Everyone goes to Yosemite, but not a lot of people realize that this gem lies hidden a few hours south. For a really one-of-a-kind trip, plan your visit to coincide with a natural burn period, when fires clear out the brushes below, allowing new trees to sprout and filling the forests with eerie smoke. Spot bears, enjoy the mountain air, try your hardest to capture the size of the trees in a photograph, stay in a small mountain inn nearby… whatever you do, make sure to at least take a moment to sit down by a tree and think about the fact that you’re among ancient, thousand-year-old giants.
“with glowing millipedes and the world's largest trees!”
While Sequoia National Park is known for its gargantuan trees, it's also the site of a thriving population of glowing millipedes that exist nowhere else in the world. Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 404,063 acres (631.35 sq mi; 1,635.18 km2). Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together. The 16 steep, narrow road miles from Ash Mountain to Giant Forest include 130 curves and 12 switchbacks. A vehicle-length advisory of 22 feet (6.7 m) is suggested for the 12 steepest miles within that stretch. Giant Forest, one of the largest sequoia groves, was saved from logging by the establishment of Sequoia National Park in 1890. However, national park status did not fully protect the big trees. The road that brought visitors to Giant Forest also brought camping, cabins, commercial development, and congestion. The impacts of this development, both to the giant sequoia ecosystem and to the quality of visitor experience, conflicted with the National Park Service mandate to conserve park resources and values and leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Warning! The navigation on this takes you up a very long winding dangerous road into the middle of nowhere. It does NOT take you to the trees. Go straight and don't turn on the road to the middle of nowhere to get to the park. That said, it was amazing. Both the town and the gorgeous giant trees. We went in the winter so there weren't many people. You will need chains in your car to get into the park. You can rent them in town if you don't have any.
A beautiful drive! Long! Only bathrooms at the 2 entrances and at the top. Not a lot of places to refuel or eat. So prepare.
Sequoia trees are mammoth and insanely picturesque. You will see wildlife on your trip. That's almost a guarantee. The hikes are pretty moderate, but I'd still allot at least a couple of days to explore the park. The Giant Forest area can become pretty crowded during the weekend, but it's a can't-miss spot.
I'd recommend camping if you visit. The park's lodges book up pretty fast so you'll need to reserve well ahead of time. They're also pretty dated facilities too and small.
If you're thinking of spending the night outside the park, you're limited to mostly Fresno or Visalia, both of which are over an hour away from the park.
overall I think this was the most awe inspiring place on my road trip. The way the light cuts through the big trees in the early morning mist alone makes this place magical. There are also good points of interest, wild life and fun roads to enjoy while you are hear. Worth the trip for sure!
Be prepared for a long curvy road getting in and out of the park. Definitely need to take the short hike to Shermans tree. If your physical condition allows take the hike to the top of the huge rock near the giant tree museum. This is right by the tunnel tree as well. We spent a pretty full day here
Beautiful and peaceful! The drive was equally as pretty despite the insane amount of switchback curves. That was the only time in my life I've ever been car sick, but there were a few places to pull off to get some air and take in the view.
Sequoia National Park is filled with so much natural history! The trees featured in this park are so old and massive that it will be a bit of a shock to your system at first! Other than that it is an absolutely gorgeous forested area with a few short hikes out to huge viewpoints that are very Yosemite-esque.
To be completely honest my favourite parts were the drive in and out! The south end is a bunch of crazy switchbacks basically going straight up and the north west end is a long sweeping road that would be perfect for longboarding!
Worth the drive. Lots of curved roads. Be easy on your breaks, mine started to smoke on the way back down! Gift shop was closed bc of Covid. Bring water! The shuttle system made the whole trip so much better. Park car next to giant forest museum and shuttle to all of the stops! They leave every 7-14 minutes. Hike to Sherman was super easy. Wheel chair accessible/kid friendly. Not animals allowed though. He’s HUGE. That trail is usually popular and a line forms to take pictures. Rangers everywhere to ask questions. Single car entrance was $35. Found a hotel in Vasalia and the drive was about 45/60 minutes from there.
The sequoia trees are very pretty, durable, and mammoth! Not as crowded as some of the other parks we have been to, we still couldn’t enjoy a good hike due to a cranky kiddo. Although you can’t stand right next to General Sherman, there are plenty of other behemoth trees for photo ops!
This park also connects to King’s Canyon NP via Sequoia Natl Forest. Recommend both
We wasted an entire tank of gas and it took an hour to drive up the mountain to see the trees. Don’t get this place mixed up with the Redwoods National Park, it’s not the same thing. The drive up to even see the trees is extremely time consuming and curvy, it’s dangerous to go faster than 20 mph on those roads. Not worth the time in my opinion.
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Sequoia National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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Good for bird watching, hiking, and 4 more activities.
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