|About the Site|
|Sequoia National Park|
Sequoia National Park also contains a large section of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The highest peaks of these mountains are contained in the eastern portion of the park. Below some granite cliffs, such as Watchtower Peak, which rise east of the Lodgepole area can be seen. This area, containing the Tokopah Valley, was scoured by glaciers in earlier times.
The picture below shows the foothills of the Sierras in the lower, western portion of the park.
Some dramatic pictures of the Sierra range can be seen below in the section covering Moro Rock.
Roads in the Park
The "Generals Highway" connects the sequoia groves which contain the General Grant and General Sherman trees in Kings Canyon and Sequoia parks respectively. The road enters the park as Highway 198 at the Ash Mountain entrance and runs more or less north through a number of sequoia groves and heavily forested areas, providing a number of vistas of the western Sierra foothills. Below, the highway passes through the Giant Forest.
In places the road snakes through the trees like a tunnel, passing only a few feet from the gigantic trunks of sequoias.
Some portions of the highway are kept clear even during winter, although the portion of the road between Sequoia and Kings Canyon may sometimes be closed even in late spring by snow. In the picture below the road may be seen below the ridge in the backgound during such a late season snowstorm.
This road has been part of much of the park's history. The portion leading to the Giant Forest was first completed in 1903, and the first cars entered the park in 1913.
Vistas and Views
There are a number of places in the western portion of the park which provide lovely views of the Sierra foothills. The view below looks across the valley of the Kaweah River
Some additional views of the west slope of the park can be seen below.
Another view of snowy slopes is shown here.
Middle elevations in the park are heavily forested and very wet. Although the climate is relatively mild, a snow base of at least 10 feet is quite common, and snow may fall in elevations as low as 6000 feet as late as May, as in the pictures below.
At this time of year, although snowstorms may occur and the snowpack is still fairly thick, the temperature is not that low and creeks and streams are not frozen.
Much of Sequoia National Park consists of roadless wilderness area, and the adventurous visitor can hike to a point within the park which is further from a road than any other place in the 48 states. Much credit for preservation of the wild places and resistance to overdevelopment can be given to John Roberts White, the park's second (and fourth) superintendent, who along with other conservation minded friends of the park have prevented plans for golf courses, pony rides, movie theaters, dance halls, hay rides, cable lifts, and other threats to the natural beauty of the area.
One of the most interesting places in the park, and one which affords some of the park's most spectacular views, is Moro Rock. This solid piece of granite reaches 6725 feet. There are 4000 steps etched into the spine of the rock as well as a railing, and many people are able to climb the quarter mile and 300 vertical feet to the summit of the rock, pictured below. They are rewarded by views of the Sierra foothills and the San Joaquin Valley to the west and the high Sierras to the east.
Some other views of Moro Rock and the surrounding area are shown below. On the left is the area near the rock.
Another view of the rock is shown on here.
Of course, it is the view from the rock which attracts most people. The picture below shows the view back toward the base of the rock from its top. A small section of the stairs which lead up the rock can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the picture.
A view toward the foothills looking toward the southwest is shown below. This is the Kaweah River valley area; the Ash Mountain entrance to the park is found in this area.
The view toward the east is probably the most rewarding. The picture below, shot from the top of Moro Rock, shows the "Great Western Divide" or Kaweah Range section of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This ridge, which contains serveral peaks close to 14,00 feet, actually hides a higher ridge to the east which contains Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. The Sierra Nevada Range itself is the longest single continuous mountain range in America.
Information about Sequoia National Park has been drawn from personal experience, data available in the park itself, and a number of other sources, including:
- Martin, Paul, & Scheimeister, Phil. California Wilderness Sisters. National Geographic Traveler, 11(3), 1994.
- National Geographic's Guide to the National Parks of the United States. National Geographic Society, 1992.
- Our National Parks: America's Spectacular Wilderness Heritage. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Association, 1989.
- Palmer, John J. Sequoia and Kings Canyon: The Continuing Story. Las Vegas, NV: KC Publications, 1990.
- Sequoia and King's Canyon: A Guide to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California. Washington, D.C.: Division of Publications, National Park Service, 1992.
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks Magazine. American Park Network, 1993 & 1995.
- The Sierra Club Guides to the National Parks: California, Hawaii, & America Samoa. New York: Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 1996.
- Tweed, William C. Sequoia and Kings Canyon: The Story Behind the Scenery. Las Vegas, NV: KC Publications, 1980.
- Wilkins, Thurman. John Muir: Apostle of Nature. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
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