: A subject header bar and a full color photo
SYNOPSIS: A tan colored title bar reads “Foothills”. It is surmounted on the right with a cut out photo of a quail on a branch.
IN-DEPTH: This image creates a header for the Foothills section of the brochure, where images and text are arranged together. At the top is a tan header bar with the word, “Foothills,” in dark brown bold text. A cutout photo of a quail with the background removed lays over the tan title bar. The quail perches on a slender twig, creating a contrast with the bird’s rounded body. The quail has a distinctive topknot, or pendulous feather, at the top of its head. A bright arc of feathers curves around its face. Its body features artfully colored brown feathers in different shades. The detail in the feathers creates a detailed geometric pattern.
CAPTION: California quail
CREDIT: GARY LINDQUIST
As you head toward the parks from the west, you roll through the foothills. Even in the extreme summer heat, a greater variety of plants and animals thrive in these relatively low elevations than any other habitat in the parks.
The brushy chaparral that covers these low slopes is a marvel of adaptation. Hot, dry summers create an arid landscape. In winter and spring—the best seasons to visit the foothills—rain seems to magically bring it back to life when wildflowers pop out against lush green.
Park entrance roads provide places to stop and explore up close. The Foothills Visitor Center has information and programs. If you have at least half a day, the road to Mineral King is an ideal place to experience the foothills’ ups and downs.
DESCRIBING: A horizontal landscape photo of the Foothills region of Sequoia National Park.
SYNOPSIS: A colorful image with close-ups of local vegetation in the foreground and towering, high-elevation rock formations in the background.
IN-DEPTH: In the foreground of the image are two upright yucca spears thickly covered in showy, creamy yellow flowers. The many flower blooms are each two to three inches wide and are in different stages of blooming, with new buds at the tops and spent flowers at the bottom. A dried, brown flower spear stands to the right of the blooming spears. The background depicts a thick overcast of leaden and white clouds above the gray and tan craggy peaks and turrets of the Castle Rocks formation. The jagged mountains vary in height, moving from a lower elevation on the left to the highest elevation on the right. In front of the mountains, dark green brush and trees cover the slopes.
CAPTION: The Generals Highway climbs through the foothills past white blooms of chaparral yucca and granite formations like Castle Rocks.
CREDIT: NPS / RICK CAIN
IMAGE 1 of 4: Green banner
DESCRIBING: A colored banner with text.
SYNOPSIS: The sage green title bar stretches across and above text, a photo, and two illustrations. The bar is short but wide, spanning the width of four columns of text and an illustration. Inside the bar are white letters, which read “Montane Forest.”
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: None.
IMAGE 2 of 4: Forest Floor
DESCRIBING: A square full-color image.
SYNOPSIS: A photo of an evergreen forest and forest floor. A shattered, large diameter tree trunk lies on the forest floor and fills the foreground of the image.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: On the ground lies a broken and splintered trunk of a large diameter tree. The fallen portions of that trunk stretch towards the lower section of the image, crack again at the center, and the remaining pieces veer to the left, covering the whole bottom half of the image. The bark on the trunk is rough with many ridges which catch the light, causing areas of light and shadow. Some of the bark is covered in yellow-green lichen. Inner wood of yellow, tan and orange is exposed where the trunk has shattered. The background of the image features a dense multitude of tree trunks of various diameters with the dark brown trunks contrasted against a blanket of green needles and leaves, some in light and some in shadow. Along the upper right edge and in the background of the image, a large broken-off tree trunk stands in sunlight. The broken trunk has a jagged profile of exposed wood. It is aligned with and appears to be of similar diameter to the tree trunk lying on the ground, suggesting that the trunk on the ground could be the upper portion of the standing tree trunk.
CAPTION: Forests in these parks change constantly. The tallest giants may suddenly fall, creating space for new seedlings.
CREDIT: GARY CRABBE (copyrighted)
IMAGE 3 of 4: Illustrated Outline of Five Trees
DESCRIBING: A mono-color illustration
SYNOPSIS: Five dark green tree silhouettes are presented in a row, with the base of their trunks aligned at the same level. Each silhouette has a label indicating that it represents a different species of tree. The silhouettes are labeled left to right as “White Fir,” “Sugar Pine,” “Giant Sequoia,” “Incense Cedar,” and “Ponderosa Pine.” Each tree species has a unique silhouette. The giant sequoia is by far the thickest-trunked and the tallest of the five species. It is inferred that the silhouettes are drawn all at the same scale to indicate relative size of mature versions of each type of tree, but that is not explicitly stated.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Five species of trees are represented by dark green silhouettes with the bases of their trunks aligned in order to show relative heights. Starting on the left, the white fir is the shortest silhouette, with a skinny trunk and dense foliage packed close to the trunk on short limbs that begin third of the way up the trunk. The next species to the right, the sugar pine, is the second tallest silhouette with trunk roughly fifty percent wider than the white fir and branches of foliage that reach out widely, almost perpendicular from the trunk. The structure of the branches is such that the foliage appears to be in distinct stacked alternating layers of foliage and open air. The top of the tree canopy is more peaked and pointed than any other species. The giant sequoia silhouette is in the center of the five arranged silhouettes. It has a trunk that is at least three times the thickness of the next widest species represented here. The branches are of both short and medium length, and are fewer, but thicker, than any other species, with thick tufts and clumps of foliage focused toward the ends of the branches. For some of the longer branches, this branching and foliage pattern sometimes leaves openings along the branches of the silhouetted tree canopy, between the tree trunk and the start of the foliage. The top of the silhouette comes to a rounded point. To the right of the giant sequoia, the incense cedar is a medium height, with medium length branches that begin about one third of the distance up the trunk. The foliage pattern is somewhat dense but with spotty gaps that produces a dappled appearance in silhouette. The top of the silhouette is very rounded, with no pointed-peak nature of any sort. The ponderosa pine is the furthest to the right. It is ever so slightly shorter than the incense cedar adjacent to it. It features the narrowest, most slender trunk and medium-length branches that begin about one third of the way up the trunk. The ponderosa pine has the fewest branches of any species here, and the branches are inconsistently distributed along the trunk. As such, the silhouette has more openings and gaps in the tree’s canopy than any other species. However, it has a very rounded top like the incense cedar.
CREDIT: NPS / JANE HANNA
IMAGE 4 of 4: Illustration of two trees
DESCRIBING: A full-color illustration
SYNOPSIS: On the far right a colored drawing of a giant sequoia next to a small, short tree, like a Christmas tree. The large base of the giant sequoia shows the detail of the bark with the deep lines and grooves. About halfway up the drawing smaller branches with green clusters begin to protrude. Moving up the tree the branches get significantly thicker with larger clusters of green needle-like foliage. In silhouette the branching pattern forms a cone shape starting narrowly, getting wider, and then coming to a narrower, rounded top.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The illustration of the Giant Sequoia shows a red-brown trunk with dark green foliage on its thick branches. The wide trunk tapers only slightly as it reaches its tallest point. About halfway up the trunk, small branches emerge with thick tufts of dark green foliage. The top half of the tree depicts thick branches sticking out and up from the main trunk and holding many smaller branches with groups of foliage. The trunk narrows towards the top and is crowned by smaller branches with dense groups of foliage. The tree is in shadow on its left side and the light on its rough bark highlights the bark ridges. Below, on its left, is a much smaller, green, Christmas tree-shaped tree. This topmost part of this illustration partially covers the right portion of the title bar.
