These two parks (Sequoia and Kings Canyon) are home to giants: immense mountains, deep canyons, and the world’s largest trees. Located in the southern Sierra Nevada range, the parks’ elevations extend from 1,300 feet in the foothills to 14,491 feet at the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. Plunging in the opposite direction, far below the surface, are over 200 marble caverns, many with endemic cave fauna. This huge variation in the landscape contributes to the collage of habitats that create a rich assemblage of terrestrial, aquatic and subterranean ecosystems.
Although Congress created these two parks in the southern Sierra Nevada at different times, Sequoia and Kings Canyon share miles of boundary. Sequoia was America’s second national park designated in 1890. General Grant National Park, the forerunner of Kings Canyon, was the third, established in 1940.