Sequoias are the giant trees in the world. The General Sherman Tree is the 2nd largest living organism on Earth, and sequoia groves make for some of California’s most scenic wilderness areas. For those who have a deep appreciation for nature and all of its beauty, there is no better way to experience it than by visiting the majestic sequoia trees.
Visitors will enjoy hiking trails that lead through the groves or up to an observation deck with views from above. Anyone who wants to see these beautiful giants should plan their trip during the spring because this is when they put on their best show with spectacular blooms of white flowers.
In addition, this is also a great time of year for catching glimpses of migrating birds that come here every year from Canada and Alaska to take advantage of the warmer weather before heading south again. Sequoia trees are only found naturally in California, but many people who want to see them come from worldwide. The following is a list of the top 15 places where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of these awe-inspiring giants.
1. General Sherman Tree
California’s giant sequoia trees were once considered to be the most inaccessible living organisms on Earth. So it wasn’t until 1853 that a man named James Mason Hutchings organized what is now known as the first successful expedition into what is now called the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park.
After stumbling through dense forests and climbing steep paths, they finally spotted the General Sherman Tree, which they measured at over 275 feet tall and nearly 100 feet in circumference. Today, this is still a huge tree. Yet, it is one of the best places to see this unique species of forest giants in their natural habitat, making it one of our most popular travel destinations.
2. Grant Grove
One of our favorite things about sequoia trees is that they seem to be scattered throughout different national parks, which means that travelers can visit more than one park during their trip. The most beautiful part of Sequoia National Park is known as Grant Grove. It features hundreds of sequoias spread out over a half-mile area where visitors can get up close and personal with some of the largest living organisms on Earth.
3. Converse, Basin Grove
Sequoia National Park is home to the largest living organism on Earth, also known as the General Sherman Tree. However, this is not the only place where you can see some of these fantastic trees in Sequoia National Park. Several more groves of sequoias are located throughout the park, and one of our favorites is Converse Basin Grove. This is where visitors can hike up to an observation deck that lets them get a bird’s eye view into the canopy of giant sequoias above their heads.
4. South Sierra Grove
Another reason why Sequoia National Park has become so popular amongst tourists from all over the world who are interested in visiting these majestic trees is because of the variety of activities available for them to experience while there. For example, one of our favorites is an activity known as “monhonking” which requires visitors to climb down 30 feet below ground into Sequoia National Park’s South Sierra Grove, where they get to sleep in hammocks underneath the giant sequoias.
5. Kings Canyon Giant Trees Trail
Families will especially love visiting the sequoia trees because children can participate in educational programs specifically designed for them by park rangers. One popular program that families should check out is an interpretive trail that teaches about the characteristics, history, and biology of these fantastic trees while ensuring students understand how important it is to preserve forests like this for future generations.
6. Giant Forest Village, Lodgepole, and Wuksachi Villages
Although Sequoia National Park has many beautiful areas that visitors can tour, we tend to recommend choosing between three different destinations: Giant Forest Village, which is located in the park’s southern area; Lodgepole and Wuksachi Villages which are located in the northern part of the park, near Grant Grove; or a combination of all three. Any way you choose to experience this fantastic national treasure will leave you with an unforgettable travel memory.
7. Top Rail Station/Cornett’s Fir Tree on the trail of 100 Giants
Since one of our favorite things about these giant trees is getting up close and personal with them by touching their bark and feeling how hard it is, we recommend checking out a trail known as the Trail of 100 Giants. This is where visitors will get to hike over 1,000 feet above the forest floor and look down at all of these enormous trees while making sure not to miss Cornett’s Fir Tree, which is located on this trail.
8. General Sherman Tree Trail
As previously mentioned, Sequoia National Park is home to “The General,” which happens to be the largest living organism on Earth. However, several other giant sequoias are essential for visitors to see while in the park, including one named after First Lady Julia Grant. She built a picnic table underneath it during her visit. Another legendary tree that you should include in your itinerary is the Congress Trail, where you will see General Sherman Tree and several other sequoia trees.
9. Grizzly Giant Loop Trail
After spending time walking around Grant Grove Village, Sequoia National Park visitors should make sure to take a hike on the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail, which includes one of the most historic sequoias in the park named The Bachelor and Three Graces that stand together gracefully. Although this trail is not among our favorite tracks for hiking through giant sequoias because it’s only 10 minutes long, we do recommend seeing this grove since it can be hectic near Grant Grove. This is also another reason why having your car is beneficial when visiting Sequoia Park because it gives travelers more flexibility in choosing which hikes they want to take.
10. Fallen Monarch Trail
For Sequoia National Park visitors who decide to visit Giant Forest Village, we highly recommend taking a hike on a trail known as the Fallen Monarch Loop Trail, which will teach you all about these trees’ unique characteristics and features. While hiking through this loop, you’ll see several fallen monarchs that have been standing for decades but collapsed because of recent forest fires. In addition, there is also an abundance of wildflowers that grow under the giant sequoias, as well as crystal clear streams perfect for swimming if that sounds more appealing to you.
11. Crescent Meadow Hike
While exploring the general area of Crescent Meadow, you should check out the Golden Bear Tree Trail, where visitors will get to see one of these giants up close while enjoying their time in this serene wilderness location. Although it’s only 5 miles long, this trail is stunning because you not only get to walk through giant sequoias that are centuries old but also experience an abundance of wildlife like deer and rabbits. This hike can be moderately challenging at times; however, a viewing platform is located near the end, which offers travelers breathtaking views overlooking Sequoia National Park’s beautiful landscape.
12. Observation Point Trail
There are several spots in Sequoia National Park where visitors can enjoy breathtaking views for free, one of them being the Observation Point Trail, a 2,000-foot climb up an extinct volcano. Although this hike isn’t necessarily easy, it’s worth doing to see this park’s awe-inspiring scenery like granite peaks and awe-inspiring views of many giant sequoia trees below.
13. Tule River Trail
After enjoying a day at the Giant Forest, you should take a hike on the Tule River Loop Trail, where visitors can experience many of the park’s iconic features, including its towering sequoia trees, Redwood forest, and crystal clear streams. This trail is approximately 7 miles long, which means that it would be best to spend 1-2 days exploring this location since there are so many different things for you to see.
14. Boyden Caverns
While visiting Sequoia Park, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Boyden caverns, an enclosed underground cave system located near Sequoia National Park. Several tours are available off of Highway 198, but our top pick was “The Lantern Tour” since it offered us the best lighting conditions. Although there are dozens of caverns within this system, you will only be able to see a handful of them during your tour, which is why we highly recommend getting there early to avoid any lines. Again, this is another location where having your car can help because it gives you more flexibility in choosing when and where you want to start this adventure.
15. Briceburg Visitor Center
After driving on Highway 198, make sure to stop by the visitor center located near Briceburg if that sounds more appealing to you. While going through this region, visitors will have an opportunity to view some breathtaking waterfalls and enjoy beautiful views overlooking Pioneer Basin and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. This area is also home to many endangered species like bears, mountain lions, and even bald eagles, making it perfect for photographers who want to take stunning wildlife shots.
Although it might not be the most popular destination for tourists, Sequoia National Park is a hidden gem located in central California. This park offers visitors an opportunity to see some of the world’s most giant trees while also exploring its expansive wilderness areas where they can go hiking or even rock climbing if that sounds more appealing to you.