King Range (California)

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King Range
King Range (California) is located in California
King Range (California)
Location of the King Range in California[1]
Highest point
Peak King Peak
Elevation 4,091 ft (1,247 m) [2]
Coordinates 40°09′25″N 124°07′27″W / 40.15694°N 124.12417°W / 40.15694; -124.12417[2]
Country United States
State California
County Humboldt County
Range coordinates 40°09′54″N 124°08′03″W / 40.1651°N 124.1342°W / 40.1651; -124.1342Coordinates: 40°09′54″N 124°08′03″W / 40.1651°N 124.1342°W / 40.1651; -124.1342
Topo map USGS Shubrick Peak

The King Range is a mountain range located on the California North Coast entirely within Humboldt County. Much of the area is protected by the King Range National Conservation Area, managed by the Bureau of Land Management as a unit of the National Landscape Conservation System. Part of the Northern Coast Ranges, the King Range runs parallel to the coast, and its western slopes fall steeply to the Pacific Ocean. Due to its rugged terrain, engineers assigned the task of building State Route 1 in 1936 and 1937 were inclined to force the road inward toward the town of Leggett when they reached the King Range at Westport. Subsequently, the inaccessible coastal wilderness, known as the Lost Coast, remains the longest undeveloped stretch of coast in California. The King Range is adjacent to the Mendocino Triple Junction, where three tectonic plates (the Pacific Plate, the North American Plate, and the Juan de Fuca Plate) meet, and the area experiences frequent earthquakes.

Most mountains and ridges in the range are low to moderate in elevation. King Peak at 4,091 feet (1,247 m) is the highest mountain in the range.[2] Snow falls above 3,281 feet (1,000 m) a couple times per year.

The range is part of the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion, and largely forested, with climax-dominant trees including coast Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii ssp. menziesii), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), and tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus). The rivers and streams that drain the range, include the Mattole River. Four federally endangered species occur in the range: the coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, steelhead and [northern spotted owl]].[3] Other wildlife includes brown pelican, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, Roosevelt elk, osprey, otter, gray fox and black bear.[4]

Historically, the King Range was home to the Native American Mattole and Sinkyone peoples. In the 19th century, the region was opened to commercial logging, fishing, ranching, and tanning. In 1970, the U.S. Congress designated 60,000 acres (240 km2) of the range as the King Range National Conservation Area[3] which is primarily located in coastal southwestern Humboldt County and extends into the extreme northwest corner of Mendocino County. U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the law designating the rocks and islands just offshore as the California Coast National Monument in 2000.[4] In 2006 the U.S. Congress designated 42,585 acres (172.34 km2) of the area as the King Range Wilderness.[3][4] The California Coastal trail goes from end to end of the range.[4]


  1. ^ "King Range". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "King Peak". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Environmental Charges Filed For Marijuana Grow On Ecological Reserve". United States Attorneys Office Northern District of California News (U.S. Department of Justice). 16 October 2012. p. 1. Retrieved 8 December 2012. The King Range National Conservation Area is often referred to as the 'crown jewel' of land protected by BLM and is part of a larger system of national conservation areas, monuments, and reserves protecting nationally-significant landscapes throughout the western United States. 
  4. ^ a b c d "King Range Wilderness". University of Montana. Retrieved 8 December 2012.