Kings Canyon National Park
- This article is about Kings Canyon National Park, USA.
Kings Canyon, Australia, see Kings Canyon
is a U.S. National
Park in the southern Sierra
Nevada, east of Fresno, California.
The park was established in 1940
and covers . It incorporated General Grant
National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant
is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service as one unit,
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
General Grant tree
Kings Canyon had been known to white settlers since the mid-1800s,
but it was not until John Muir
visited in 1873 that the canyon began receiving attention.
delighted at the canyon's similarity to Yosemite Valley, as it reinforced his theory regarding the origin
of both valleys, which, though competing with Josiah Whitney's then-accepted theory that
the spectacular mountain valleys were formed by earthquake action,
Muir's theory later proved correct: that both valleys were carved
by massive glaciers during the last Ice Age.
Kings Canyon's future was in doubt for nearly fifty years. Some
wanted to build a dam at the western end of the valley, while
others wanted to preserve it as a park. The debate was settled in
1965, when the valley, along with Tehipite Valley, was added to
General Grant National Park, established in 1890, and named for the
canyon of the Kings River
within its boundaries.
Dusy Basin in Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon National Park consists of two sections. The small, detached
Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park preserves
several groves of giant sequoia
including the General Grant Grove, with the famous General Grant
Tree, and the Redwood
Mountain Grove, which is the largest remaining natural Giant Sequoia grove in the world (covering and
with 15,800 sequoia trees over one foot (30 cm) in diameter at
The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of
of old-growth forests
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This section of the park
is mostly mixed conifer
forest, and is
readily accessible via paved highways.
The remainder of Kings Canyon National Park, which comprises over
90% of the total area of the park, is located to the east of
General Grant Grove and forms the headwaters of the South and
Middle Forks of the Kings
and the South Fork of the San Joaquin River
. Both the South and
Middle Forks of the Kings Rivers have extensive glacial canyons.
Oneportion of the South Fork canyon, known as the Kings Canyon,
gives the entire park its name. Kings Canyon is one of the deepest
canyons in the United States. The canyon was carved by glaciers out
. The Kings Canyon, and its
developed area, Cedar Grove
is the only portion of the main part ofthe park that is accessible
by motor vehicle. Both the Kings Canyon, and its Middle Fork
, are glacial
“Yosemites” – deeply incised glacial
with relatively flat floorsand towering granite cliffs
thousands of feet high. In addition, the canyon contains a cave
formation called Boyden Cave
east of the canyons are the high peaks of the Sierra Crest
culminating in high North Palisade, the highest point in the park.
classic high Sierra country: barren alpine
ridges and glacially scoured lake-filled basins. Usually snow free
only from late June until late October, the high country is
accessible only via foot and horse trails. The Sierran crest
forms the eastern boundary of the park, from Mount Goethe in the north, down to Junction Peak, at the boundary with Sequoia National
Several well-travelled passes cross the
crest into the park, including Bishop
, Taboose Pass
, Sawmill Pass
, and Kearsarge Pass
. All of these passes are above
Cloud Canyon, in the park's
- Hells Canyon in Oregon and Idaho is listed as the deepest.
- The elevation of this summit has been converted from the
Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29) elevation of to the
North American Vertical
Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) elevation of . National Geodetic Survey