Dense sierra forests. Raging waterfalls. The biggest trees on the planet. Overshadowed by its Sierra neighbor Yosemite, Sequoia National Park doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. Only about a 4 hour drive from Los Angeles, the park is located near the southern end of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and borders Kings Canyon National Park. With top notch camping and hiking options, the Sequoia wilderness is begging to be explored. Here are 7 incredible things to do at Sequoia National Park.
1. Congress Loop Trail
This is THE trail to visit if you are looking to walk amongst giants in Sequoia National Park. It’s a fairly easy 2.5 mile trail that leads you past some of the oldest and largest trees in the world, including what is believed to be the biggest tree in the world (by volume): the General Sherman Tree. Even if you just walk a portion of the trail, stopping here is a must.
2. General Sherman Tree
Behold! The world’s largest tree! (by volume, not height). But it is MASSIVE. The General Sherman is a thick, thick tree and should absolutely be the focus of your trip to Sequoia National Park. It is conveniently located right where the Congress Loop Trail begins so you can knock out two large birds with one stone here.
There will always be a crowd around the tree with a long line to get a picture but I’d say get creative and take a picture from another angle and bypass any lines. Access is simple: It’s an easy half mile stroll on a paved path from the parking lot. Most people get their picture and leave, but I strongly suggest continuing on the Congress Loop Trail to admire the massive trees that await you.
3. Crescent Meadow
Crescent meadow is a stunning meadow surrounded by a ring of towering sequoia trees. There is a relatively easy trail that takes you around the meadow where you can get different vantage points of the beautiful scenery. Come early in the morning or around dusk for increased likelihood of seeing wildlife such as deer and black bears.
4. Tokopah Falls
If you’ve had enough of the trees and want to see some waterfall action, hike the Tokopah Falls trail. Beginning near the Lodgepole Campground shuttle stop, the trail is a well maintained, relatively easy 4.2 mile out and back hike with a slight elevation gain.
As you walk alongside the thundering Kaweah river, massive granite canyons surround portions of the hike. This classic Sierra canyon trail ends at a powerful 1,200 foot cascading waterfall, which is a great spot to have lunch or a snack break.
Side note: If you are going to camp in Sequoia, Lodgepole Campground is the spot. The location is conveniently next to the shuttle stop, a market center and grill, as well as the trailhead for Tokopah Falls. It’s also a beautiful area in its own right. Try to get a campsite near the river.
5. Moro Rock
Moro Rock is a massive granite dome that overlooks Sequoia National Park. For a good workout and even better views, hike to the top of Moro Rock. It’s a very unique trail that features a narrow staircase built into the rock. Once atop the rock it's a stunning sight. You can see for miles. The out and back hike is 3.8 miles long and takes about 1.5 hours to complete.
6. Big Trees Trail
Another popular trail in the park, the Big Trees Trail will lead you on a 1.3 mile loop past an entire forest of giant sequoias. Like the Congress Trail, the paths are well maintained and generally rated as an easy hike. Get up close and personal with some of the biggest trees in the world, and keep your eye out for wildlife such as deer, gophers, and black bears.
7. Visit Kings Canyon National Park
You’re this close, you might as well see another national park, right? The two parks are connected by the Generals Highway and you can drive from Lodgepole Campground to Grant Grove Village in Kings Canyon in less than an hour. The scenery is stunning just like Sequoia, but now you are adding in the thrill of driving down into a massive canyon.
Drive down the Kings Canyon Scenic ByWay and stop off at the vista points to get some incredible views of the canyon. Points of interest include Roaring River Falls, Zumwalt Meadow and visiting the General Grant Tree in the Grant Grove.
From hiking to the top of Moro Rock to exploring the meadows and forests along the Congress Loop Trail, there are countless incredible things to do and see in Sequoia National Park. Whether you're looking for a challenging adventure or a peaceful retreat, this park has something for everyone and is one of the Top Places to Visit in California.
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