Sequoia National Park is like no place in the world.
Hike or drive?
You can reasonably experience the big trees and never leave the comfort of your car. The Generals Highway weaves its way through the park, passing many impressive trees. There are plenty of places to pull off to enjoy the scenery for a moment, and a few of the best specimens feature paved walkways.
Separating yourself from the throngs of daily visitors to the park is nearly impossible if you choose to drive. Though its famous national park neighbor to the north receives far more traffic, there may be times when you are competing for elbow room to view some of the more popular trees, such as General Sherman. Don’t worry, though. There’s no need to crowd around the base of the tree in order to take it all in.
But if you truly want to soak in the magic of this place, I recommend hitting the trail for an overnight stay.
You have dozens of quality routes to chose from, many of which will take you through some of the most beautiful groves in the park. Study a good map to get a feel for the area.
We began our trek at the South Fork Campground, located in the southwest corner of the park. From there, we hiked to the stunning Garfield Grove and beyond, before snow complicated our progress. You can find maximum solitude here.
You will need a permit to camp outside of a designated campground. Call the Wilderness Office at (559) 565-3766 to make arrangements.
And be prepared to take on gigantic sugar pine cones at 5:30 in the morning.