Updated date:

Hospital Rock: Native American History Within Sequoia National Park

California is a state full of natural wonders, including many state and national parks. See interesting sites in San Francisco and beyond.

Hospital Rock area in Sequoia National Park

Hospital Rock area in Sequoia National Park

When visiting Sequoia National Park, the grandeur of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range comes to mind. Here, one can find the magnificent giant sequoias and surrounding forested areas the region is famous for. Hospital Rock and the fact that Southwest Native Americans camped there for possibly as long as one thousand years or more might be overlooked by many.

Where Is Hospital Rock?

The site is near Foothills Visitor Center Park Headquarters of Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California. Three Rivers lies at an elevation of 857 feet (261 meters) above sea level. The entrance at this point is from the west at approximately the midpoint of Sequoia National Park.

Traveling the zig-zagging meandering roads through Sequoia National Park and the adjacent Kings Canyon National Park to the north, be sure that whatever vehicle a person is driving is in tip-top shape. Elevation changes will put the vehicle gears and brakes to good use!

The elevation at Hospital Rock is around 3,000 feet above sea level. My traveling companion and I were coming down from much higher elevations when we decided to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch here. A functional parking area and quite a few picnic tables are there on-site, and the setting is beautiful and historical as well.

Great picnic spot

Great picnic spot

How Did It Get Its Name?

Where did Hospital Rock get its name? Supposedly, James Everton, a bear trapper, got accidentally shot when working around one of his traps. He used that area to recover.

It was an area that Native Americans had utilized over the centuries before the white man made his way west and discovered the pretty setting that provided shelter, food, and a nearby water source from the Kaweah River.

Primarily utilized in the winter months, the natives that called this area home would have moved higher up into the mountains during the scorching summertime heat.

Mortar holes in the rock made by Native Americans grinding acorns

Mortar holes in the rock made by Native Americans grinding acorns

Stone Pestle and Mortar Holes

There is a sign at Hospital Rock that portrays a Native American woman identified as "Jane Whaley, a Wobonuch (one of the Monache tribes) using a boulder pestle in a bedrock mortar."

Additional information on the sign states the following:

With a stone pestle weighing five to ten pounds, Indian women pounded and ground whole acorns into meal in these mortar holes. Most western tribes depended on one primary source of food. In this area, it was acorns. Before acorn meal can be safely eaten, it must be leached to get rid of poisonous tannin. Hot water was poured over the acorn meal in a leaf-lined sandpit until the meal no longer tasted bitter.

One can easily see from the photo there were many such holes in the rocks of this area. Just think of the countless hours the women would have spent sitting cross-legged, grinding those acorns into a ready meal for baking bread. Those of us who purchase our flour, cornmeal, and the like have it easy compared to native peoples who had no such conveniences but instead lived off of what the land provided.

Native American Tribes From This Area

Those who have left behind evidence of their residence at Hospital Rock include the following tribes:

  • Western Mono (Monache)
  • Tubatulabal
  • and Paiutes (all of which are Shoshonean)
  • plus the occasional visit from the Yokuts.

When the white man was moving west and settling nearby in the mid-1800s, they brought unwelcome diseases. The Native Americans had no natural defenses against diseases such as smallpox, scarlet fever, or measles, and because of this, many of them died. It was not always warfare and massacres that killed the Native Americans, although that certainly played a part.

Beautiful, vivid red pictographs (also known as rock paintings) created by resident Native Americans are on view here. Whatever materials they used in painting these rocks have stood the test of time! What story do they tell us of the past?

Civilian Conservation Corps

During the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of people got temporary employment by working for a government agency called the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It was all a part of President Roosevelt's New Deal, and many improvements occurred on publicly owned land.

At Hospital Rock, a trail was built to a nearby waterfall on the Kaweah River, making it possible for more people to see this beautiful area. This trail is a small example of the type of work executed by the CCC.

People enjoy rock climbing in this area. My friend and I were satisfied viewing the sites and did not participate in any rock climbing that day.

