Squaw Valley - Dunlap is a rural foothill community 30 miles east of Fresno and located adjacent to the Sequoia National Forest. Originally settled as a cattle ranching area in the mid-1800's, it also served as the staging ground for the logging of the Giant Sequoia redwoods in the later 1800's. When the Sequoia National Park was created in 1890,our area became the overnight stopping point for visitors to the new national park. We continue to serve as the gateway to the parks to the present day.
Public outcry against the logging of the magnificent Sequoias led to the establishment of Sequoia National Park in 1890 (2nd only to Yellowstone) to forever preserve these living giants. Kings Canyon National Park was later added in 1940 to enlarge the protection area and to preserve the pristine wilderness areas of the Kings River drainage basin. Today, more than 200,000 acres of old growth redwood groves are under Federal protection. In total, the dually operated parks encompass nearly 900,000 acres of unique natural beauty and signature landmarks that are world renowned. Unlike the overcrowded Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks, visitors have the opportunity to experience the natural wonders of Kings Canyon & Sequoia in relative privacy. While the parks' two signature trees, General Sherman (the world's largest tree) and General Grant (the nation's Christmas tree) are the most visited attractions, there are many more unique and less traveled features to visit that easily accessed.
Our area is unique in its primitiveness. You will find very little in the way of commercial development. Both inside and out of the park, most of our land is much the same as it was in the 1800's.There is much to see and experience. Here are just a few of the sights and activities that are worth your attention...
1. Giant Sequoias... Always #1 on the list, but there is more here than just General Grant and General Sherman.There are many preserved groves of trees that you can observe in their undisturbed habitat... Big Stump Grove (with the Burnt Monarch), Converse Basin Grove (home of the Boole Tree, the Chicago Stump (remnant of the General Noble Tree), Kennedy Grove (with the Ishi Giant), Evans Grove complex, Redwood Mountain Grove ( the largest grove with more than 3,100 acres and 15,800 Sequoias), Giant Forest ( with 5 of the world's 10 largest trees and more than 8,000 others, Muir Grove, Atwell Mill Grove (highest elevation grove and 4 of the world's largest trees), and many others.
2. Kings River Canyon... one of the deepest canyons in the world (more than 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon), this spectacular drainage of the Middle and South Forks of the Kings River is truly breathtaking... an awesome example of the power of Mother Nature.
3. The Caverns... the parks are home to 2 of the most well known and largest cavern systems in the country, Boyden Cave and Crystal Cave. These magnificent marble caves have regularly scheduled tours. Less well known is that there are more than 240 other identified cave complexes with more being discovered every year. This is a true spelunker's paradise!
4. Road's End at Cedar Grove... end of the road at the bottom of Kings Canyon. An awesome spot to experience the power and beauty of the mighty Kings River and launching point for the many trails into the High Sierra backcountry (for those wanting to experience the true wilderness with serene high mountain fishing lakes and vistas that defy the imagination.
5. Rafting... the Kings River is home to some world class rafting and kayaking with guided trips for the adventurous and young at heart.
6. Hume Lake... constucted in 1908 and the world's 1st concrete multiple arch dam, Hume Lake supplied water for the logging flumes that transported cut lumber more than 50 miles to Sanger on the valley floor. Today, it is home to the Hume Lake Christian Camp and open to the public for fishing and recreation. A favorite spot is Sandy Cove Beach for swimming and kick back time in the summer.
7. Wilsonia Village and Grant Grove... Wilsonia Village is a 100 acre cabin area dating back to 1919 and on the National Historic Register. Grant Grove is the main commercial service area for the park.
8. Buck Rock Lookout...perched atop a huge granite dome at the 8,500 foot elevation, the Buck Rock Lookout was built in 1923 as part of an early warning detection system for forest fires.It offers a breathtaking view of the Great Western Divide and other high mountain peaks of the Sierra Nevadas.
9. Project Survival Cat Haven... located on Highway 180 in Dunlap, the Cat Haven is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and survival of large wild cats in a natural setting. This park is an absolute must visit! Unlike a zoo, here you will see wild cats in their natural environment... cats such as white tigers, Bengal tigers, jaguars, African lions, leopards, snow leopard, Pallas cat, cheetah, Canada and Siberian lynx, margay, jaguarundi, ocelot, and many more. Founder, Dale Anderson, and his dedicated staff are truly to be commended for their commitment to the preservation and protection of these magnificent animals. They are open daily except for Tuesday.
10. Hang Gliding & Paragliding... Dunlap's McKenzie Ridge is one of the world's premier flying sites for hang gliders and paragliders. We have hosted numerous competitions including the Nationals. Flights of over 100 miles have been logged here.Take a look up in the sky when you get here... you might see more than just hawks and eagles.