CREDIT: NPS / JOHN DAWSON
Mixed-conifer montane forests on the Sierra Nevada’s middle slopes are remarkably diverse. Look for ponderosa pine, sugar pine, white fir, black oak, Jeffrey pine, and incense cedar amid the scattered groves of giant sequoias.
The parks’ 36 sequoia groves are the world’s most dramatic examples of old-growth coniferous forest. They grace the Sierra Nevada’s western slope in a 60 mile long belt between 5,000 and 7,000 feet.
Some tree species live longer, have greater diameters, or grow taller like their cousins the coast redwoods, but no tree is larger than the giant sequoia (right). In total volume of wood, it is the largest living tree on Earth.
A mature sequoia’s trunk remains thick for much of its height rather than narrowing to a point like other conifers. Chemicals in the wood and bark repel most insects and fungi, and thick bark insulates them from most fire. Their shallow root system has no taproot. The main cause of sequoia deaths is toppling. Soil moisture, root damage, and strong winds can destabilize them to the tipping point.
The easiest places to meet the big trees are Giant Forest, Grant Grove, and Redwood Mountain. The Giant Forest grove includes the eight largest sequoias, including the world’s largest tree, the General Sherman (275 feet).
Grant Grove is home to the second largest tree, the General Grant. Redwood Mountain Grove, one of the largest sequoia groves, covers 3,100 acres. All three groves have loop trails.
DESCRIBING: A section called, "Rivers and Canyons." That has a colored image as well as a scientific illustration.
SYNOPSIS: A blue title bar has white letters which reads “Rivers and Canyons.” It is above the text and a photo of the Cedar Grove River scene. Covering the top portion of the river scene photo is a cutout photo of a Little Kern golden trout. The image of the trout is wider than the river scene photo.
IN DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This section is arranged as a colored header with text below, then two images to illustrate the landscape. The header is a blue rectangle that creates a background for light-colored text that reads, “Rivers and Canyons.” Below this header is text, then images. The two images are a cutout of a fish and a river landscape. The fish is shown in profile from the tip of its nose to its tail, almost like a scientific illustration. It is a pale-yellow color with vivid markings. The top half of the fish, along with the upper fins and tail, are covered with small black oval-shaped spots. Along the horizontal midline of the fish is an orange stripe mixed with larger gray spots. The lower fins are pale orange.
Below the fish illustration is a river scene that has Autumn, orange and yellow, leaf colors in some of the trees. There are also tree colors of light green near the riverside, and deep green for the pointed evergreen trees behind the shoreline trees and bushes. The blueish-white waters of the Kaweah River flow from the center right through lines of rocks and then downstream to the far right, before curving to the left as they widen to fill the whole bottom of the image. The river’s light blue surface reflects the pale sky. Above the blue river water at the lowest part of the photo, is a colorful bank of bushes of green, dark green and orange. In the background, framed by tall evergreens, are sun-lit mountains of brown, tan, yellow and orange with some spots of white which might be snow. Above is a cloudless sky of pale blue.
FISH CAPTION: Little Kern golden trout, a threatened species
FISH CREDIT: JOSEPH R. TOMELLERI
IMAGE CAPTION: In Cedar Grove, granite cliffs and tall peaks frame the Kings Canyon floor.
IMAGE CREDIT: GARY CRABBE
Nearly all of the parks’ precipitation falls in winter and spring. Heavy snows blanket the Sierra Nevada range. The snowpack melts throughout spring and summer, saturating meadows and forests and releasing icy water into park rivers.
The parks’ rivers flow year-round, creating a corridor for abundant wildlife. As water flows down to the foothills, it sustains plants and animals through hot, dry summers. Three stretches of river in these parks are protected through the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This designation recognizes their free-flowing state and helps preserve them for us to enjoy and for wild species to continue to survive.
As tempting as it may be to jump in on a hot day—don’t! These cold, fast-moving rivers are extremely dangerous. Drowning is the parks’ leading cause of death.
DESCRIBING: A horizontal color photo.
SYNOPSIS: A faded background image of a short waterfall.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Along the bottom edge of the brochure, a subtle image spans the width of the page and fades behind text and photos. The image shows rushing water flowing over an edge, like a short, wide waterfall. The rushing water is white and foamy, fading into the pale background of the brochure. Small granite boulders break up the waterfall, but are faded by the designer to blend in with the background. This design element creates a horizontal frame that echoes the layout of the black band at the top of the brochure.
CAPTION: East Fork Kaweah River, Mineral King
CREDIT: copyright, BRENT PAULL
DESCRIBING: A header, a background image of flowers, and a square colored image.
SYNOPSIS: Titling the section, a cream-colored horizontal bar with black letters reads “Alpine/Subalpine”.
The image of a high Sierra Lake, surrounded by treeless mountains and rocks, is superimposed over a smaller picture of lavender-colored flower.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A cream-colored rectangle serves as the background for dark gray, bolded text that reads “Alpine / Subalpine,” creating a header for a group of text and images related to this landscape zone.
In the center back, Arrow Peak is in bright sunlight, turning its craggy slopes pink with purple shadows. Angular boulders fill the foreground, rising from the edge of the lake. The photo was taken close to ground level, resulting in the rocks in the foreground being close-up and filling the bottom half of the photo. The lake’s surface is glassy and shows a reflection of a peak in the distance. No vegetation is seen, just boulders, granite hillsides, and the triangular peak. The light is soft and purplish, hinting that the photo was taken near sunrise or sunset.
Above the cream-colored header, a faint image shows a cluster of sky pilot, purple flowers (about 4 to 16 inches,10 to 41cm.) The edges of the image fade into the brochure’s background. The flowers are in three groups, each with many tiny flowers with lavender petals and small, dark centers. Each flower seems to be about an inch and a half across.
FLOWER CAPTION: Sky pilot
FLOWER CREDIT: CHRIS CARNEY
IMAGE CAPTION: Alpine landscapes offer rugged hikes and wilderness views like this of Arrow Peak.
IMAGE CREDIT: PHILIP GROSS
In the subalpine habitat, over 9,000 feet, the air is cold and dry, and soil is scarce. Foxtail pines, whitebark pines, and western juniper can survive here. The alpine zone—where you will see no trees—begins at about 11,000 feet. Here, the glaciers’ work is
most evident: rocks of all sizes, crystal clear lakes in rocky, ice-carved cirques, the occasional low-growing shrub, and meadows that show off wildflowers like the sky pilot in the briefest of summers.
