The Most Amazing Place in America

March 19, 2010

The Coconino National Forest is a 1.856-million acre (7,511 km²) United States National Forest located in northern Arizona in the vicinity of Flagstaff. Originally established in 1898 as the “San Francisco Mountains National Forest Reserve”, the area was designated a U.S. National Forest in 1908 when the San Francisco Mountains National Forest Reserve was merged with lands from other surrounding forest reserves to create the Coconino National Forest.

Today, the Coconino National Forest contains diverse landscapes, including deserts, ponderosa pine forests, flatlands, mesas, alpine tundra, and ancient volcanic peaks. The forest surrounds the towns of Sedona and Flagstaff and borders four other national forests; the Kaibab National Forest to the west and northwest, thePrescott National Forest to the southwest, the Tonto National Forest to the south, and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to the southeast.

The forest contains all or parts of ten designated wilderness areas, including the Kachina Peaks Wilderness, which includes the summit of the San Francisco Peaks. The headquarters are in Flagstaff. There are local ranger district offices in Flagstaff, Happy Jack, and Sedona.

The Sequoia is one of nineteen National Forests in California. It takes its name from the giant sequoia, the world’s largest tree, which grows in more than 30 groves on the forest’s lower slopes. The Sequoia’s landscape is as spectacular as its trees. Soaring granite monoliths, glacier-torn canyons, roaring whitewater, and more await your discovery at the Sierra Nevada’s southern end. Elevations range from 1,000 feet in the foothill region to peaks over 12,000 feet in the rugged high country, providing visitors with some of the most spectacular views of mountainous landscape in the entire west. RECREATION The Sequoia National Forest offers a huge range of outdoor recreation activities. The trails offer hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The many developed campgrounds or dispersed areas provide the full range of camping experiences. The rivers, lakes and reservoirs offer boating, fishing, water-skiing, swimming, whitewater rafting, and kayaking. In the winter, the high elevations provide downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ATTRACTIONS Hikers, off-highway vehicle users, and horseback riders have over 1,500 miles of maintained roads, 1000 miles of abandoned roads, and 850 miles of trails in the forest available for their use and enjoyment. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which stretches 2,600 miles from Canada to Mexico, crosses the Sequoia National Forest for approximately 78 miles. The three National Recreation Trails in the forest are: Summit, Cannell Meadow, and Jackass Creek. Other points of interest on the forest include: Hume Lake, Chicago Stump, Cannell Meadow Station, Kern River, Kings River, Dome Rock and Needles. The Sequoia contains portions of six designated wilderness areas: Kiavah, Monarch, South Sierra, Dome Land, Jennie Lakes and Golden Trout. Specific winter activity areas accessible by highway are: Hume Lake Ranger District at Cherry Gap and Quail Flat; Tule River Ranger District in the vicinity of Quaking Aspen Campground; and Greenhorn Ranger District at Greenhorn Summit HISTORY The Sequoia National Forest received its name for the 39 groves of giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum, located within its boundaries. In 1847 a German botanist named Stephen Endlicher named the coastal redwood trees Sequoia sempervirens. He presumably was honoring the Cherokee Chief Sequoya or Sikwayi who invented a phonetic alphabet of 86 symbols for the Cherokee language. In 1854 a French botanist, Joseph Decaisne, applied the name to the giant sequoias, which are closely related to the coastal redwoods.

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