About Fresno County
Fresno County includes a long stretch of central California beginning at the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas at its northeast end, descending their slopes to the San Joaquin Valley and across the valley into the Diablo Mountains at the southwest end. The San Joaquin River forms most of the northern boundary.
There is an extreme range of elevation difference from 13,500 feet in the Sierra Nevadas to just a couple hundred feet in the valley. Along with that, a wide range of climate, scenery and land use are found in the county. For mountain scenery, no more beautiful place can be found than the Sierra Nevadas. Most of Kings Canyon National Park lies within Fresno County. The San Joaquin Valley, also known as California's Central Valley, is among the most important agricultural areas in the United States. The county seat, Fresno, with a half-million people, is a major urban area.
Fresno County was organized in 1856, formed from portions of Mariposa, Merced and Tulare Counties. It was divided in 1861 and 1893 with portions going to Mono and Madera Counties. The name Fresno us Spanish for ash tree. Fresno Creek was so named because of all the ash trees found there, and the county was named after the creek. The area was first explored by Spaniards in 1846 and became part of the United States as a result of the Mexican War.
California Highway 99, a freeway, is the main artery through Fresno County, passing through the city of Fresno, and passing along the eastern side of San Joaquin Valley. Interstate 5 also passes along the less populous western side of the valley. State Highway 41 heads north from Fresno to Yosemite National Park and State Highway 180 heads east to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park. Many other state highways and major roads run through the county especially in the San Joaquin Valley.
Fresno County covers 6,017 square miles. The UntraveledRoad tour includes the main roads and selected trails in King's Canyon.