About Kings Canyon
King's Canyon was cut deep into the granite of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by the Kings River and by ancient glaciers. Forests of tall evergreens grow in the canyon bottom and up the mountainsides. Undergrowth is sparse due to arid summers. Numerous creeks and rivers join the Kings river from steep side canyons. Cliffs lining the canyon are jagged with many outcroppings, rather than the sheer vertical faces of Yosemite. In the mountains above are found alpine meadows, brooks and granite peaks. Below the National Park, Kings Canyon is a V-shaped gorge. Near the park boundary, it widens to a U-shaped canyon, indicating its glacial origins. California Highway 180 passes several miles into the park, and trails continue from there.
King's Canyon was set apart as a National Park on March 4, 1940, covering 461,845 acres of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is immediately adjoining Sequoia National Park which lies to the south and the two parks are jointly administered.
California Route 180 is the only entrance to the park, coming from Fresno to the west. It makes an impressive climb from the flat grasslands up onto the forested mountains. The road actually enters a separate section of Kings National Park first, then at a junction, Highway 180 turns to the north toward Kings Canyon, while the General's Highway turns south toward Sequoia National Park. From the junctions, Highway 180 leaves the park boundaries, and passes through Giant Sequoia National Monument, making descending into the gorge cut by the King's River. It then reenters the main part of the Park, high in the canyon.
Most of the park is accessible only by trails which can be found entering the park in all directions. The park is covered with small lakes, and peaks in the 10,000 to 13,000 foot range.