California is the most populous state in the United States and the third most extensive by area. Located on the western coast of the U. S, California is bordered by the other U. S. states of Oregon and Arizona and shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California. Los Angeles is Californias most populous city, and the second largest after New York City. The Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nations second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, California has the nations most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The Central Valley, an agricultural area, dominates the states center. What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its war for independence.
The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, the California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom. If it were a country, California would be the 6th largest economy in the world, fifty-eight percent of the states economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of the states economy, the story of Calafia is recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián, written as a sequel to Amadis de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. The kingdom of Queen Calafia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts. This conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, shortened forms of the states name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA.
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their organization with bands, villages. Trade and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups, the first European effort to explore the coast as far north as the Russian River was a Spanish sailing expedition, led by Portuguese captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542. Some 37 years English explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed a portion of the California coast in 1579. Spanish traders made unintended visits with the Manila galleons on their trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument is located near Mammoth Mountain in eastern California. The national monument protects Devils Postpile, a rock formation of columnar basalt. In addition, the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail merge into one trail as they pass through the monument, excluding a small developed area containing the monument headquarters, visitor center and a campground, the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The monument was once part of Yosemite National Park, but discovery of gold in 1905 near Mammoth Lakes prompted a change that left the Postpile on adjacent public land. Later, a proposal to build a dam called for blasting the Postpile into the river. Influential Californians, including John Muir, persuaded the government to stop the demolition and, in 1911. The flora and fauna at Devils Postpile are typical of the Sierra Nevada, dark-eyed juncos and white-crowned sparrows are common in the summer. The name Devils Postpile refers to a cliff of columnar basalt.
Radiometric dating indicates the formation was created by a flow at some time less than 100,000 years ago. Estimates of the thickness range from 400 feet to 600 feet. The lava that now makes up the Postpile was near the bottom of this mass, because of its great thickness, much of the mass of pooled lava cooled slowly and evenly, which is why the columns are so long and so symmetrical. Columnar jointing occurs when certain types of contract while cooling. A glacier removed much of this mass of rock and left a surface on top of the columns with very noticeable glacial striations. The Postpiles columns average 2 feet in diameter, the largest being 3.5 feet, together they look like tall posts stacked in a pile, hence the features name. If the lava had cooled perfectly evenly, all of the columns would be expected to be hexagonal, but some of the columns have different polygonal cross-sections due to variations in cooling. A survey of 400 of the Postpiles columns found that 44. 5% were 6-sided,37. 5% 5-sided,9. 5% 4-sided,8.
0% 7-sided, compared with other examples of columnar jointing, the Postpile has more hexagonal columns. Another feature that places the Postpile in a category is the lack of horizontal jointing. Several stones from the Devils Postpile can be seen at the entrance to the United States Geological Survey headquarters lot in Reston, although the basaltic columns are impressive, they are not unique
National Park Service
It was created on August 25,1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. As of 2014, the NPS employs 21,651 employees who oversee 417 units, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial in 2016. National parks and national monuments in the United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior and they wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service, Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS.
On March 3,1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933, the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasnt until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Roosevelt agreed and issued two Executive orders to make it happen. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service, the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery, Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States national parks, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States.
