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
Castle Rock State Park (California)
Castle Rock State Park is a state park of California, USA, located along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It embraces coast redwood, Douglas fir, and madrone forest, most of which has left in its wild. Steep canyons are sprinkled with rock formations that are a popular rock climbing area. The forest here is lush and mossy, crisscrossed by 32 miles of hiking trails. These trails are part of a more extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys with Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park. There are two campgrounds within the park for overnight backpacking. The 5, 242-acre park was established in 1968, the park is located on California State Route 35 just 2.5 miles southeast of the junction with State Route 9. It is located almost entirely in Santa Cruz County, Castle Rock State Park is suitable for many activities. There are two campgrounds for overnight hikers, many trails for day-hikes, rock climbing routes. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or in the campgrounds, under Governor Browns current budget proposal this park was going to close.
This would mean that visitors couldnt enter the park, and rangers would no longer staff the park, California Assembly Bill 42 was signed into law on October 5,2011. This bill allows state parks to enter into operating agreements with non-profit organizations, the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation has been formed to help support Portola and Castle Rock State Parks. On March 14,2012 the park was removed from the park closure list for a one-year reprieve based on a $250,000 donation by the Sempervirens Fund. List of California state parks Castle Rock State Park
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of 2013 the U. S. Census Bureau estimated Santa Cruzs population at 62,864, Santa Cruz is known for its moderate climate, the natural beauty of its coastline, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings. The present-day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791, including Mission Santa Cruz, following the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was incorporated in 1866 and chartered in April 1876, important early industries included lumber, gunpowder and agriculture. Late in the 19th century, Santa Cruz established itself as a resort community. Prior to the arrival of Spanish soldiers and colonists in the late 18th century, the diverse and numerous tribes of this region were earlier referred to by the Spanish as Coastanoan. The term Ohlone has been used in place of Costanoan since the 1970s by some descendant groups and by most ethnographers and writers of popular literature.
Awaswa was one of the eight Coastanoan languages and made up a tribe of Native Americas living in Western Santa Cruz County, the Awaswas tribe was made up of no more than one thousand people and their language is now extinct. The only remnants of their language are three local place names, Aptos and Zayante, and the name of a native shellfish - abalone. The majority of Ohlone or Coastanoan tribes had no written language, within fifty years of the Spaniards arrival, the Ohlone or Coastanoan culture and way of life had virtually disappeared in the Bay area. The party forded the river and camped nearby on October 17,1769, franciscan missionary Juan Crespi, traveling with the expedition, noted in his diary that, This river was named San Lorenzo. Next morning, the set out again, and Crespi noted that. Santa Cruz was the mission to be founded in California. The creek, lost the name, and is today as Laurel Creek because it parallels Laurel Street. It is the feeder of Neary Lagoon. One of only three towns established in California during the Spanish colonial period, the Villa was located across the San Lorenzo River.
Its original main street is now North Branciforte Avenue, Villa de Branciforte lost its civic status, and in 1905 the area was annexed into the City of Santa Cruz. In the 1820s, newly independent Mexico assumed control of the area, following the secularization of the Mission in 1834, the community that had grown up around the Mission was renamed Pueblo de Figueroa
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a state park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep. With 600,000 acres that includes one-fifth of San Diego County, ABDSP is the largest state park in California and, after New Yorks Adirondack Park, the second largest in the contiguous United States. The park occupies eastern San Diego County and reaches into Imperial and Riverside counties, ABDSP is around a two-hour drive northeast from San Diego, southeast from Riverside or Irvine, and south from Palm Springs. The park is an anchor in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve, Park information and maps, interpretive events and displays and listening devices for the hearing impaired are all available in the Visitor Center. ABDSP has Wi-Fi access to the Internet in various sections of the park, many visitors approach ABDSP from the east-Coachella Valley side via California County Route S22 and S78.
