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The Congress Trail in winter on showshoes

Don Bain's 360° Panoramas of

Kings Canyon, Sequoia and the Southern Sierra

Sierra National Forest, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forest, California

The region I have defined here runs from the south edge of Yosemite all the way to the end of the Sierra Nevada range at Tehachapi Pass. It contains the headwaters and canyons of the San Joaquin, Kings, Kaweah, and Kern Rivers, both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, and the sprawling Giant Sequoia National Monument. There is no road running the length of this region, exploring it involves repeatedly following a road into the mountains until it ends, then coming down all the way to the foothills or even the San Joaquin Valley floor, and going up another mountain route. No road crosses this central part of the Sierra.

The giant Sequoias were discovered soon after the California Gold Rush, and their fame spread around the world. Every museum seemed to need a cross-section of a giant tree showing hundreds or thousands of rings. Lumbermen also had plans, and extensive logging in the Sequoia groves began early. The largest grove of all, in Converse Basin, was logged down to the last tree, the Boole Tree, which still stands today.

Sequoia was one of the first national parks, a response to the imminent threat of logging by the Marxists of the Kaweah Colony. A road was built up the steep mountainside from the Kaweah River to Giant Forest and tourists arrived in horse-drawn buggies and automobiles. Kings Canyon National Park came much later because of the potential for hydroelectric development of its great canyons.

Most of the rivers in this region have been developed for hydroelectric power. The South Fork of the San Joaquin and the adjacent North Fork of the Kings have especially complex systems.

Mount Whitney, highest in the conterminous US, is on the eastern border of Sequoia National Park. Both the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail traverse the high country north-south, through an unbroken chain of wilderness areas.

Choose one of the localities from the Table of Contents below to see thumbnail images of the panoramas.
Table of Contents
San Joaquin River Canyons and Forests
San Joaquin River Gorge
San Joaquin River Canyon
Sierra Vista Scenic Byway
Big Creek
Shaver Lake
Huntington Lake
Kaiser Pass
Mono Hot Springs Road
Florence Lake Road
McKinley Grove
High Country Headwaters of the San Joaquin River
Thousand Island Lake
High Trail on San Joaquin Mountain
Garnet Lake, Lake Ediza, Shadow Lake
Devils Postpile
Reds Meadow
Canyons of the Kings River
Pine Flat Reservoir
Wild Kings River
Balch Camp and Black Rock
Kings Canyon Highway
Horseshoe Bend on the Kings River
Windy Cliffs in the Kings River Canyon
Lower Part of Kings Canyon
Middle Part of Kings Canyon
North Bank Road
Zumwalt Meadow
Roads End Area in Kings Canyon
South Fork Kings River Above Kings Canyon
Grant Grove and Converse Basin
Big Stump Grove
Grant Grove
Chicago Stump in Converse Basin
Converse Basin
Indian Basin Sequoia Grove
Hume Lake Road
The Generals Highway
Generals Highway Kings Canyon and Sequoia Monument
Buck Rock and Boulder Creek Road
Big Meadows and Horse Corral Meadow Road
Redwood Mountain Ridgetop
Sugar Bowl Sequoia Grove
Slopes of Redwood Canyon on Redwood Mountain
Redwood Creek in the Redwood Mountain Sequoia Grove
Generals Highway Sequoia
Muir Grove
Wuksachi and Lodgepole
Tokopah Valley
Giant Forest
General Sherman Tree
Congress Trail
Giant Forest
Round Meadow
Moro Rock
Crescent Meadow in Giant Forest
The Kaweah River
Three Rivers
Ash Mountain Area
Mineral King
Mineral King Road
Mineral King Valley
Sawtooth Pass Trail, Mineral King
Western Divide, Giant Sequoia National Monument
Mountain Home Grove
Balch County Park in the Mountain Home Grove
Dogwood Meadow in the Mountain Home Grove
Stagg Tree in the Alder Creek Grove
Sequoia Crest
Dome Rock and the Needes
Western Divide Highway
Trail of 100 Giants
California Hot Springs
Glennville-Greenhorn Summit Road
Kern River, Giant Sequoia National Monument
George Bush Tree
Freeman Creek Grove
Lloyd Meadow Road
Johnsondale Road
Kern River
Sherman Pass Road
Kern Plateau
Walker and Tehachapi Passes
Lower Kern River
South Fork of the Kern River
Walker Pass
Tehachapi Pass
Cesar Chavez Memorial

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