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National Parks

 

Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks present the most breath-taking views in the world. They are home to Giant Sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree and General Grant Tree. Hiking, fishing, camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, snow skiing, and sledding are just a few of the many activities available in the park. Visit the park’s website http://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htmfor more information.Sequoia National Park has plenty to see especially in Giant Forest. A few favorite sites throughout Giant Forest consist of Giant Forest Museum; Open since December 2001, this museum serves as a starting point for visitors to Giant Forest Grove. Crescent Meadow; a small meadow surrounded by Giant Sequoias. An hour long trail loops around the meadow for spectacular views and wildlife sightings. The General Sherman Tree; is the largest living tree in the world! It is approximately 2100 years old, 274.9 feet in height, 102.6 feet at ground level circumference and 52,500 cubic feet of wood. Morro Rock; take the ¼ mile trail from the parking lot then up 400 steps to the top of the 6,725 foot high granite Morro Rock. Although the dome itself is impressive, the sights from the top are sure to amaze. Tunnel Log; drive through this fallen sequoia at Crescent Meadow Road. Tharps Log; the fallen sequoia was once a summer home inhabited by Hale Tharp. This cabin is the oldest pioneer cabin remaining in the park. Other interesting points to visit in Giant Forest include Sequoia Grove, Congress Trail and Big Trees Trail. Among other things, Giant Forest is home to four of the five largest Sequoia Trees.Crystal Cave – Two miles south of the Giant Forest Museum you will be able to explore Crystal Cave. The 3 ½ mile hike from the parking lot to the cave is steep and tough but is worth the effort as the trail is adorned with picturesque waterfalls, not to mention the magnificent icicle-like stalactites and mounds of stalagmites that will be seen in the underground cave. Tours run from mid-May through late October. Tickets must be purchased at least 1 ½ hours in advance at the Lodgepole or Foothills Visitor Centers. No tickets are sold at the cave.

A short drive leads to Kings Canyon National Park then to Grants Grove which is home to The General Grant Tree also known as “The Nation’s Christmas Tree”. The General Grant Tree is America’s only living National Shrine and one of the largest trees on Earth. Cedar Grove; treats visitors to a lush place of tumbling waterfalls, meadows and miles of quiet trails. Panoramic Point; has remarkable sights of the Sequoia National Forest and Hume Lake from a 7,520 foot high point. Kings Canyon contains many other points of interest including the Gamlin Cabin, the Fallen Monarch Treeand more incredible Giant Sequoias.

Visalia now offers a shuttle service for those who want to visit the parks. The shuttle runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and has downtown departure locations at the Visalia Transit Center and Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Reservations are required. For information or to make a reservation visit http://www.ci.visalia.ca.us/depts/transit/sequoia_shuttle/

Out And About

In and around Visalia there are exciting things to explore. If you love the outdoors, you are in luck. Boating and fishing can be found at Kaweah Lake, white water rafting on the Kaweah River, hiking, horseback riding, biking, rock climbing and helicopter tours are great options for the outdoor enthusiast.

Fun Everywhere

If you prefer a more relaxing setting, there is canoeing, kayaking, wildlife watching, and picnicking. Winter as well brings a variety of snow sports to those seeking adventure. Whatever your preference is and everything you are looking for can be found locally. Make sure to bring your camera along as you won’t want to miss the countless opportunities to photograph our beautiful sights.