These highways climb from the coast to 2,400 ft above sea level, the great bowl of the surrounding desert is surrounded by mountains, with the Vallecito Mountains to the south and the highest Santa Rosa Mountains to the north. They are in the wilderness area, without paved roads. In January of 2017 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was named the best state park in California, the habitats of ABDSP are primarily within the Colorado Desert ecosystem of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion. The higher extreme northern and eastern sections in the Peninsular Ranges are in the California montane chaparral, the park features and desert washes, rock formations and colorful badlands, vast arid landscapes, and dramatic mountains. The bajadas are predominantly creosote bush-bur sage with creosote bush and the palo verde-cactus shrub ecosystems with the palo verde tree, cacti, in the washes, Colorado/Sonoran microphylla woodlands can be found. These woodlands include such plants as tree, velvet mesquite. ABDSP has natural springs and oases, with the only native palm.
Seasonal wildflower displays can be stunning in any plant community association throughout the park, the high-country to the north and east has closed-cone pine forests and oak woodlands. The oases are prolific with all types of fauna, especially for bird-watching, in the reptile class, desert iguanas and the red diamond rattlesnakes can be seen — with caution. ===Desert bighorn sheep=== Some areas of ABDSP are habitat for the Peninsular bighorn sheep, few park visitors see them, and the sheep are justly wary. A patient few observers each year see and count this endangered species to study the population, the expanses of ABDSPs eroded badlands provide a different view into the regions long-vanished tropical past. The inland of southeastern California was not always a desert, the study of the fossilized remains of ancient life, is the key to understanding this prehistoric world
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
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a United States National Park in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument. The source of heat for volcanism in the Lassen area is subduction off the Northern California coast of the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate, the area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and churning hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found, the park is accessible via State Routes SR89 and SR44. SR89 passes north-south through the park, beginning at SR36 to the south, SR89 passes immediately adjacent the base of Lassen Peak. A large lodge with concession facilities was located near the south-west entrance, a new, full-service visitor center was constructed in the same location, and opened to the public in 2008.
Near the old location was located Lassen Ski Area. Native Americans have inhabited the area long before white settlers first saw Lassen. The natives knew that the peak was full of fire and water, White immigrants in the mid-19th century used Lassen Peak as a landmark on their trek to the fertile Sacramento Valley. One of the guides to these immigrants was a Danish blacksmith named Peter Lassen, Lassen Peak was named after him. Nobles Emigrant Trail was cut through the area and passed Cinder Cone. Inconsistent newspaper accounts reported by witnesses from 1850 to 1851 described seeing fire thrown to a terrible height, as late as 1859, a witness reported seeing fire in the sky from a distance, attributing it to an eruption. Early geologists and volcanologists who studied the Cinder Cone concluded the last eruption occurred between 1675 and 1700, after the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, the United States Geological Survey began reassessing the potential risk of other active volcanic areas in the Cascade Range.
Further study of Cinder Cone estimated the last eruption occurred between 1630 and 1670, recent tree-ring analysis has placed the date at 1666. The Lassen area was first protected by being designated as the Lassen Peak Forest Preserve, Lassen Peak and Cinder Cone were declared as U. S. National Monuments in May 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Starting in May 1914 and lasting until 1921, a series of minor to major eruptions occurred on Lassen and these events created a new crater, and released lava and a great deal of ash. Fortunately, because of warnings, no one was killed, because of the eruptive activity, which continued through 1917, and the areas stark volcanic beauty, Lassen Peak, Cinder Cone and the area surrounding were declared a National Park on August 9,1916. The 29-mile Main Park Road was constructed between 1925 and 1931, just 10 years after Lassen Peak erupted, near Lassen Peak the road reaches 8,512 feet, making it the highest road in the Cascade Mountains
Crystal Cove State Park
Crystal Cove State Park is a state park of California, United States, encompassing 3.2 miles of Pacific coastline, inland chaparral canyons, and the Crystal Cove Historic District of beach houses. The park is located in Newport Beach, Crystal Cove is a stretch of coastal cliffs and a beachfront cove situated between the Pacific Coast Highway and the Pacific Ocean just north of Laguna Beach. The 3, 936-acre park was established in 1979, the entire park hosts a total of 3 miles of beaches and tide pools, a 1,400 acre marine Conservation Area as well as underwater park,400 acres of bluffs, and 2,400 acres of canyons. Up until the arrival of the Spanish Missionaries, the region was a series of villages built around two different natural springs. His son, James Irvine II, inherited the ranch and began to expand the production of the land by leasing it to agriculturally diverse farmers, and formed The Irvine Company in 1894. Being a favorite spot to James Irvine II, he allowed his friends and these cottages were developed by the Irvine Company and the location was called the Crystal Cove Community.