The video below shows the fun kayakers can have along this Hospital Rock portion of the Kaweah River. It certainly looks like it would make for a wet, wild, and exciting time!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 03, 2017:

Hi Susie,

Wishing you a wonderful new year ahead also! Those trees and other sights in Sequoia and the adjacent Kings Canyon are magnificent. It is worth the effort to visit them in person if at all possible. It sounds as though you are surrounded by natural beauty where you live. So nice!

Yes, I am certain that this Hospital Rock area was a very special place for the native Americans.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on January 02, 2017:

Hospital Rock must have great spiritual meaning to the ancients and for those who believe the legends to be true. I have always wanted to see Sequoia National Park but I just have never cared to travel that far to see huge beautiful trees. I have big timber all around me but nothings so grand.

I enjoyed your tour, Peggy.

Happy New Year!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2013:

Thanks Au fait,

Appreciate the support. Glad that you liked this especially since you have seen these areas for yourself. :)

C E Clark from North Texas on September 09, 2013:

This is indeed a National Park well worth visiting. I've been there and the Sequoia trees are magnificent. Gave you 5 more stars, voted up and BAUI, pinned on my 'Travel' board, and will share!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 13, 2012:

Hello joanveronica,

So glad that you enjoyed this hub regarding the Hospital

Rock area within Yosemite National Park. It is interesting learning about the native Indian presence from times past. Appreciate your comment, votes and the share.

Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on June 13, 2012:

Loved this Hub. Voted up, etc. also shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2011:

Hello texasgirlfw,

Hope that you get to see Hospital Rock and all of Sequoia National Park someday. Thanks for the visit and comment.

texasgirlfw on August 01, 2011:

Beautiful pictures. I want to go there.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2011:

Hi Naomi's Banner,

Thanks for the votes and your comment on this Hospital Rock area within Sequoia National Park. Appreciate it!

Naomi's Banner from United States on July 30, 2011:

Beautiful pictures and awesome videos! I vote this Hub up and awesome!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2011:

Hi Prasetio,

Sequoia National Park is a beauty. Glad that I could introduce you to it via this hub. Thanks for your comment.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on July 29, 2011:

I had never heard "Sequoia National Park" before. But from your description and the pictures above, I believe this place was so amazing to visit. Thank you very much for always sharing the beautiful place. Only Peggy can do this...well done, my friend. Vote it up! have a nice weekend. Cheers...


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 27, 2011:

Hi Ethel,

I think that National Parks always offer so much in the way of natural beauty and interest and Sequoia National Park was no exception to the rule. Thanks for your visit and comment.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on July 27, 2011:

As usual a fabulous Hub Peggy. You have visited some great places.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 23, 2011:

Hi Cheryl,

That Hospital Rock area of Sequoia National Park is beautiful. Glad that you could see it this way but hope that you get to enjoy it in person someday. You would love it! Thanks for your comment.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on July 22, 2011:

Great hub and interesting history of the Hospital Rock. Lots of beautiful photos and videos. Congrats on getting selected for your hubpage contest. Awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 20, 2011:

Hi Hello, hello,

Happy to be able to introduce this interesting spot of the Hospital Rock area within Sequoia National Park to you. Thanks for your comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on July 20, 2011:

Thank you, Peggy, for your wonderful article with so many interesting details. Great job, well done.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2011:

Hi akirchner,

No problem. I don't remember you asking and was not even aware that I was nominated until a fellow hubber congratulated me and another said that she voted for me. I'm not that active on FB and don't have a chance at winning. Congratulations to you! It appears that you do have many FB fans who have voted for you. Well deserved!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on July 15, 2011:

Gosh - what an idiot - I think I asked you to vote for me and you were in the contest, too - this Facebook thing/part has me all out of whack!

Excellent choice and a BEAUTIFUL place - we named our cat after Tenaya Lake where we camped (I actually did a hub on the horrible camping experience I had there...I should say Bob did)...and our current 10-year-old malamute is Denaya - kinda sorta after our fond memories of that wonderful place!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2011:

Hi Lisa,

The CCC did some major highway projects, bridges, dams, etc. as well as smaller jobs like this trail in the Hospital Rock area of Sequoia National Park. Many of their efforts back then are still being appreciated today. Glad that you found this interesting! You'll soon be traveling to an area that I have yet to see. Can't wait to see your photos! Thanks for your comment.