Many peaks tower over 14,000 feet high. Mount Whitney, at 14,494 feet, is the highest point in the contiguous United States. It is most easily seen from the Owens Valley east of the parks. Because park roads top out at 7,800 feet, visitors do not experience high country except on trails off-limits to motorized vehicles.
You can view mountain vistas from Moro Rock, Generals Highway, Panoramic Point near Grant Grove, pullouts before Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (CA 180) descends into the canyon, and Mineral King Valley.
IMAGE 1 of 2: Bat
DESCRIBING: A title bar reading "Caves" with an overlay of a small image of a bat.
SYNOPSIS: There is a brown title bar with white letters which reads “Caves.” The right half of the bar is covered with a cutout photo of a brown bat in a flying position.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Partially covering the brown title bar and the topmost right corner of the cave photo is a cutout photo of a Townsend’s big-eared bat. The bat is facing forward with outstretched wings of a very light beige color, which are taut, stretched to their fullest possible width. The image is two inches wide, about one-fifth scale from the bat's actual wingspan of eleven inches. The bat's light brown body is similar in size to a mouse. It has a dark brown head with tall ears pointing straight up, each as big as its head. It has dark brown eyes and nose, and the interior of the ears is light pink.
CAPTION: Townsend’s big-eared bat
CREDIT: MICHAEL DURHAM
IMAGE 2 of 2: Caverns
DESCRIBING: A square photo of a cavern with a variety of natural formations.
SYNOPSIS: Below the title bar and bat image is a photo of Crystal Cave, a cavern with hanging stalactites and mounds with stalagmites. In the foreground are two people standing in the cave.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: Lighting highlights the ceiling of the cave with colors of white, red-orange, and yellow-orange. It is encrusted with white deposits, mounds of clay-brown rock formations, and striations of orange and yellow. Stalactites hang down from the roof of the cave, formed by dripping acidic water over a long period of time. Some of the icicle-like stalactites are white, some are tan and some are yellow. In the lower portions of the cave, there are mounds from which stalagmites are growing upward, shaped like melted candles. There is a bright orange rock formation in the center of the cave. While the majority of the image is rocky in appearance, on the lower right of the image, two visitors in bluish shirts and jeans are facing away from the viewer while gazing upwards at the cavern display. They are standing close together on a flat walking path lined with rocks. The two people show a size comparison to the cave, which appears to be about two adult humans tall.
CAPTION: Marble bedrock and calcite formations decorate the half-mile trail through Crystal Cave.
CREDIT: NPS / ALISON TAGGARTBARONE
Delicate and dangerous, nearly all caves in these parks are closed to the public. Many have pits, steep drops, and other obstacles that create hazards for casual touring. The wild caves are habitat for animals that may exist nowhere else on Earth.
Crystal Cave is open to visitors. Guided tours offer a journey into a “marble solution” cave. Here, over eons, acidic water has dissolved the marble rock, leaving winding passageways through a gallery of fascinating formations.
Along the route, you can experience the total darkness and chilly temperatures of a classic cave environment. Rooms and passageways are relatively undisturbed.
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are not sold at the cave.
This side of the brochure is oriented horizontally. On the left side, two thirds of the page is covered by a map. The map shows only a portion of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and includes all park roads. Faint dashed lines show a network of many miles of trails. Above the legend is a section of text titled "Park Roads - Know Before You Go."
To the right side of the page, two large blocks of text are divided by a small map. The upper text block is titled "Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks," and includes information about planning a visit, including accessibility information. Below that text, a small map shows driving routes into the parks.
The next block of text is titled "Things to See and Do." In includes information about park highlights, including Crystal Cave, sequoia groves, Moro Rock, Mineral King, and designated wilderness.
At the bottom right of the page is a chart that details driving miles and times between park features.
At the far right side of the page, a hazy, semi-transparent image shows the massive trunks of two giant sequoias. It provides a gentle pop of color to a mostly green and beige layout. The illustration fades into the text and chart elements at the top and bottom of the page.
Lodging options in the parks include Wuksachi Lodge, John Muir Lodge, Grant Grove Cabins, and Cedar Grove Lodge. They are all run by a concessionaire, Delaware North. For reservations year-round, call 806-307-3598 or visit www.visitsequoia.com/lodging.
Campground locations range from the relatively warm foothills to cool forest settings. Some campgrounds are open year-round. To reserve either standard campsites or group sites, call 877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov.
RELATED TEXT: Stay safe and protect the parks
Emergencies call 911
This small section includes contact information for the park, along with a logo and web address for the National Park Foundation.
Text reads, "Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are two of over 400 parks in the National Park System. For information visit www.nps.gov."
ADDRESS: 47050 Generals Hwy., Three Rivers, CA 93271
PHONE: (559) 565-3341
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are two of over 400 parks in the National Park System. For information visit www.nps.gov.
National Park Foundation
Join the park community.
The number of things to see and do at Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks is unlimited, but a few of the most popular suggestions are listed here. Check the subsections of this element for details on how to start planning our trip, visiting Crystal Cave, sequoia groves, and Moro Rock. And if you're interested in a visit to the remote and rugged Mineral King area or a trip into the wilderness, visit those sections for an overview of where to start to plan your trip.
For information about services, facilities, activities, and special events listed by current season, pick up the park newspaper at entrance stations and visitor facilities.
Go to the Foothills, Lodgepole, Kings Canyon, and Cedar Grove visitor centers to find trip-planning information, permits, exhibits, films, and sales items. The Giant Forest Museum has exhibits about sequoias and their habitat.
DESCRIBING: A full-color background illustration.
SYNOPSIS: A vertical full-color illustration rendering a thin vertical view into a grove of giant sequoias, with two large sequoia trees as the main focal point. The illustration is intentionally faded so that text that is overlaid on the image can be read.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This illustration of two large giant sequoia trees within the context of a mixed-conifer montane forest. The image stretches vertically along the right side of the brochure and is surrounded by various blocks of text, a small park map, and a chart at the bottom. The blocks of text partly cover the edges of the illustration. Although the image is faded to allow for reading the text, it still adds color and texture to the background. The majority of the image shows the towering red-brown sequoia trunks, covered in deep vertical grooves. At the very top of the image, the lowest branches and foliage are visible. The lengths of the gnarled branches are exposed and visible except for large tufts of dark green foliage near the branch ends. Various types of smaller conifer trees are barely visible near the lower trunks of the two massive sequoias.
CREDIT: NPS / JOHN DAWSON
Giant Forest offers the Big Trees Trail, a level 0.6-mile paved loop through a stand of giant sequoias. The General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on Earth, is reached by a 0.5-mile trail or an alternate wheelchair-accessible trail with parking. Grant Grove has trails to the General Grant Tree and through the North Grove sequoia stand.
Climb a steep, 0.25-mile stairway 300 feet up this granite dome for one of the best mountain views in the parks. Nearby are the Crescent Meadow loop trail, Tharp’s Log (a cabin carved from a fallen sequoia), and the drive-through Tunnel Log. More information about Moro Rock can be found on the park's website.