In 1927, the Irvine Co. leased a portion of the area to a businessman who sold propane to coastal farmers, trailers replaced tent camping in the 1940s and in 1954, it was renamed El Morro. About 290 mobile home trailers on the beachfront and inland area were homes for some families up to four generations. The area was renovated to include a visitors center for tourist information, dining areas along the beachfront, cultural center, museums. The Crystal Cove Historic District, a National Register of Historic Places site, the house from the Bette Midler movie Beaches is located in Crystal Cove. One of the fun traditions at the restaurant in the Crystal Cove Historic District has its roots dating back to the 1940s. That historic moment is re-created every day at 5,00 PM and 7,00 PM, by the Beachcomber Restaurant to signal the start of cocktail hour. Crystal Cove has long been a source of inspiration for plein air painters, early plein air painters documented Orange County’s coastline, and Crystal Cove, in particular, with their paintings.
In homage to the movement, one of the cottages at Crystal Cove is called “Painter’s Cottage. ”The area continues to attract landscape painters, Crystal Cove is used by mountain bikers inland and scuba and skin divers underwater. The beach is popular with swimmers and surfers, Lifeguard services at Crystal Cove are provided by the California State Parks Lifeguard Service. Lifeguards patrol the beach year-round while lifeguard towers are staffed roughly Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, the offshore waters are designated as a Marine Conservation area as well as a 1, 140-acre underwater park. Visitors can explore tidepools and sandy coves, in addition to the beach, the park has 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland inland of the coast highway, which is popular for hiking and horseback riding. The park has a total of 17 different hiking trails branch off of 3 centralized routes
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
Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park is a United States national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of the U. S. state of California, in the Pacific Ocean. Although the islands are close to the shore of densely populated Southern California, the park covers 249,561 acres of which 79,019 acres are owned by the federal government. The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 76% of Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park is home to a wide variety of significant natural and cultural resources. It was designated a U. S. National Monument on April 26,1938, and it was promoted to a National Park on March 5,1980. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters six nautical miles around Channel Islands National Park, the Channel Islands were originally discovered in 1542 by the explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. In 1938 the Santa Barbara and Anacapa islands were designated a national monument, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands were combined with the monument in 1980 to form modern-day Channel Islands National Park.
On January 28,1969 an oil rig belonging to Union Oil experienced a blow-out 6 miles off the coast of California, the resulting spill was, at the time, the largest oil spill to occur in United States territorial waters. Following the spill, tides carried the oil onto the beaches of the Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Rosa and this spill had a large impact on native wildlife of the Channel Islands. Much of the seabird population was affected, with over an estimated 3,600 avians killed. Meanwhile, seals and other sea life died and washed ashore on both the islands and the mainland and this spill is the third largest oil spill in the United States, only surpassed by the Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez oil spills. It resulted in a 34,000 acres expansion of the Department of the Interior buffer zone in the channel, the islands within the park extend along the Southern California coast from Point Conception near Santa Barbara to San Pedro, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Park headquarters and the Robert J.
Lagomarsino Visitor Center are located in the city of Ventura, only three mammals are endemic to the islands, one of which is the deer mouse which is known to carry the sin nombre hantavirus. The spotted skunk and Channel Islands fox are endemic, the island fence lizard is endemic to the Channel Islands. One hundred and forty-five of these species are unique to the islands, Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the endangered blue whale, the largest animal on earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 10,000 years, the average annual visitation to the parks mainland visitor center was around 300,000 in the period from 2007 to 2016, with 364,807 visiting in 2016. The visitor center is located in the Ventura Harbor Village, the visitor center contains several exhibits that provide information regarding all five islands, native vegetation, marine life and cultural history. Also, visitors can enjoy a film, free of charge. The visitor center is open day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 8, 30AM–5
Lava Beds National Monument
Lava Beds National Monument is located in northeastern California, in Siskiyou and Modoc counties. The Monument lies on the flank of the Medicine Lake Volcano. The region in and around Lava Beds Monument lies at the junction of the Sierra-Klamath, the Monument was established as a United States National Monument on November 21,1925, and includes more than 46,000 acres. Lava Beds National Monument has numerous lava tube caves, with twenty-five having marked entrances and developed trails for public access, the monument offers trails through the high Great Basin xeric shrubland desert landscape and the volcanic field. 1872–1873, this area was the site of the Modoc War, the area of Captain Jacks Stronghold was named in his honor. Volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape punctuated by these many landforms of volcanism. Cinder cones are formed when magma is under great pressure and it is released in a fountain of lava, blown into the air from a central vent.