Lisa H. on July 15, 2011:

Beautiful! Really gives me the travel "bug". Your mention of the CCC for constructing trails, etc. was really interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 14, 2011:

Hello Ruby H Rose,

I really enjoyed the entire experience visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks. They are all so close to one another that if visitors are going there and have the time, they might just as well see them all. Almost forgot Joshua Tree NP. California is blessed! When you say you are going back, do you mean literally? Thanks for your comment.

Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on July 14, 2011:

Great Hub! Beautiful pics. I LOVE the trees and parks around there, on my way back...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2011:

Hi Billy,

The Indian pictographs at Hospital Rock are absolutely amazing! Sequoia National Park is truly a feast for the eyes and senses. Thanks for your visit and comment.

billyaustindillon on July 13, 2011:

I loved the ancient Indian painting and water and trees in nature are just so tranquil - thanks again for enlightening us some more Peggy

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2011:

Hi Happyboomernurse,

Thanks! Appreciate it! It is an honor to even be mentioned as there are so many good writers here on HubPages turning out great hubs.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on July 13, 2011:

Congrats on making one of the 14 in the Share Alike Contest. I just logged onto Facebook and voted for this hub. Good luck.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2011:

Hello danfresnourban,

Haha! I welcome your visit to Texas! There is plenty to cover here! You are lucky to live in such a gorgeous part of the country...with Sequoia National Park being only 40 minutes from your house. Wow! Thanks for your visit and comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2011:

Hello Crobin28,

Guess I should check my emails! I was unaware that I had won anything. Thanks for the heads up and happy that you enjoyed this hub about the Hospital Rock area in Sequoia National Park. Thanks for your comment.

danfresnourban from Fresno, CA on July 13, 2011:

Peggy, great coverage of an area about 40 minutes from my house. Now I have to go to Texas and coverage someplace there. Thanks for sharing.

Crobin28 from Pelham, Alabama on July 12, 2011:

Congrats on being a winner for the first round!! Great HUB! You deserved to be a winner! I just love your pictures as well! So beautiful!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2011:

Hi Pamela,

I agree with you. That part of California with all the national parks is spectacular. Glad that you found this one about Hospital Rock and the history of Indians there interesting. Thanks for your comment.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 12, 2011:

I love the history of the beautiful area and this is a very interesting hub. I loved visiting that area of the country.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2011:

Hi Movie Master,

Glad that you enjoyed seeing the photo that I took of the pictograph at Hospital Rock inside of Sequoia National Park. Have another hub regarding Sequoia NP just about ready to publish. Thanks for your comment.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on July 12, 2011:

Hi Peggy, this is more than a hub, it felt like I'd been on holiday! just packed full of interesting facts about hospital rock, I thought the kayak video was awesome and I was amazed at the clarity of the pictograph the colour is still quite vivid! thank you so much for sharing this one and I will look forward to more of Sequoia.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2011:

Thanks dahoglund for the compliment on the Crater Lake photo advertising another hub. It AND the entire article was stolen and published on another site at one time. After many complaints on my part, it was finally taken down. The nerve of some people!!!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on July 12, 2011:

That picture of Crater Lake is especially nice. I like the way you used the tree in the foreground.Up and awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2011:

Hi Eiddwen,

Such a lovely comment! Glad you liked this hub about Hospital Rock. Will be showing you more of Sequoia in future hubs.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2011:

Hello Happyboomernurse,

Hospital Rock is just a small area within the beautiful Sequoia National Park but one certainly worth visiting especially if it is time for a picnic lunch. What could be better than having a picnic in such a setting? Thanks for the first comment and votes up. :))

Eiddwen from Wales on July 12, 2011:

Simply beautiful and awesome Peggy !!

you have the art of breathing feelings into your words and combined with those amazing pictures .Wow !!!

Keep them coming and take care,


Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on July 11, 2011:

Because of the beautiful photos and interesting facts about the region this hub felt like a guided tour of Hospital Rock. Thanks so much for sharing this information. Voted up, useful, awesome and beautiful.

Related Articles