This underground wonderland is open in summer only. Buy tour tickets onlineat least two days in advance at www.sequoiaparkconservancy.org. Limited numbers of tickets may be available at Lodgepole and Foothills visitor centers. Tickets are not available at the cave.
A steep, winding road takes you from the foothills to 7,800 feet in elevation and to an expanse of subalpine forest and mountain vistas. The ranger station has detailed information about trails. The narrow, winding road is 25 miles one way; allow at least half a day for this visit. Open late May–late September. The parks' website has more information about accessibility in the Mineral King area.
Over 95 percent of these parks is designated wilderness, not reachable by vehicle. Trails—both strenuous and gentler—lead you to high peaks, alpine lakes, subalpine forest, and some of the most rugged country in our national parks. Wilderness permits are required for overnight trips. More information about wilderness permits can be found on the parks' website.
Text on the brochure reads, "We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to a visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website."
For detailed information about accessibility at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, please visit our main accessibility web page, download our Accessibility Guide as a pdf in standard format or large-print format, or preview our Accessibility Film Series.
DESCRIBING: A full-color regional map of highways and National Park sites in the High Sierra region of central California. A diagonal line along the right side splits the image, with the top right corner labeled as Nevada, and the remainder labeled as California.
SYNOPSIS: This map is used for very general regional orientation and transportation planning for visitors interested in visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and nearby public lands via roadways. The sparse, north-oriented map shows the region around Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, including only major highways and a few other features. South Central California and a portion of western Nevada are within the boundaries of the map. A few towns and cities along the highways, the outlines of national forests and national park units in the region, and the route numbers of the major highways are the only features indicated. There are two roadways, both in national parks, that are indicated as open only in the summer.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This map shows a rectangular region that is roughly 200 miles east-west and 150 miles north-south. Highways of note are indicated with white lines and include state highways, U.S. highways, and a small section of Interstate 5 running northwest to southeast in the lower left corner of the map. All highways except for two short roads inside two different national parks have a highway number indicated. State highway numbers are inside ovals, U.S. highways numbers are inside the standard U.S. highway shield shape, and interstate 5 has the standard interstate shield shape with a black band across the top of the shape. The two largest highways, Interstate 5 and California Route 99, are indicated with a white line outlined thinly in black.
There is no road that enters Sequoia and Kings Canyon from the east, only from the west. Two roads enter the parks. Highway 198 enters and exits the west-southwest portion of Sequoia National Park while staying relatively close to the western boundary of the parks. Highway 198 joins Highway 180, which enters the western side of Kings Canyon National Park. Highway 180 dead ends in Kings Canyon National Park and has a note that the road is only open in the summer.
The boundary footprints of the national parks are indicated in dark green. Small park units are indicated with small squares of the same color. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are indicated in a slightly darker green with an even darker, thin outline. Other national park sites on the map are Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks, Devils Postpile National Monument, and Manzanar National Historic Site.
The boundary shapes of national forests are indicated with a lighter green, and they generally form a northwest-to-southeast band across the middle of the map. The named forests are Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia National Forests.
Giant Sequoia National Monument, which is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, is also named and indicated in the same lighter green.
Cities and towns are indicated with small yellow circles outlined thinly in black. On the western side of the map, the closest town to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is Three Rivers (approximately 5 miles to the west), and Visalia is the closest city (approximately 40 miles to the west). Fresno is the closest large city and is about 50 miles from the park boundary. Fresno is located along the main road artery of California Route 99.
Take CA 180 into Kings Canyon or CA 198 into Sequoia. Drive between and within the parks on the scenic Generals Highway (may be closed in winter). No east-west roads cross the parks, and there is no road access from US 395 east of the parks. Visalia offers a low-cost shuttle to Sequoia National Park in summer. Gasoline is not available in the parks.
Driving mountain roads can be treacherous, and this section details things you may need to know in advance when driving in Sequoia and Kings canyon National Parks.
GENERALS HIGHWAY IN WINTER
From January 1 to mid-March, the Generals Highway closes for public travel between the parks. It may also close due to storms.
NO GASOLINE IN THE PARKS
Gas is not available inside the parks. Year-round: Get gas before entering the parks and at Hume Lake. Summer: Gas is also available at Stony Creek.
VEHICLE LENGTH LIMITS
Maximum recommended lengths: • Between Foothills Visitor Center and Potwisha Campground: 24 feet. • Between Potwisha Campground and Giant Forest Museum: 22 feet.
NARROW, WINDING, AND STEEP
Save your brakes. Use low gears on downhills. Keep inside your lane. Watch for wildlife. Use turnouts to let others pass. Speed limit is 15–25 mph.
Temperatures drop as you climb uphill. Be prepared for changing weather and road conditions. Tire chains may be required, especially November–April.
DON’T RELY ON GPS
Follow road signs and use your map. Cellular coverage is extremely limited.
Free shuttles operate in Sequoia National Park in summer and some winter holidays. A shuttle (small fee) runs from Visalia to Giant Forest in summer.
This chart displays point-to-point driving distances in miles and drive times in minutes for points of interest in the parks and nearby cities and landmarks. Each set of driving distances and times are broken out in separate audio descriptions under this overview so that they are more easily browsed and searched.
CHART STRUCTURE: Large bold text above the upper left corner of the chart reads, "Driving Miles / Minutes." "Minutes" is printed in dark red ink, while the other text is in black ink. Within the cells of the chart, numbers in black ink indicate miles and numbers in dark red ink indicate drive times in minutes, with the two numbers separated by a forward-slash character. The chart has eleven rows, with rows alternating in background color between a light green and a cream color. There are twelve columns, with entries in the first, or left-most, column serving as a header for each row. On the left side of each column, except for the left-most column, a line extends from the top of the column upward and to the right at a 45-degree angle. The names of locations are printed on the underside of each line, serving as headers for all columns that have these lines.
DRIVING MILES are the first number listed for each destination. Estimated driving time in minutes is the second number.
Zumwalt Meadow to . . .
DRIVING MILES are the first number listed for each destination. Estimated driving time in minutes is the second number.
Cedar Grove Visitor Center to . . .
DRIVING MILES are the first number listed for each destination. Estimated driving time in minutes is the second number.
Grant Grove Village to . . .
Lodgepole Visitor Center to . . .
General Sherman Tree to . . .
Giant Forest Museum to . . .
Foothills Visitor Center to . . .
Mineral King Ranger Station to . . .
Lake Kaweah to . . .
Visalia to . . .
Fresno to . . .
DESCRIBING: A large full color map
SYNOPSIS:This complex map shows the west central portion of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, focusing on the developed areas with roads and services. Even though the map shows only part of the parks, the area shown is expansive, with many miles of roads and trails. The map is not suitable for day hikers, but instead provides an overview of the park, or a driving map. There are symbols that indicate the location of features of interest, such as campgrounds, picnic areas, lodging, public telephones, public WiFi, and sequoia groves. Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers are also prominently indicated. Some features on adjacent National Forest lands are also included.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: This complex map shows a portion of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, focusing on the developed areas with roads and services. Even though the map shows only part of the parks, the area shown is expansive, with many miles of roads and trails. The map is not suitable for day hikers, but instead provides an overview of the park, or a driving map.
