Park Tally: 50/59
Orientation: Sequoia National Park is located in the southern Sierra Nevada and can be accessed via a 3.5-hour drive from Los Angeles or a 4-hour drive from San Francisco. Sequoia is an accessible park with a wide-range of things to see and do. The main highway (Generals Highway) takes visitors to the most iconic features in the park and can be completed in a day-trip. There are numerous campgrounds for those wanting to have a more in-depth park experience. Sequoia also boasts a visitor center, museum, market, deli, post-office, gift-store laundry facilities and showers.
Most iconic view: The most well-known attraction in Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree. Located in the Giant Forest, the General Sherman is the world’s largest tree by volume and is estimated to be between 2,300 and 2,700 years old. Visitors can view the gigantic tree by taking a 0.8-mile (roundtrip) trail down into the grove. Be mindful of the reasonably high altitude and take your time hiking the park.
Accessible activity: The Big Trees Trail is an easy walk that showcases Sequoia National Park’s beauty and unique ecosystems. The 2/3-mile loop trail is flat and has sections of boardwalk, making the walk accessible to most. We were in absolute awe as we strolled through the ancient sequoia grove and under trees larger than we could have ever imagined.
For the adventurous: There are numerous picturesque day-hikes in the Mineral King section of Sequoia. Some of the popular treks include Monarch Lakes (8.4-miles), Crystal Lake (9.8-miles), and Franklin Lakes (10.8-miles). Those looking for an even bigger adventure can tackle Mt. Whitney (14,505-feet), the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Mt. Whitney stands in the very east section of Sequoia National Park and is often undertaken as a 2-3 day backpacking trip.
Best photo opportunities: The historic ‘Tunnel Log’ is a wonderful location for road trip inspired photography (our Ruby couldn’t quite fit under, so she posed just in front!) Plus, it is a unique experience getting to drive through an actual tree! Tunnel Log is a fallen and hollowed out sequoia tree that lays across Crescent Meadow Road in the Giant Forest. It was cut-out in 1881 and promoted as a tourist attraction and is still popular with visitors over 135 years later.
- Sequoia was established as the nation’s second national park on September 25, 1890. It was the first national park to be created in order to protect a living organism, the giant sequoia tree.
- The area which now comprises Sequoia National Park was first home to the Monache Native Americans, who resided in the Kaweah River drainage in the Foothills region of the park.
- A large proportion of Monache people were killed due to the European introduction of smallpox to the area.
- Giant sequoias grow only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California, between 4,000 and 8,000-feet in elevation.
- Sequoia trees are naturally fire resistant and actually need fire to thrive and increase in population over time.
- The General Sherman Tree was chosen to represent all trees in the entire park system on the iconic National Park Service Arrowhead logo insignia.
- Sequoia National Park contains the highest mountain in the lower 48 states, Mt. Whitney (14,505-feet).
- Some of the wildlife found in Sequoia National Park include black bears, skunks, snakes, foxes, big horn sheep, deer and migratory birds.
- In 2016, Sequoia National Park had 1,254,688 visitors according to the National Park Service.