WINTER IN CALIFORNIA’S SEQUOIA COUNTRY
A Wonderland for the Whole Family
By Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith
This Big Blend Radio segment focuses on winter and spring activities and events in California’s Sequoia Country, with Sequoia Tourism Council representatives: Sintia C. Kawasaki-Yee – Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, Sandy Blankenship – Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Donnette Silva Carter – Tulare Chamber of Commerce, and Suzanne Bianco – Visit Visalia.
Like icing on a cake, the sugary white snow drapes down the rich cinnamon trunks of the giant sequoia trees. Icicles glisten into droplets as the sun bursts its way through the snow-laden greenery. Vast blue skies stretch wide above the deep snow-crusted canyons and towering mountains that give way to waterfalls in the spring. The waterways pose as mirrors, reflecting a tranquil winter wonderland of drifting cotton clouds, stunning ice formations, statuesque boulders and majestic trees. A raucous blue jay breaks the silence to offer a stellar display of his iridescent feathers. A herd of deer stop to listen with their heads up and ears alert, a proud scene in front of an impressive stand of sugar pines.
Snow play, tranquility, and awesome mountain beauty welcome you to a magical winter wonderland in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.
Feel the crisp crunch of snow and ice under your hiking boots, make like a snow hare and float across the white powder with snowshoes, or propel forth elegantly with cross-country skis. Whether there’s snow or just frosty dustings, one of the best ways to experience the natural wonders of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, is to get out of the car, and take a walk. There are hundreds of miles of nature, hiking and backpacking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails to follow, as well as wheelchair accessible trails. Throughout the season, there are also various ranger-guided nature programs on snowshoes. For the more skilled winter explorer, the parks offer overnight ski and snowshoe trips through the wilderness areas (with permits only).
The whiz of a snowball zipping past your cheek and landing with a deep thud on your foot. The thrill of lying in the snow and making your first snow angel. The sheer fun of getting together and making a snowman with a sugar pine nose. From snowshoeing to snowman building, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are a winter haven for families who are ready to put down the electronics and get outside and play together.
Spanning 461,901 acres, Kings Canyon National Park is made up of mostly wilderness, forests and spectacular canyons, with Kings Canyon being one of the deepest canyons in the United States. The park is known for being home to the General Grant Grove of giant sequoia trees, the famous General Grant Tree, and the Redwood Mountain Grove which is the largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world. One of the first parks in the country, the 404,064-acre Sequoia National Park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, especially the General Sherman Tree which is the largest living organism and tree (by volume) in the world. Both parks are located in central California, with Tulare County as their main gateway destination.
Don’t forget to pack your snow chains, and check the park website for snow conditions and any winter travel alerts. Be sure to visit www.NPS.gov/seki.