The portion of the parks shown on the map is a blocky, irregular shape. The bulk of the park is divided between two parts: Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park, with a horizontal band across the page separating the two. A separate portion of Kings Canyon National Park juts out from the rest, almost like a thumb. A north arrow shows north to be at the top of the page.
Many people enter the parks at the Sequoia entrance on Highway 198, which is shown at the bottom left corner. Outside the park is the town of Three Rivers, Lake Kaweah, and a note that the highway leads to Visalia and Highway 99. A wavy yellow line indicates the curvy main highways leading into the park.
Just inside the park boundary is the entrance station. A little further, Foothills Visitor Center is labeled, and includes pay phone, Wi-Fi, and picnic area icons. Continuing along the highway and moving toward the center of the map, these features are labeled, in order: Tunnel Rock, Potwisha Campground, Hospital Rock, and an overlook. Buckeye Flat Campground is along a side road to the east.
The next major feature along the highway is Giant Forest Museum, and then Big Trees Trail. A side road leads to a cluster of features along a short road: Moro Rock, Tunnel Log, and Crescent Meadow. Another feature, Tharp’s Log, is a short distance down a dashed line that indicates a trail.
A small label in this area shows two trees and includes the text, “Giant Forest Grove.” These labels show sequoia groves throughout the parks.
Continuing along the main highway, a picnic area is a short distance from Giant Forest Museum, then a bold label indicates the General Sherman Tree. Another side road leads to Wolverton with icons showing that a picnic area, pay phone, and snowplay area are available there.
Back on the main highway, Lodgepole Visitor Center and Village are labeled close to the center of the page, with icons showing a picnic area, market, food service, a campground, and a pay phone. Wuksachi Lodge is a short distance further, with icons for lodging, pay phone, and dining.
The highway turns toward the left of the page, passing a picnic area and Dorst Creek Campground. A label for Muir Grove is near the campground. The highway then passes the Sequoia Park boundary and Lost Grove sequoia grove and then enters an area labeled as Sequoia National Forest. Services along this stretch include Stony Creek and Montecito Sequoia lodges.
The highway soon enters Kings Canyon National Park. Features along the highway include, in order, Kings Canyon Overlook, Quail Flat, a small road to Redwood Canyon and Redwood Mountain Grove, and Redwood Mountain Overlook. The highway then reaches a junction with Highway 180. To the left is the Kings Canyon National Park entrance a short distance from the junction. Big Stump is labeled as a picnic area and snowplay area there, and Big Stump sequoia grove is also labeled. A note along the left edge of the page mentions that Highway 180 continues to Fresno and Highway 99.
To the right along Highway 180, the road enters a cluster of development. The main feature is Kings Canyon Visitor Center and Grant Grove Village, and icons show the following services: lodging, market, dining, pay phone, post office, and Wi-Fi. Nearby are Azalea, Sunset, and Crystal Springs campgrounds, and a pack station where horses are offered for hire. A short distance further along the highway, a short road leads to a picnic area and the General Grant Tree, along with a General Grant Grove label. Another road in the area leads to Panoramic Point, where there is a picnic area and trail.
As the highway continues, it leads outside of Kings Canyon National Park and into Sequoia National Forest for a long stretch, passing these features: an overlook, short road to the Converse Basin Grove, Chicago Stump and Boole Tree, Princess Campground, Junction View Overlook, Convict Flat Campground, Boyden Cave, and Grizzly Falls. This area of the highway is labeled as Kings Canyon Scenic Byway.
Shortly after Grizzly Falls, the highway enters the separate portion of Kings Canyon National Park at the top right of the page. Many features are shown along this stretch of road: Cedar Grove Overlook, a series of campgrounds (Sheep Creek, Sentinel, Canyon View, and Moraine), Canyon View, Knapp’s Cabin, Roaring River Falls, Zumwalt Meadow, Muir Rock, and Road’s End Permit Station. The highway ends here and trails begin. (For overnight hikes, wilderness permits are required.) Cedar Grove Visitor Center and Village are close to the highway near the campgrounds. Icons show the following services there: market, food service, picnic area, lodging, pay phone, and a pack station.
Between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove, a side road leads to another developed area in Sequoia National Forest. Hume Lake offers services that include gasoline, food service, a market, a pay phone, camping, and picnicking. Other campgrounds are shown along the roads to this area.
Other national forest roads
In other areas inside park boundaries and away from roads, natural features such as peaks, rivers, and lakes are labeled. Faint, dashed lines show a complex network of trails, many not labeled. Labels mark remote areas as Sequoia – Kings Canyon Wilderness.
At the bottom of the page, two roads lead to remote areas away from the parks’ developed areas. Mineral King Road enters Sequoia National Park at Lookout Point entrance. Atwell Mill Campground and Atwell Grove are the next features along the road, then Silver City Resort, where icons show that lodging, food service, and a pay phone are offered. Near the end of the road are Cold Springs Campground (a pay phone is here), and Mineral King Ranger Station. Another pay phone is at the end of the road. East Fork Grove is near Cold Springs Campground.
A short section of road is shown at the bottom of the map and is labeled as South Fork Drive. A note explains that the road leads to South Fork Campground, Ladybug Trail, and Garfield Grove.
Legend shows several black and white icons, road paths, a compass, and a distance scale.
A black and white icon with a tent represents camping.
A black and white icon with a picnic table represents picnic areas.
A black and white icon with a man on a horse represents pack stations (horses for hire).
A black and white icon of a telephone represents public telephones.
A black and white icon of semi-circles coming off of a dot represents wifi.
A black and white icon of a piece of mail represents post offices.
A black and white icon of a jug of milk and apple represents markets.
A black and white icon of a gas pump represents gas stations.
A black and white icon of a bed represents lodging.
A black and white icon of a fork and knife represents food service
A black and white icon of a snowflake represents winter recreation.
A black building with a flag represents wilderness ranger stations (summer only).
A black tall structure represents fire lookout.
A colored white circle with a brown border with two very tall trees in it represents sequoia groves.
A thick yellow line represents a main driving route.
A narrow skinny black line represents a narrow, winding, and steep road.
A black line with two dots on either side of a line represents a gate for winter road closure.
A green dashed line represents a trail.
A thin red line represents a paved road.
A compass with one arrow that points upward says North.
The scale stating that 4 kilometers is equivalent to 2.5 miles.
There are 12 campgrounds within the parks. The number of available sites varies by location and season. Reservations can be made online at Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777 or TDD 877-833-6777.
In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks campgrounds can be found in the following areas: Mineral King, Foothills, Giant Forest, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove.
Below are online links to specific campgrounds by area with detailed information:
Lodgepole and Giant Forest
Below are campgrounds within Sequoia National Forest, including links to individual campground information and accessibility details:
Food service is available in restaurants, cafes, and snack bars. Some dining facilities are open seasonally and others are open year-round. Open hours may be affected by weather or road conditions.
