Natural Features & Ecosystems

a mountainous u-shaped valley with scattered snow and trees
Glaciers helped shape the distinctive landforms of the high alpine country in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the dynamic landscape evolves from geologic processes working over millennia to sculpt granite, marble, and other forms of rock. Here in the parks, canyons carved by rivers and glaciers tower above rugged peaks and miles of underground caverns. Found throughout the park are thousands of lakes and ponds and miles of rivers and streams; together they form important watersheds in the park. These watersheds are a valuable source of water not only to park resources but also to the inhabitants of California’s Central Valley.

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.

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

Learn about Lakes

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

Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.


Water quality and quantity are both critical to Sierra Nevada ecosystem health.

A sheer cliff face with visible folded layers


Located in the Sierra Nevada, the parks are nestled among sheer cliffs and deep canyons, and include the tallest peak in the contiguous US.

Last updated: September 23, 2020

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47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers , CA 93271


559 565-3341

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