In 1872, there was no government to manage it. Yosemite National Park began as a park, the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership, at first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. Later, the agency was given authority over other protected areas, the National Park System includes all properties managed by the National Park Service
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore is a 71, 028-acre park preserve located on the Point Reyes Peninsula in Marin County, California. As a national seashore, it is maintained by the US National Park Service as an important nature preserve, some existing agricultural uses are allowed to continue within the park. All of the beaches were listed as the cleanest in the state in 2010. The fact that the peninsula is on a different tectonic plate than the east shore of Tomales Bay produces a difference in soils and therefore to some extent a noticeable difference in vegetation. The even smaller town of Olema, about 3 miles south of Point Reyes Station, serves as the gateway to the Seashore and its visitor center, the peninsula includes wild coastal beaches and headlands and uplands. The Seashore administers the parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation area, such as the Olema Valley, the northernmost part of the peninsula is maintained as a reserve for Tule Elk, which are readily seen there. The preserve is very rich in raptors and shorebirds.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse attracts whale-watchers looking for the Gray Whale migrating south in mid-January, the Point Reyes Lifeboat Station is a National Historic Landmark. It is the last remaining example of a rail launched lifeboat station that was common on the Pacific coast and this encompasses 5,965 acres along the coast of Drakes Bay. Kule Loklo, a recreated Coast Miwok village, is a walk from the visitor center. The Point Reyes National Seashore attracts 2.5 million visitors annually, hostelling International USA maintains a 45-bed youth hostel at the Seashore. Point Reyes National Seashore Association, formed in 1964, collaborates with the Seashore on maintenance, like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems. A large shellfish farm raising Japanese oysters, Crassostrea gigas, was located in Drakes Estero until, under court order, Court appeals to keep the operation in place were dropped in December,2014. The farm was purchased by the National Park Service in 1972, a federal law enacted in 2009 authorized, but did not require, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to renew the permit.
The NPS and conservation groups viewed the farm as an inappropriate and environmentally-insensitive use of the estero, the farms supporters argued that it was not ecologically harmful and was important to the local economy. Salazar visited the farm the previous week and phoned the farms owner to give him the news. The oyster farm closure was challenged in U. S. District Court on January 25,2013, the challenge was rejected by a federal court judge, who ruled that the law gave Salazar unfettered discretion to approve or deny a renewal of the permit. The California Coastal Commission voted on February 7,2013 to unanimously approve cease and desist, an attempt to have the appeals court rehear the case was rejected on January 14,2014 and a petition to the United States Supreme Court was denied on June 30,2014
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service on Mount Tamalpais near the Pacific coast, in southwestern Marin County, California. It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is 12 miles north of San Francisco and it protects 554 acres, of which 240 acres are old growth coast redwood forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during droughty seasons, the monument is cool and moist year round with average daytime temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is heavy during the winter and summers are almost completely dry with the exception of fog drip caused by the fog passing through the trees.
Annual precipitation in the ranges from 39.4 inches in the lower valley to 47.2 inches higher up in the mountain slopes. The redwoods grow on brown humus-rich loam which may be gravelly and this soil has been assigned to the Centissima series, which is always found on sloping ground. It is well drained, moderately deep, and slightly to moderately acidic and it has developed from a mélange in the Franciscan Formation. More open areas of the park have shallow gravelly loam of the Barnabe series, one hundred and fifty million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey, California. Before the logging industry came to California, there were an estimated 2 million acres of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a strip along the coast. By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down, just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Redwood Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.
He and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, purchased 611 acres of land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them. In 1907, a company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek. When Kent objected to the plan, the company threatened to use eminent domain. Kent sidestepped the water companys plot by donating 295 acres of the redwood forest to the federal government, on January 9,1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. President Roosevelt agreed, writing back, MY DEAR MR, responding to some photographs of Muir Woods that Mr. Kent had sent him, Those are awfully good photos. Kent and Muir had become friends over shared views of wilderness preservation, in December 1928, the Kent Memorial was erected at the Kent Tree in Fern Canyon
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a state park in the U. S. state of California, located in Santa Cruz County, about 36 km northwest of Santa Cruz. The park contains almost all of the Waddell Creek watershed, which was formed by the uplift of its rim. Big Basin is Californias oldest State Park, established in 1902 and its original 3,800 acres have been increased over the years to over 18,000 acres. It is part of the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion and is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco. It contains 10,800 acres of old-growth forest as well as recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, chaparral, elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 600 m. The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, the park has over 130 km of trails. Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park, the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to Waddell Beach and the adjacent Theodore J.
Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh. The park has a number of waterfalls, a wide variety of environments, many animals and abundant bird life – including Stellers jays, herons. Contrary to popular belief that people did not inhabit the old growth forests, archaeological evidence has been found, although sporadically. Ohlone tribes that lived on watercoures which begin in Big Basin Redwoods State Park were the Quiroste, Achistaca and Sayante. In October 1769 the Portola expedition discovered the redwoods of southern Santa Cruz County, although many in the party had been ill with scurvy, they gorged themselves on berries and quickly recovered. This miraculous recovery, as it seemed at the time, inspired the name given to the valley, although he did not fight Spanish soldiers until early 1793, Charquin had harbored fugitive neophytes since November 1791. Charquin and his followers retreated into the country behind Point Ano Nuevo in late 1791, lands that were equidistant from the missions San Francisco, Santa Clara.
From there he invited dissatisfied neophytes to join him, on January 6,1793, Mission San Francisco servant Diego Olbera baptized a 22-year-old woman on the verge of death ‘at the Quiroste village in the Mountains’. Olbera was probably in the vicinity to convince Charquin and his followers to return to the Mission, but the success of Charquin goaded the soldiers into action. No known diary stemming from any successful expedition against Charquin exists, yet indirect evidence exist that one did take place, and that it occurred in late April and early May 1793. An entry in the Mission San Francisco Libro de Difuntos on May 3,1793 recorded the death of two children of families in the mountain Quiroste Village of Chipletac. Charquin seems to have captured at that time
Redwood National and State Parks
The Redwood National and State Parks are old-growth temperate rainforests located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. Comprising Redwood National Park and Californias Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks, the combined RNSP contain 139,000 acres. Located entirely within Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, the four parks, protect 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests and these trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, grassland prairie, cultural resources, portions of rivers and other streams. In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast, the northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees for booming development in San Francisco, after many decades of unrestricted clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began.
Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90% of the redwood trees had been logged. The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened species such as the tidewater goby, Chinook salmon, northern spotted owl. Modern day native groups such as the Yurok, Karok and Wiyot all have ties to the region. Archaeological study shows they arrived in the area as far back as 3,000 years ago, an 1852 census determined that the Yurok were the most numerous, with 55 villages and an estimated population of 2,500. They used the abundant redwood, which with its grain was easily split into planks, as a building material for boats, houses. For buildings, the planks would be erected side by side in a trench, with the upper portions bound with leather strapping. Redwood boards were used to form a sloping roof. Previous to Jedediah Smith in 1828, no other explorer of European descent is known to have investigated the inland region away from the immediate coast. The discovery of gold along the Trinity River in 1850 led to a secondary rush in California.
This brought miners into the area and many stayed on at the coast after failing to strike it rich and this quickly led to conflicts wherein native peoples were placed under great strain, if not forcibly removed or massacred. By 1895, only one third of the Yurok in one group of villages remained, by 1919, the miners logged redwoods for building, when this minor gold rush ended, some of them turned again to logging, cutting down the giant redwood trees. Representative John E. Raker, of California, became the first politician to introduce legislation for the creation of a national park
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is a state park in California, United States, located 40 miles east of San Diego in the Laguna Mountains of the Peninsular Ranges. The parks 26,000 acres feature pine and oak forests, with meadows, the park includes 6, 512-foot Cuyamaca Peak, the second-highest point in San Diego County. Wildlife in the area includes mountain lions, which have known to attack humans. Numerous other species of mammals, birds and amphibians are known to reside within the park, the park was closed for several months due to massive damage incurred in the 2003 Cedar Fire. Although much of the forest was burned, the park has since been reopened, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is located in the Peninsular Range, which extends from the San Jacinto Mountains north of the park, southward to the tip of Baja California. Metamorphosed sediments such as schist and quartzite are abundant in the Cuyamacas, most of the rocks now seen in the park are plutonic, either the granodiorite comprising Stonewall Peak, or the gabbro comprising Cuyamaca Peak.