More information about food service locations can be found online at food service locations within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks food service can be found in the following areas: Mineral King, Lodgepole, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove. Below are food services by area with more information in an online link:
Lodgepole and Giant Forest
Food service can also be found within the Sequoia National Forest, including web link when available:
There are no gas stations within park boundaries. Be sure to fill your gas tank before you enter the parks. You may travel a significant distance before you have a chance to fill up with gas again.
The closest gas stations to park entrances are found:
Gasoline is sold on neighboring Sequoia National Forest land at the following locations:
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
There are charging stations in the town of Three Rivers just outside the Ash Mountain Entrance Station. Charging stations are also available in the cities of Visalia and Fresno. The State of California offers an online list with links to charging station locators that will help you find an appropriate station for your vehicle.
There are five lodges that operate within the boundaries of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and two lodges that operate within the nearby Sequoia National Forest. The number of available rooms varies by location. Lodges can close for the winter season or may not be accessible without tire chains in inclement weather. For more information on lodges that operate within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks visit: Lodges
In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lodging can be found in the following areas: Mineral King, Lodgepole, Grant Grove, and Cedar Grove. Below are lodges by area with more information in an online link:
Giant Forest and Lodgepole
Lodges within the nearby Sequoia National Forest with online links:
Food and snacks are available at markets within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Markets can close for the winter season or may not be accessible without tire chains in inclement weather. Markets within the boundaries of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, including links:
Sequoia National Forest Markets:
Guided horseback rides are available to the public in summer. Opening and closing dates for each location depend upon weather conditions. Weight limits and age restrictions may apply. For more information visit our website: Pack Stations.
A list of pack stations within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:
All picnic areas have restrooms, and some have water and barbecue grills. Barbecue grills may not be available when fire restrictions are in place. Before your visit, please check for fire information online at this link: current fire restrictions. Picnic areas may be closed because of bear activity or other issues. Picnic areas are not plowed and may be inaccessible when snow is on the ground.
Black bears may sometimes approach picnic areas. When eating or preparing food, always keep food within arm's reach. Store food, trash, and any items with an odor in metal food-storage boxes if they are available. Following park food-storage regulations protects park bears and helps prevent aggressive behavior.
For more information about picnic areas within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks visit our webpage: Picnic Areas.
Below are picnic areas within the parks by area:
Lodgepole and Giant Forest
Within the Sequoia National Forest, check for current restrictions on wood and charcoal barbecue fires, gas and propane stoves, and/or smoking by visiting the USFS Fire Restrictions webpage or call Sequoia National Forest and Giant Forest National Monument at 559-784-1500.
Picnic Areas within Sequoia National Forest:
Public payphones can be found throughout Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Payphones are coin operated; no coins are needed for emergency calls to 911. Some phones shown on the park brochure have been removed since the brochure was last printed. Phones can currently be found in the follow in locations:
Lodgepole and Foothills
Within Sequoia National Forest payphones can be located at:
Many people come to visit the tall trees of the Giant Forest, Grant Grove, or Cedar Grove areas of the parks. However, sequoia groves are found throughout the parks.
Sequoia grove by area within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks:
Sequoia - Kings Canyon Wilderness
Sequoia groves within Sequoia National Forest:
While our parks are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, not all visitor centers are open year-round. Some close seasonally. Others operating outdoors may close due to inclement weather or poor air quality. For more information on visitor centers within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, visit our webpage: Visitor Centers. A list of visitor centers with detailed information can be found below.
Mineral King Ranger Station
Mile 24, Mineral King Road
Sequoia National Park, CA 93271
Directions: On the Mineral King Road 24 miles (39 km) from the junction of Highway 198 in Three Rivers.
Phone Number: (559) 565-3341
Foothills Visitor Center and Park Headquarters
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Directions: On the Generals Highway 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the Ash Mountain Entrance.
Phone Number: (559) 565-3341
Lodgepole Visitor Center
63100 Lodgepole Rd.
Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Directions: On the Generals Highway 21 miles (34 km) north of the Ash Mountain Entrance. 2 miles (3 km) north of the General Sherman Tree.
Phone Number: (559) 565-3341
Kings Canyon Visitor Center
83918 Highway 180
Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633
Directions: On Highway 180 in Grant Grove Village, 3 miles (5 km) east of the Big Stump Entrance.
Phone Number: (559) 565-3341
Cedar Grove Visitor Center
Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633
Directions: On Highway 180, 30 miles (48 km) east of Grant Grove. Next to Sentinel Campground.
Phone Number: (559) 565-3341
Cell service is extremely limited throughout the parks and is mainly available for some networks near entrance stations. Free public wifi is available at two locations:
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
There are three designated snowplay areas, one in Sequoia National Park and two in Kings Canyon National Park. For your safety and the safety of others, please use these areas for sledding and tubing. Sledding, tubing, skiing, snowboarding is prohibited in residential areas, the Grant Tree Trail area, the Sherman Tree Road, and other areas as signed. For more information visit our webpage: Snowplay.
Snowplay locations by area:
Lodgepole and Giant Forest
Snowplay is prohibited in all other areas in Grant Grove, including Azalea Campground, which is for campers only.
DESCRIBING: A horizontal section of a full-color map
SYNOPSIS: Within Kings Canyon National Park, California Highway 180 follows the South Fork Kings River east-west for about 7.5 miles (12.1 kilometers) along the floor of Kings Canyon before the highway ends at a location called Roads End. There are four campgrounds, the Cedar Grove Visitor Center and Village, features such as Zumwalt Meadow, Muir Rock, and Roaring River Falls, and several trailheads along this short section of the highway in the west-central portion of the park. Trail hiking opportunities range from short day hikes to multi-night backpacking trips.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: On the map California Highway 180 is indicated with a yellow line outlined thinly in black. Several features are shown along this 7.5 mile (12.1 kilometer) stretch of road. Following the road west to east from where it crosses the park boundary, the first feature encountered is a side road that stays on the north side of the South Fork Kings River just before the highway crosses to the south side of the river. The side road, called No parallels the highway toward Cedar Grove Visitor Center and bypasses all the campgrounds. About half a mile from the side road, on the left, or north, of the road, is the entrance to Sheep Creek Campground. Another half mile east, a road on the left goes to Sentinel Campground and Cedar Grove Visitor Center and Village. This area features a market, food service, a picnic area, overnight lodging, a pay telephone, and a pack station that features horseback riding. This side road crosses the river and joins with the road that parallels the highway on the north side of the river. Heading east on Highway 180 from the side road to Cedar Grove, the road passes Canyon View and Moraine Campgrounds and reaches Canyon View overlook after one mile. All of these features are on the north side of the road. Another mile east of Canyon View overlook the road passes a small parking area for Knapp’s Cabin on the north side of the road. After another mile the highway crosses a bridge over Roaring River. A trail to Roaring River Falls starts from a parking area on the right just after crossing the bridge. One and a half miles east of the Roaring River trailhead, the Zumwalt Meadow trailhead parking lot is on the southside, or right, side of the road. One mile east of Zumwalt Meadow the road reaches its end in a loop that allows vehicles to turn around without having to stop. There are three trailheads and two locations of note around the loop, Muir Rock and the Roads End Permit Station. The permit station issues permits for overnight backpacking trips along trails that begin along this section of the highway.
