Second only to Yellowstone, the oldest national park in the United States is the Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia National Park. These are two parks which share a border, and are jointly administered. The biggest Giant Sequoia and the largest living tree at the time was the General Sherman Tree, which was within the boudaries of the park.
Since September 25, 1890, the enormous Sequoia trees have been protected with the establishment of the Sequoia National Park. There are three different species of Sequoia trees, and California has two of them. The Sierra Redwood is the kind of Sequoia you will find in Kings Canyon National Park, but if you visit Avenue of the Giants you will get to see the coastal redwood, which are supposed to be even larger than the Giant Sequoia in the Sierra.
Within the boundaries of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is Mt Whitney, which is the highest mountain in the United States outside of Mt. McKinley in Alaska. Since 1940, Kings Canyon has been a part of the Sequoia National Park, to make the final park a massive 863, 700 acres.
Soon after the biggest Giant Sequoia was documented in 1862, large amounts of visitors began to pour into the park. Ulysses Grant was president at the time, and he signed a bill designating Yellowstone and the wildernes around the grove of giant Sequoia trees a national park, making Yellowstone the first National Park in the world, with Kings Canyon National Park being the second.
If you want to see a Giant Sequoia for yourself, it's wise to do a little planning beforehand. The drive to the entrance Grant Grove off of Highway 180 takes about 2 hours from Highway 198, so you will want to start driving early in the day to give yourself enough time to enjoy the park and get back to your lodging.
When you do finally get to see how large this tree is, you might understand the awe it inspired over 100 years ago. The General Sherman tree is over a hundred feet around, and weighs well over 1000 tons. This is an ideal spot for a California vacation; not only does this park have enormous Sequoia Trees, but all around there are other natural features that just add to the scenic landscape.
The south has a sparkling river which flows through a canyon. In the east, the snow-covered summit of Mt Kaweah looms over 13,000 ft above the landscape. Mt Whitney is not visible from here, but it is just out of sight, since there are so many other high peaks in the area; so you will be surprised when you find out it's the biggest mountain in the lower 48 states.
If you\'re planning to spend a weekend here as part of your California vacation, you can start in one of three lodges, only one of which is open year-round, and that is the Lodge In Kings Canyon. If you want to have an authentic experience, you can stay in the Mesa Verde Citrus plantation. This historic house is now set on one and a half acres, instead of the 20 it used to have. Since 1996, visitors to Kings Canyon National Parks have been enjoying the rooms at this cozy bed and breakfast, which is an original settlers house that was built in 1880 from river rock.
If you want to witness the wonder of the majestic Sequoia Trees up close, be sure to add Kings Canyon National Park to your California vacation itinerary; this is one of the most scenic drives in the whole state.