As these bedrocks weather, they become the parent material of the coarse, gabbro weathers to a darker red soil than granodiorite or other quartz-rich rock. Gold is an element that appears around granite formations because gold forms during cooling. Gold commonly occurs in association with quartz, either as pure gold or as an ore, in the Cuyamaca area, gold is associated with the metasediment called Julian Schist. At mines in this area, including the Stonewall, veins of gold were followed into the bedrock, most streams in the park have small amounts of gold, since it is constantly being removed from the quartz exposures by weathering. Cuyamacas average elevation of nearly 5,000 feet enables many conifers and broadleaf trees to exist, the conifers include the white fir, incense cedar, Coulter pine, Jeffrey pine, sugar pine and ponderosa pine. The parks smaller shrubs, ranging from 1–4 feet, include California buckwheat, Wrights buckwheat, chaparral honeysuckle, California rose, creeping sage, cougars are present but rarely seen.
About 200 species of birds have been documented in the park and summer residents include the black-headed grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, ash-throated flycatcher, western wood pewee, house wren, several warblers, and the lesser goldfinch. Generally cougars are quite elusive, but for a ten-year span Cuyamaca Rancho State Park experienced a rash of incidents between visitors and cougars, including one human fatality, Park users are warned not to hike, horseback ride or bike alone. Cuyamaca Ranchos first reported cougar incident took place in June 1988, a European couple with a small child was chased by two cougars in the parks Green Valley Campground. A game warden investigated and killed the two male cats, in September 1993 a cougar chased two horseback riders for.5 miles, prompting park officials to close Cuyamaca Rancho for two weeks and install gated barriers around the campgrounds and parking areas. 11 days after the park reopened, however, a different cougar nipped a girl playing with her family in the campground, the 41-pound juvenile female cat was located and shot. 1994 saw two separate incidents in which a cougar acted aggressively toward a party of three humans, officials located and shot both animals
Fort Point, San Francisco
Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification located at the southern side of the Golden Gate at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This fort was completed just before the American Civil War by the United States Army, the fort is now protected as Fort Point National Historic Site, a United States National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service as a unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 1769 Spain occupied the San Francisco area and by 1776 had established the areas first European settlement, with a mission and a presidio. To protect against encroachment by the British and Russians, Spain fortified the high white cliff at the narrowest part of the bays entrance, the Castillo de San Joaquin, built in 1794, was an adobe structure housing nine to thirteen cannons. Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, gaining control of the region and the fort, following the United States victory in 1848, California was annexed by the U. S. and became a state in 1850. The gold rush of 1849 had caused rapid settlement of the area, military officials soon recommended a series of fortifications to secure San Francisco Bay.
Coastal defenses were built at Alcatraz Island, Fort Mason, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on Fort Point in 1853. Plans specified that the lowest tier of artillery be as close as possible to water level so cannonballs could ricochet across the surface to hit enemy ships at the water-line. Workers blasted the 90-foot cliff down to 15 feet above sea level, the structure featured seven-foot-thick walls and multi-tiered casemated construction typical of Third System forts. It was sited to defend the maximum amount of harbor area, while there were more than 30 such forts on the East Coast, Fort Point was the only one on the West Coast. In 1854 Inspector General Joseph K. Mansfield declared this point as the key to the whole Pacific Coast. a crew of 200, many unemployed miners, labored for eight years on the fort. In 1861, with war looming, the army mounted the forts first cannon, colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Department of the Pacific, prepared Bay Area defenses and ordered in the first troops to the fort.
