Sequoia National Park

Description

Towering giant sequoia, lyrically beautiful alpine meadows, and the breathtaking crest of the Sierra Nevada define California's Sequoia National Park. Sequoia is home to the largest living thing on earth, the massive General Sherman Tree, and to the highest mountain in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney. In between these two landmarks are spectacular snowcapped peaks and deeply carved canyons, wildflower-strewn alpine glades and crystalline mountain lakes. The wonders extend even beneath the earth where, by touring Crystal Cave, you can see stalactites and stalagmites formed of shimmering calcite. You must buy tickets for cave tours at the visitor centers. They range from basic 45-minute programs to six-hour wild cave treks. Sequoia was California's first national park and the nation's second. It has grown through the years and now stretches from the western foothills of the Sierra to its highest crest. The latest addition was made in 1978, when the remote alpine wonderland of the Mineral King Valley was annexed to save it from commercial development. Whether you want to stay close to your car or embark on a hiking or pack trip into the high Sierran wilderness, Sequoia will present you with gorgeous Sierra vistas and breathtaking scenery. What to see and do: You'll probably enter Sequoia National Park at Ash Mountain near the Foothills Visitor Center or at Grant Grove. Then travel along Generals Highway to the Giant Forest Museum and the Lodgepole Visitor Center for an in-depth look at sequoias and to see films and exhibits on Sequoia's bears and natural history. If you're traveling in summer and have kids along, stop by the Beetle Rock Family Nature Center across from the museum. Pick up a copy of The Visitor Guide, SequoiaPark's newspaper. It contains important park information, including details and schedules for the new park shuttle, which has three routes during the summer: Giant Forest and Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow (both free) and a shuttle into the California park from Visalia for $15 roundtrip. The Giant Forest is the main attraction in Sequoia; the largest living thing on earth resides here. The gigantic General Sherman Tree, 275 feet tall with a base circumference of 103 feet, weighs in at an estimated 1,385 tons. Other trees may be taller than General Sherman, but none exceed it in sheer volume. The Congress Trail winds for two miles through the Giant Forest, thick with these huge conifers that grow taller than 300 feet and live for more than 3,000 years. Nearby Moro Rock overlooks Giant Forest and the canyon carved by the Middle Fork of California's Kaweah River. From its 6,725-foot summit, over 4,000 feet above the valley floor, you may be able to see over a hundred miles, from the California coastal ranges to the 13,000-foot-plus crest of the Great Western Divide. Alas, you can't see Mt. Whitney from here. It's obscured by the mountains between it and Moro Rock. Don't despair -- the view is without peer, especially if you're there at sunset. Attractions near Moro Rock include the Auto Log and the Tunnel Log, where you can motor through a fallen giant. Most of Sequoia Parkis spectacular backcountry, accessible only on foot or by pack animal. Horses, burros, and llamas are allowed on designated trails; check with the park for details. Mineral King Valley, open only in the summer, is the latest addition to this mountainous park. It is a lovely sub-alpine region full of lakes, meadows, and mountain peaks. A rough road, closed in winter, leads into this area of the California park. From there you're on your own. All overnight hikes require backcountry permits. Backcountry camping permits are issued on a quota system and cost $15 per permit or $30 for stock users. This fee includes the cost of reservations made in advance. If you choose to climb Mt. Whitney, you'll need to secure a special permit, even if you're only making a day hike from Inyo National Forest to the east of Sequoia.

Address

47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271

Lat/Long

36.48687400, -118.83690300
Visit Website
(559) 565-3341

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