Sequoia National Park is a massive park that contains more than four hundred thousand acres of land. This park was established back in September of 1890. At the time, the goal was to preserve the forested terrain. Now, the park wants to protect the giant sequoias, while giving people a place to relax and have adventures when they are visiting.
Your time here will have you seeing large canyon areas, unique caves, massive mountains, and so much more.
History of Sequoia National Park
The entire Sequoia National Park is where the Monache Native Americans lived in the past. While the Monache had homes mainly down by the Kaweah River in the foothills area, some of them lived within the forest. You can learn more about the Monache residents by looking at the numerous pictographs that are scattered around the park.
By the time the Europeans reached this part of the country, smallpox had killed practically all the Monache people living there. The very first European settler was Hale Tharp. He discovered a massive sequoia log on the ground and chose to use that as his home. While he lived off the land, he also loved the huge forest. His experiences can still be seen since Tharp’s Log has been preserved for future generations.
Tharp also spent years trying to preserve the massive trees within this forest. However, people were looking at the wood from the forest as a way to earn lots of money. It wasn’t long though before those same people realized the wood from the sequoia trees splintered easier than any other type of wood.
That meant that Tharp finally achieved his goal when the National Park Service established this area as a national park. The Sequoia National Park has grown larger over the years, as people have wanted to protect sections around what was the original area.
Location of Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is located in the center of the state of California. It is approximately eighty miles to the east of Fresno. You can easily reach this park in the same amount of time, whether you are traveling from Los Angeles or San Diego.
Best Way to Reach Sequoia National Park
There are a few ways to reach Sequoia National Park from Los Angeles. However, the best way to reach Sequoia National Park is to take the scenic route. Simply take California Highway 198 and go through both Visalia and Three Rivers. This road will take you all the way to the Ash Mountain entrance.
If you are traveling from Sacramento, and other areas of Northern California, you should use California Highway 180 towards the east. This will take you directly to the Foothills entrance.
You must use extreme caution if you plan to visit Sequoia National Park during the winter months. Snow normally covers the roads. According to California state law, you must have chains with you when you are traveling in this area.
Best Time to Visit Sequoia National Park
This park may be open all year long, but you will love visiting more during some parts of the year than others. As mentioned above, the winter months bring snow and ice. Therefore, you will find that the spring, summer, and fall are the best options for a visit.
The spring brings wildflowers, while the summer brings rushing waterfalls. The fall season will bring colorful leaves. Each season has its own crowds, but the summer months do seem to bring the most people to this park.
Interesting and Unusual Facts About Sequoia National Park
Almost every part of the country has a few interesting and unusual facts for people to learn about and Sequoia National Park is no exception.
- This was the very first park that was established to protect an actual living organism. Sequoias only grow in this part of the country, so preventing to preserve this area would result in their demise.
- This was the second national park to be established. It was only beat out by Yellowstone National Park.
- The sequoia trees in this park can grow to between one hundred eighty and two hundred fifty feet tall.
- Those same trees can live for more than three thousand years.
- The most famous tree in this park is the General Sherman Tree. It is also the largest tree in the entire world.
- The tallest mountain in the lower forty-eight states can be found in Sequoia National Park. Mount Whitney can be found on the eastern side of the park and it looms over fourteen thousand feet in the air. While you can hike to the summit of this mountain, you can also experience its extraordinary beauty and height from the Interagency Visitor Center. This visitor center can be found on Highway 395.
- There are hundreds of miles of trails for you to hike along. However, the most popular trail is the John Muir Trail. This trail is more than two hundred miles long and will take you directly to Yosemite Valley.
- While the sequoia trees are the major draw of this park, they are not the only incredible sights you will see. You must also visit the caves and rock formations.
- There are more than twelve hundred different species of plants within this park.
- There are also many different animal species within this park. Many of those species are on the endangered or threatened species list.
- Some of the more common animals you will see include coyotes, beavers, fox, cougars, roadrunners, black bears, sheep, wolverines, badgers, and owls.
- This park was designated as the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO back in 1976.
The entire Sequoia National Park area is fascinating, and this information will help you as you begin to plan your days of exploration there.