Plants and Animals

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' elevation gradient of over 13,000 feet (nearly 4,000 m) from the Sierra Nevada foothills to the high peaks provides a landscape of varied habitats for plants, animals, and other organisms. These parks are both recognized as International Biosphere Reserves for their important role in conserving biodiversity (a rich assemblage of organisms).

Kaweah monkeyflower (Mimulus norrisii)

More than 1300 native plant species live in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, including the Kaweah monkeyflower.

Alpine chipmunk. Photo by: Leslie Chow.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon are home to nearly 300 native animal species, including the alpine chipmunk. Photo: Leslie Chow.

Group of giant sequoias in Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park
Giant Sequoias

Learn more about these magnificent trees, and the important role of fire in giant sequoia ecosystems.

Large brown-colored black bear
Black Bears

Learn more about bears in these parks and elsewhere, and find out how to properly store your food to protect bears.

Mountain yellow-legged frog
Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs

Park staff are restoring populations of endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs to high-elevation lakes.


Dynamic Environment and Ecosystems

Change is a constant in natural landscapes, and it occurs at both large and small scales in these parks. Climate and fire are drivers of large-scale change, while the life cycle of a butterfly or a rockfall from a cliff are examples of change over a shorter time span or a smaller space. Change in these parks may be part of long-term natural cycles, or driven by human impacts such as air pollution, altered fire regimes, invasive non-native species, and climate change. Learn more about the diverse ecosystems and environment of these parks, and processes of change that affect them.


Air, Earth, Fire, and Water

  • View of hazy air from Sequoia National Park.
    Air Quality

    What's in the air? Learn more about the parks' air quality issues.

  • View of mountain peaks and meadow with stream in foreground

    Learn about the soundscapes of these parks and experience natural sounds from low to high elevations via a story map.

  • Prescribed burn in Giant Forest, June 2014. Photo: Tony Caprio.
    Wildland Fire

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are fire-adapted ecosystems. Photo of 2014 prescribed burn: Tony Caprio.

  • Cave Specialist views a park cave formation.
    Caves and Karst Systems

    These parks protect more than 200 caves, containing rare minerals, Pleistocene-era fossils, and unique animals.

  • Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.
    Rivers, Snow, and Hydrology

    Rivers connect parks with the larger region, carrying snowmelt water to park ecosystems and California communities.

  • View of a steep rugged mountain with patches of ice and snow that are part of a glacier.

    Darwin Glacier, Kings Canyon National Park, 2004. Glaciers across the Sierra Nevada have shrunk an average of 55% in the past century.

  • Large lake with rocky shores and far end appears to disappear into clouds

    Park lakes are habitat for aquatic organisms and food sources for some birds, mammals, and snakes.

  • Goddard Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park. Photo by: Bob Meadows.
    Mountains and Canyons

    Learn about the forces that build and shape mountains. Goddard Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park. Photo: Bob Meadows.

Last updated: August 31, 2023

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47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271


559 565-3341

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