DESCRIBING: A horizontal rectangular full-color section of a map
SYNOPSIS: Within Sequoia National Park, the Generals Highway follows the route of the Kaweah River upstream to the northeast for about 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) from a park entrance station to a picnic area at Hospital Rock. There are two campgrounds, the Foothills Visitor Center and Park Headquarters, two picnic areas, a Wi-Fi access point, and three locations that feature access to telephones along this short section of highway in the southwest portion of the parks. There are notes on the map that there is no gasoline sold in the parks and that vehicles longer than 22 feet, including trailers, are not advised between Potwisha Campground and the Giant Forest Museum. The Giant Forest Museum is reached by continuing on the highway north of Hospital Rock.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: On the map General Highway is indicated with a yellow line outlined thinly in black. The highway line is not straight as it follows the north side of the very winding Kaweah River. The park boundary is indicated with a bright green line and the park area has a very light green tint to it. As the highway enters the parks from the southwest, there is an entrance station where an entrance fee is collected or a federal lands pass can be presented. One mile northeast of the entrance station the Foothills Visitor Center and the Park Headquarters are on the southeast side of the highway, and a picnic area is on the northwest side of the highway. The Visitor Center, which is at an elevation of 1,700 feet (518 meters), features public Wi-Fi access. Although the park brochure shows a public telephone at the visitor center, it has been removed since the brochure was last printed. Continuing northeast about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers), Tunnel Rock is on the north side of the highway. After another 1.5 miles Generals Highway crosses a bridge over Marble Fork Kaweah River just upstream of where it joins the Middle Fork Kaweah River to form the Kaweah River. Just past the bridge, a short spur road on the north side of the road goes to Potwisha Campground. The campground features a public telephone and a trailhead for a 3.1 mile (5 kilometer) trail to Marble Falls. About 2.3 miles (3.7 kilometers) further up the highway is Hospital Rock Picnic Area, which features a public telephone. The picnic area is on the west side of the highway just as the road turns north, winding up and away from the Middle Fork Kaweah River toward the Giant Forest. Opposite the picnic area, on the east side of the highway, a spur road parallels the Middle Fork Kaweah River about 0.6 miles to Buckeye Flat Campground. Just prior to reaching the campground a narrow, unpaved primitive road continues to parallel the river for 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers) until ending at a trailhead on the north side of the Middle Fork Kaweah River.
DESCRIBING: Full color area map
SYNOPSIS: This map section shows the major features in the Giant Forest and Lodgepole areas, which are in the southwestern portion of the parks. None of the roads in this are straight. About 23 miles (37 kilometers) of the Generals Highway wiggles roughly north-south through this map section except near the center of the image, where the highway traces a large bending bulge east of the general north-south line drawn by the road. Along the highway, there are the Giant Forest Museum, Lodgepole Visitor Center and Village, the General Sherman Tree, Big Trees Trail, three picnic areas, and several trailheads. There are spur roads that go to Crystal Cave, Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow, Tunnel Log, Wolverton picnic and snow play area, Wuksachi Lodge, two campgrounds, and several trailheads. Two giant sequoia groves are in this area. Notes on the map state that vehicles longer than 22 feet (6.7 meters) including trailers are prohibited on the road to Crystal Cave, not advised between Giant Forest Museum and Potwisha Campground, and may be prohibited on the road to Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock, which also closes to all vehicles during snow and shuttle bus seasons. Close to the General Sherman Tree there is summer parking for vehicles with a disability placard. Summer parking for all other vehicles visiting the Sherman Tree is located off of the spur road to Wolverton picnic area. In winter the disability placard parking location for the Sherman Tree serves as the only winter parking for visiting the tree.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: On the map General Highway is indicated with a yellow line outlined thinly in black. Spur roads off of the highway have thinner yellow lines, also outlined thinly in black. Shading on the map indicates that this area is very mountainous, and there are several rivers indicated with thin blue lines. This description is written from south to north.
From the south edge of the map, which abuts the Foothills area map, the highway twists and turns north past an overlook and crosses a slope high above Marble Falls before taking an abrupt turn to the east-southeast. In this east-southeast section the 6.5 mile-long Crystal Cave Road begins on the north side of the highway. Advance tickets are required to visit the cave, and a steep 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) trail must be traveled to reach the cave entrance. Roughly half-way down the Crystal Cave Road there is access to the Colony Mill Trail.
About 2 miles north of the Crystal Cave Road, after the highway turns several times and eventually begins bearing north again, the turn for Crescent Meadow Road, which is a spur road, is on the east side of the highway. This road dead ends at the Crescent Meadow trailhead after 2.5 miles (4 kilometers), where there are several trails, including one that travels about a mile to a feature called Tharp’s Log. About halfway to Crescent Meadow, the Moro Rock Loop road turns off to the south to the Moro Rock trailhead. The Moro Rock Trail travels steeply to the summit of Moro Rock, which is at 6,725 feet elevation (2,050 meters). Crescent Meadow Road passes through Tunnel Log about 1.5 miles from where the road turns off Generals Highway.
Back on the Generals Highway, the Giant Forest Museum is immediately after the turn off for Crescent Meadow Road, on the east side of the road. Two trails are accessible from the museum area. On the map, directly right of the museum, there is a round symbol indicating a sequoia grove, with the label “Giant Forest Grove.”
Continuing past the museum, the road bends east and in about a quarter mile passes the Big Trees Trail on the north side of the highway. From here the highway runs roughly northeast-southwest. About 1 mile from the museum a picnic area is on the north side of the highway.
Approximately 2 miles northeast from the Giant Forest Museum, on the east side of the road there are a trail to the General Sherman Tree and a small parking lot. In the summer this lot is only for vehicles with a disability placard. In the winter it is the only parking available for the Sherman Tree.
A half mile north on the highway from this parking lot, the 1.5-mile-long Wolverton Road is on the east side of the highway. Wolverton Road provides access to the summer parking area for the trail to the General Sherman Tree, a picnic area, trailheads, and a winter snowplay area. The summer Sherman Tree parking lot is accessed via a road that branches off to the south 0.5 miles up the Wolverton Road. The picnic area, trailheads and winter snowplay area are at the end of the road. The park brochure shows a public telephone at this location, but it has been removed since the brochure was printed.
Generals Highway continues northeast from the Wolverton Road turn-off another 1.6 miles to a junction with Lodgepole Road on the east side of the highway. A short distance down this road, the Lodgepole Visitor Center and Village are on the north side of the road. The Village features a market, a public pay phone, and dining. Lodgepole Campground is about three quarters of a mile from the turn off from the highway. There are also a couple trailheads near the end of the road, one for the Twin Lakes Trail and one for the Tokopah Falls Trail.
