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This article is about Kings Canyon National Park, USA. For Kings Canyon, Australia, see Kings Canyon marker.

Kings Canyon National Park is a U.S. National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, Californiamarker. The park was established in 1940 and covers . It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove.

The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Parkmarker; 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 first visited in 1873 that the canyon began receiving attention. Muir was delighted at the canyon's similarity to Yosemite Valleymarker, 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 General Grant Grovemarker section of Kings Canyon National Park preserves several groves of giant sequoia including the General Grant Grove, with the famous General Grant Treemarker, 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 their bases). The park's Giant Sequoia forests are part of of old-growth forests shared by 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 River 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 of granite. 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 twin,Tehipite Valley, are glacial “Yosemites” – deeply incised glacial gorges with relatively flat floorsand towering granite cliffs thousands of feet high. In addition, the canyon contains a cave formation called Boyden Cave.

To the east of the canyons are the high peaks of the Sierra Crest culminating in high North Palisademarker, the highest point in the park. This is 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 Peakmarker, at the boundary with Sequoia National Parkmarker. Several well-travelled passes cross the crest into the park, including Bishop Pass, Taboose Pass, Sawmill Pass, and Kearsarge Pass. All of these passes are above elevation.

See also

Cloud Canyon, in the park's backcountry


  1. Hells Canyon in Oregon and Idaho is listed as the deepest.
  2. The elevation of this summit has been converted from the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29) elevation of to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) elevation of . National Geodetic Survey

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