The lava cools as it falls, forming cinders that pile up around the vent, when the pressure has been relieved, the rest of the lava flows from the base of the cone. Cinder cones typically only erupt once, the cinder cones of Hippo Butte, Three Sisters, Juniper Butte, and Crescent Butte are all older than the Mammoth and Modoc Crater flows, more than 30, 000–40,000 years old. Eagle Nest Butte and Bearpaw Butte are 114,000 years old, Schonchin Butte cinder cone and the andesitic flow from its base were formed around 62,000 years ago. The flow that formed Valentine Cave erupted 10,850 years ago, an eruption that formed The Castles is younger than the Mammoth Crater flows. Even younger were eruptions from Fleener Chimneys, such as the Devils Homestead flow,10,500 years ago, about 1,110 years ago, plus or minus 60 years, the Callahan flow was produced by an eruption from Cinder Butte. Though Cinder Butte is just outside the boundary of the monument, spatter cones are built out of thicker lava. The lava is thrown out of the vent and builds, layer by layer, Fleener Chimneys and Black Crater are examples of spatter cones.
Roughly ninety percent of the lava in the Lava Beds Monument is basaltic, there are primarily two kinds of basaltic lava flows, pahoehoe and aa. Pahoehoe is smooth, often ropy and is the most common type of lava in Lava Beds, aa is formed when pahoehoe cools and loses some of its gases. Aa is rough and jagged, an excellent example is the Devils Homestead lava flow, most of the rest of the lava in the monument is andesitic. Pumice, a type of lava, is found covering the monument
Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park is a state park of California in the United States, centered on Lake Tahoes Emerald Bay, a National Natural Landmark. Park features include Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States, the architect was Leonard Palme, who was hired by his aunt Laura Knight to design and build Vikingsholm. The park contains the island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island. The park is accessible by California State Route 89 near the southwest shore of the lake, Emerald Bay is one of Lake Tahoes most photographed and popular locations. In 1969 Emerald Bay was recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the federal Department of the Interior, the 1, 533-acre park was established in 1953. It is located south of D. L. Bliss State Park. Summer temperatures at the range from the low 40 °F at night to mid-70 °F during the day. During harsh winters the bay freezes over, the bay is about 1.7 miles in length, and about two-thirds of a mile wide at its widest point
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25,1890, the park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park, the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. They were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Parks General Grant Grove, the parks giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement. Many park visitors enter Sequoia National Park through its entrance near the town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain at 1,700 ft elevation.
The last California grizzly was killed in this park in 1922, the California Black Oak is a key transition species between the chaparral and higher elevation conifer forest. At higher elevations in the front country, between 5,500 and 9,000 feet in elevation, the landscape becomes montane forest-dominated coniferous belt, found here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey and lodgepole pine trees, as well as abundant white and red fir. Found here too are the giant sequoia trees, the most massive living single-stem trees on earth, between the trees and summer snowmelts sometimes fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows. In this region, visitors often see deer, Douglas squirrels, and American black bears. There are plans to reintroduce the bighorn sheep to this park, the vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness, no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the parks boundaries. 84 percent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated wilderness and is only by foot or by horseback. Sequoias backcountry offers a vast expanse of high-alpine wonders, covering the highest-elevation region of the High Sierra, the backcountry includes Mount Whitney on the eastern border of the park, accessible from the Giant Forest via the High Sierra Trail.
On the floor of canyon, at least two days hike from the nearest road, is the Kern Canyon hot spring, a popular resting point for weary backpackers. From the floor of Kern Canyon, the trail ascends again over 8,000 ft to the summit of Mount Whitney, in the summertime, Native Americans would travel over the high mountain passes to trade with tribes to the East. By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, smallpox had spread to the region. The first European settler to homestead in the area was Hale Tharp, Tharp allowed his cattle to graze the meadow, but at the same time had a respect for the grandeur of the forest and led early battles against logging in the area