The highway bends to the west immediately north of the junction with Lodgepole Road. On the south side of the road there is a picnic area. At 1.6 miles west of Lodgepole Road there is a junction with Wuksachi Way, which joins the highway from the north. Wuksachi Way leads to Wuksachi Lodge, which offers overnight lodging, dining, and a public telephone.
Two miles west of the junction with Wuksachi Way, Halstead Meadow Picnic Area is on the south side of the highway. Picnic tables are some distance and down a sloping trail from the vehicle parking.
West of the picnic area the highway generally heads southwest until turning north. At three miles west of the picnic area is the parking area for Little Baldy Trailhead. One and a half miles north of the trailhead the highway bends to the west is Dorst Creek Campground. The highway continues north of the edge of the map, toward the Grant Grove area.
DESCRIBING: A full color map.
SYNOPSIS: This map section shows the major features in the Grant Grove area of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Travelers should take note that there is no gasoline sold in the parks. This area is on the far western edge of the parks. This the closest area of the parks to the Fresno metropolitan area. California Highway 180 enters from the west, from Fresno and California Highway 99. An entrance station is located on Highway 180 as it enters the park. East of the entrance station Highway 180 turns north and passes through Grant Grove Village. Around Grant Grove Village there are three campgrounds, the Kings Canyon Visitor Center, a picnic area, an overnight lodge, a market, post office, dining, a public telephone, WiFi access, horseback riding, and the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias. Highway 180 continues north from the village, leaving the national park and passing through Sequoia National Forest en route to Kings Canyon and Cedar Grove. The Generals Highway intersects with Highway 180 between the entrance station and Grant Grove Village. The highway runs east-west toward two scenic overlooks, a snowplay area, and Redwood Canyon trailhead to the Redwood Mountain Grove. There is also a local road that branches off to the north towards two campgrounds in Sequoia National Forest. Beyond the map’s eastern edge the highway continues toward the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: On the map state highways are indicated with a yellow line outlined thinly in black. Spur roads off of highways have thinner yellow lines, also outlined thinly in black. A green shaded area on the map indicates the boundaries of a small portion of Kings Canyon National Park and terrain shading indicates that this area is mountainous. In addition there are several creeks and lakes indicated with thin blue lines or blue polygons. This description is written for someone traveling from west to east on California Highway 180.
Highway 180, which connects Fresno and Kings Canyon National Parks, enters the map from the west bearing generally east-southeast. When the highway fully enters the park there is an entrance station where entrance fees are collected. Shortly after the entrance station the highway goes through two long curves. Within the first mile from the station the Big Stump Sequoia Grove and Big Stump Picnic Area are west of the road.
About 1.75 miles east of the entrance station there is a junction with the Generals Highway, which connects Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The Generals Highway will be described below.
Kings Canyon Visitor Center and Grant Grove Village are about 1.5 miles north of the junction with Generals Highway. The Village area includes overnight lodging, a restaurant, market, post office, public telephone, and public WiFi. The Sunset, Azalea, and Crystal Springs Campgrounds are located near the village. Panoramic Point Road, which is open in summer and fall, heads east from the village 2.5 miles to the Panoramic Point Picnic Area. The Grant Tree Road heads west from the village area 0.75 miles to a trailhead for the General Grant Grove and General Grant Tree. Horseback riding is available at a stable along the way to the General Grant Tree. Highway 180 continues north from the Village and leaves the national park. North of the park the highway passes through the Sequoia National Forest toward Kings Canyon.
The Generals Highway generally bears east and reaches Redwood Mountain Overlook in 3 miles. Another half mile east is a junction involving 3 other roads. All of these roads are only open in the summer. At this point the Generals Highway serves as the northern boundary between the park and Sequoia National Forest.
Ten Mile Road is on the north side of the highway. Immediately north of the junction is a wide flat parking area. In winter this area is the Sequoia National Forest’s Quail Flat snowplay area. Burton Pass Road splits off of the northeast corner of Quail Flat and heads east into the National Forest. Tenmile Road bends and wiggles north to Hume Lake, passing Tenmile and Landslide Campgrounds in the National Forest. Hume Lake features a summer camp with a restaurant, a market, a public phone, and gasoline. On the south side of Generals Highway from Tenmile Road an unpaved road leads to Redwood Canyon trailhead into Redwood Mountain Grove. The road is only open in summer and can sometimes be rough. One mile east of the road junctions is the Kings Canyon Overlook as Generals Highway turns southeast toward Sequoia National Park and the Giant Forest.
DESCRIBING: A full color map.
SYNOPSIS: This map section shows the major features along the Mineral King Road, a remote, narrow, and winding mountain road that follows the East Fork Kaweah River to near its headwaters. Due to the primitiveness of the road, it is not advisable for RVs and vehicles towing trailers. There is no fuel available along the road, and in the winter the road is closed at mile 9.3, where it enters the national park. The road spurs off of the General Highway in Three Rivers, about two miles south of the Foothills Entrance Station, and heads east to dead end in Mineral King Valley after about 24.5 miles. Near the end of the road there are two campgrounds, Atwell Sequoia Grove, some trailheads, a public phone and a Ranger Station. There is also Silver City Resort, a private business that has overnight lodging, dining, and a public phone.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Generals Highway cuts across the upper left, northwest corner of the map. It is indicated with a yellow line outlined thinly in black. The Mineral King Road spurs off of Generals Highway and is indicated with a thinner yellow line, also outlined thinly in black. The road route is mostly east-west paralleling the route of the East Fork Kaweah River and is indicated as very windy. There is no gasoline available along the road and the eastern portion of the road is closed in the winter. RVs and vehicles with trailers are not recommended due to the windiness and sharp curves of the road. A green shaded area on the map indicates the area of Sequoia National Park. Terrain shading indicates that this area is very mountainous. In addition there are several creeks and rivers indicated with thin blue lines. This description is written for someone traveling from west to east on Mineral King Road.
The road begins outside the National Park as it spurs off of Generals Highway in Three Rivers, two miles south of the national park entrance station on the highway. At 9.3 miles the road enters the national park. Shortly inside the boundary there is a gate that is closed usually from late October to late May. About one mile east of the boundary gate the road passes Lookout Point, an entrance station that is no longer staffed.
From Lookout Point the road continues a winding narrow climb eastward. At approximately 11.3 miles there is another gate that is closed in the winter. There is a trailhead for Paradise Ridge Trail on the north side of the road and for the Atwell-Hockett Trail on the south side of the road at about the 19 mile mark. Atwell Mill Campground is also on the south side of the road at this location.
The road passes Silver City Resort at about mile 20.6. The resort is a private establishment that offers overnight accommodations, dining, and a public telephone. At around mile 23.2 the road first passes Cold Springs Campground on the south side of the road and then the Mineral King Ranger Station shortly thereafter, on the north side of the road. There is a public phone at the campground. The road reaches its end at mile 24.5, at a trailhead that features another public phone.