Sequoia are gigantic trees that can be over 200 ft tall and live longer than 3,000 years! However, with all the wildfire/climate changes, we are losing more and more of them. In August 2020, the Castle fire burned about 7K to 10K Sequoia trees which make up 10-14% of the entire population in the world. One of the reasons you have to go to this national park and see them for yourself before climate change wipes them out. Here are some trails/attractions you have to check out while you’re at this national park:
Moro Rock is a 2.0 miles trail where you hike up 350 steps on the large granite dome. If you read my other blog posts, you’ll know I am afraid of heights. I am still not sure how I hiked up to the 6,720 ft peak. My knees got weak multiple times, and I was so scared of dropping my phone that I barely took any photos. I am so glad I made it to the top to see the speculate view beneath us.
What Have I Learned: In addition to all the steps, there will be parts of the trail where it’s so narrow that only one person can pass at one time. Also, there are many handrails and rest spots, but this might not be the best hike for someone afraid of heights.
This 1.7 miles trail loops around a large meadow. It is probably the most relax and peaceful trail I have done. You’re surrounded by sequoia and other trees but you’ll always see the meadow in the middle. We barely saw people on the trail but we did spot a mama deer and her two babies in the middle of the meadow eating away. As we were near the end of the trail, there were two deers eating super close to the trail and as an animal lover and someone from NYC, I was squealing inside since I don’t normally see them in the wild.
What Have I Learned: There are a lot of animal sightings on the trail if you keep your eyes open for them. My husband was able to spot a large bunny eating under two tree trunks and I also saw an animal that looks like a gopher relaxing on a large rock right by the meadow.
Tunnel Rock is a tunnel big enough for people to walk through while tunnel log is wide and tall enough for a car to drive through. This 21 feet wide tree fell over on Crescent Meadow Road in 1937 and instead of chopping the tree apart, the park decided to bore a hole that’s 8 ft high and 17ft wide. We were daredevils and climbed on top of the huge sequoia trunk.
What Have I Learned: Watch out for cars when you drive through the tunnel log because you’ll have to merge with the main road.
This is the largest living single stem tree by volume standing 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter at the base. It’s estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old. There is a fence around the tree to protect it. However, the fence doesn’t protect it from fire. A lightning storm sparked a fire on September 9th, 2021 in the western part of the park, and the fire is still not contained yet (as of September 13th, 2021. This week the park crew rushed to wrap General Sherman’s trunk with fireproof foil blankets and clear all flammable debris from the base to protect it in case the fire makes its way to this area of the park.
What Have I Learned: People with disability parking placards can park in the small parking lot along the edge of the General highway. For everyone else, you’ll be directed to drive away from the tree to the parking lot at the top and you have the option to hike or take the shuttle down and up to/from General Sherman.
This 1,700-year-old tree is 267 feet high and the second largest living tree in the world. President Coolidge named this the “Nation’s Christmas tree” in 1926. The Grant Grove is the oldest section of Kings Canyon National Park and has some of the world’s largest trees. There is a fallen giant sequoia along the trail called the Fallen Monarch that you can walk through to connect the upper and lower sides of the loop.
What Have I Learned: You can drive about 5 minutes or 1.1 miles from General Grant Grove to Grant Grove Village where there is a market (9 AM to 6 PM), gift shop (8 AM to 9 PM), post office (Mon to Fri: 9 AM to 4 PM), and lodging.
We got to this trail around 5 PM and it was just us and two other families. This is a 1.3-mile paved trail that has about 20 giant Sequoia trees that are over 1,500 years old. More than half of the trail were closed off because of the fallen trees so I would check before you head over here. We got to see a huge fallen tree root and even got to climb inside a tree trunk. However, this trail is pretty isolated and there aren’t any trails nearby so I would recommend it if you plan to camp nearby. Here’s a copy of the map.
What Have I Learned: When you see the animal crossing signs, I would slow down or just be extra cautious that an animal can jump out at any time. We saw a herd of cows in the wild eating grass and crossing the road. A mom and baby calf were crossing the road and the mom stared us down to make sure we don’t hit her baby with our car.
Kings Canyon Panoramic Point – This is an easy 0.5 miles trail that takes you to the Kings Canyon’s overlook is close to the Grant Grove Area. If you come during Spring, you’ll also see a lot of wildflowers along the trail. We went during July and didn’t see wildflowers but we saw a lot of baby Christmas trees. This overlook is also great for sunset. If you come during Spring, you’ll also see a lot of wildflowers along the trail. We went during July and didn’t see wildflowers but we saw a lot of baby Christmas trees. This overlook is also great for sunset.
Tunnel Rock – If you’re entering from Foothills Visitor Center entrance, the first thing you’ll see is the tunnel rock. It’s a large granite boulder with a passage way under it. It’s a popular quick photo spot under or on top of the rock if you dare.
Four Guardsmen – This was not on the Sequoia National Park map and we only knew about it as we drove through it. Sadly there’s wasn’t anywhere to park so we couldn’t stop to admire or take a photo of it. Make sure you google map it before and pin it so you know where it is. When you drive by the four Sequoia trees, it’ll feel like you’re driving by four protectors of the park!
Crystal Cave – We recently went to another cave so we decided to skip this. If you have never been inside a cave, you can only go inside on a guided tour to see icicle-like stalactites and mounds of stalagmites. Tours are only offered between Spring to Fall. There are no walk-up tickets so make sure to book your tickets ahead of time. Also, remember to bring a jacket or sweater because the cave is always around 48 degrees.
What Have I Learned: Due to the current wildfire, all roads, campgrounds, facilities, and services are closed in Sequoia National Park as of 09/22/21. Firefighters are working hard to contain the wildfire.
Cost: 35 USD (7-day non-commercial vehicle permit)/ Motorcycle: 30 USD/ Individual: 20 USD
Hour: Open 24 Hours
How many days do you need in Sequoia National Park? 1 day
What is your main transportation in Sequoia National Park? Car
How long did it take to get to Sequoia National Park? 6 hr to 10 min from Joshua Tree National Park or 4 hr 30 min from Los Angeles, CA
Where did you stay? Holiday Inn Express & Suites Dinuba West
When did you go to Sequoia National Park? End of July 2021
I remember going to Sequoia National Park all the way back in 2003 when I was still a kid. I still remember our car driving under the Tunnel Log, which was the highlight of the trip. Haven’t been back since, but it’s definitely a beautiful part of California!
Yeah it was fun as an adult to drive through it! The Sequoia trees are amazing to see in person! It so sad to hear about the wildfire that’s there now and all the brave firefighter that’s trying to save the trees.
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