“It is a place so distractingly lovely that to visit it once is to long forever after for the renewal of the experience”.
Written by Joyce and Josef Muench’ two High Sierra enthusiasts and authors of , Along Sierra Trails Kings Canyon National Park, 1947
Eloquent words describing the amazing, untouched, rugged beauty of Kings Canyon.
One does not just see Kings Canyon, one experiences it. This remarkable monument gives a person a sense of going back in time, far back in time, to the beginning. The canyon shares the secrets of an age long ago; within its glacier-created peaks, rugged valley and river unfolding the world’s story one layer at a time.
Kings Canyon has, and continues to be, uninhabited for the most part by humans. In days gone by, The Native Americans discovered its richness during summer seasons, spending thousands of summers on the banks of the trout filled river. Kings Canyon continues to be a summer gathering place for eager travelers, but is returned to nature each fall to weather out the winter while ancient rock formations stand in watch over the valley until spring.
Kings Canyon was crowned with its current name, adapted from the Spanish name “Rio de los Santos Reyes” by Spanish Explorers in 1806.
The book, Place names of the Sierra Nevada by Peter Browning, reveals that it was customary of Spanish explorers to name places they discover. The translation of “Rio de los Santos” to English is “River of the Holy Kings.” As a child, I heard legends surrounding a lost Spanish treasure, hidden in the canyon walls. However, that story is for another time.
Vehicle access to the end of the Generals Highway, often referred to as “Roads End” located in Cedar Grove, is granted between mid-spring and mid-fall. The gateway located right past Princess Campground at the Hume Lake cut off will be open and closed depending on the season.
Nevertheless, the canyon’s sweeping vistas with peaks as high as 14,000 feet can always be viewed, no matter the time-of-year, from look out points such as Panoramic Point, within Grant Grove and Buck Rock Look Out in Hume, to name a couple.
Kings Canyon National Park was separately founded in 1940 as the “Kings River Canyon” and “Kings River,” it was not until 1953 that it was formally named Kings Canyon National Park. I do believe that its namesake “King” does it justice. It is the ‘king of canyons,’ reigning in royal splendor to be an inspiration to all who visit.
Tanya Wass, Local Enthusiast
Born in Yosemite, and raised by parents who worked in the National Park and Forest Service, Tanya Wass led a childhood steeped in adventure. After an early childhood in Grand Canyon NP, she finished out her child and teens years living in Grant Grove in our very own Kings Canyon National Park. She now resides in the Sierra Foothills just off of the 180 corridor in Squaw Valley, CA. To this day, she enjoys exploring the National Parks with her children and grandchildren, and sharing her passion for the outdoors and especially Kings Canyon, with all who know her.