Walk amongst giants at Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is like no place in the world.

The park is located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Created by Congress on Sept. 25, 1890, it is the second oldest national park in the United States (bonus points if you know the first).

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.

Driving is a perfectly acceptable way to see the park if you only have a day.

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.

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17 comments

  1. While it would be stunning, I can’t see getting a full effect viewing it from a car.
    On the other hand, most V6 engines are faster than the average bear.

    Trade off, I guess.

    1. Sure, it’s a nice drive, but driving is absolutely no comparison to getting off your ass and truly experiencing what this place has to offer.

      And some people say I’m built with an internal V6, so I’m good. Ha!

  2. Hi,
    What a magnificent photo, the size of the fallen tree is awesome.
    Sounds like a great place to go and do a bit of hiking and see Nature at it’s best. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the memory! We took a quick spin through Sequoia on our way home from Yosemite over Christmas. Nowhere near enough time to savor it adequately, but a small taster to prepare us for a trip out there when we have more time!

    1. I remember you saying you were thinking about a spontaneous trip to Yosemite! And you made it! I just got up to speed on your blog, and I have to say, well done.

  4. Omg amazing! So where can you camp there? Is it a campground or can you actually camp within the park? Are there lots of bears there? What kind? :S

    I want to go!!

    1. Sequoia is awesome! You should go! You can either camp in designated campgrounds in the park, or pick up a backcountry camping permit and camp pretty much wherever you please. The latter option takes a little more work (obtaining a permit, packing food in a canister, etc.) but it’s totally worth the extra effort. If you go, just call that number for the Wilderness Office listed above. They’ll get you all sorted out.

      And yes, there are a ton of black bears in Sequoia. But don’t let that scare you!

      1. I would definitely go with the backcountry option. I’ve discovered I detest car camping. But I think I just had a bad first experience.

        Too late. I’m scared.

      2. You’re totally right, backcountry camping is the way to go. I have to hear about this bad first experience!

        This is my own theory, but I think there are more bears in designated campgrounds because they figured out where the food is. Bears are everywhere in that area, though.

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