Kentucky-born Johnston resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army, throughout the Civil War, artillerymen at Fort Point stood guard for an enemy that never came. Troops soon moved out of Fort Point, and it was never again occupied by the army. The fort was important enough to receive protection from the elements. In 1869 a granite seawall was completed, the following year, some of the forts cannon were moved to Battery East on the bluffs nearby, where they were more protected. In 1882 Fort Point was officially named Fort Winfield Scott after the hero from the war against Mexico. The name never caught on and was applied to an artillery post at the Presidio
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Overall administration is by the National Park Service, coordinating with state, county and university agencies. The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area preserves one of the best examples of a Mediterranean climate ecosystem in the world and it protects one of the highest densities of archaeological resources in any mountain range in the world. The Santa Monica Mountains NRA contains 156,671 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains of the Transverse Ranges between the Pacific Ocean and inland valleys and its southeastern slopes are part of the headwaters of the Los Angeles River. In size the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban park in the United States. Besides geologic forces, people who inhabited the area in the past have been ones to affect the land, there were different reasons for people to come into the area. Some came to live and others to work the land, the first groups to live in the mountains were the Native American tribes called the Chumash and the Tongva who lived here for thousands of years.
Then came the Spanish Explorers and Homesteaders from other areas of the country, the Homesteaders brought new ideas and cultures that shaped the landscape and mindset of the area, and California overall. Up to this day, people continue to live, places such as Paramount Ranch, Solstice Canyon, and Rancho Sierra Vista/ Satwiwa still have that history that has been left behind by people in the past. The past stories from people are discovered through photographs, letters. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area strives to make sure the collections, the first area in the Santa Monica Mountains set aside for public use was Griffith Park which was donated to the city of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896. During the first decade of the century, Frederick H. Rindge made several attempts to create a forest reserve in the Santa Monica Mountains. These reserves were precursors to national forests, in 1902 California’s State Mining Bureau examined the area being considered for the establishment of a forest reserve.
The resulting report was sent to Washington where the proposal for a reserve was denied, in 1907 an application was submitted to the Secretary of the Interior requesting that at least 70,000 acres in the mountains be designated a forest reserve. This time state mineralogist Lewis E. Aubury opposed the venture and he wrote the L. A. C. and endeavor to ascertain his views on the subject, and further protest against the creation of this proposed reserve”. Days the U. S. Limestone deposits were discovered in the mountains behind Pacific Palisades in 1925 which led to a battle between wealthy home owners of the area and land developers. The quarry site was in Traylor Canyon, three miles inland from the sea, between Santa Ynez and Temescal Canyons. Alphonzo Bell, Sr. was the real estate developer behind the scheme while local opposition was led by Sylvia Morrison. After much criticism of his plan, Bell offered a new proposal
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres and it incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias. The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park and they were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Humans have inhabited the area for thousands of years, the first Native Americans in the area were Paiute peoples, who moved into the region from their ancestral home east of Mono Lake. The Paiute Nation people used deer and other animals for food. They created trade routes that extended down the slope of the Sierra into the Owens Valley. Kings Canyon had been known to white settlers since the mid-19th century, United States Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes fought to create the Kings Canyon National Park. He hired Ansel Adams to photograph and document this among other parks, the bill combined the General Grant Grove with the backcountry beyond Zumwalt Meadow.
Kings Canyons 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 the park, Kings Canyon National Park consists of two sections. The parks Giant Sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and this section of the park is mostly mixed conifer forest, and is readily accessible via paved highways. Both the South and Middle Forks of the Kings Rivers have extensive glacial canyons, one portion of the South Fork canyon, known as the Kings Canyon, gives the entire park its name. Kings Canyon, with a depth of 8,200 feet, 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 of the park that is accessible by motor vehicle. Both the Kings Canyon and its Middle Fork twin, Tehipite Valley, are deeply incised, U-shaped glacial gorges with relatively flat floors and towering granite cliffs thousands of feet high.
In addition, the canyon has several systems, one of which is Boyden Cave. To the east of the canyons are the peaks of the Sierra Crest, which attain an elevation of 14,248 feet NAVD88 at the summit of North Palisade. This is classic high Sierra country, barren ridges and glacially scoured lake-filled basins