Sequoia National Park located in central California has so much to see and explore. It is home of the tallest trees in the world, the redwoods (sequoia sempervirens ). These trees can easily reach to be 300 ft (91 meter). They are also some of the oldest trees, some being over 2,000 years old. If you plan on visiting, I suggest you get an early start to beat the crowds. It is not as crowded as other national parks like Yosemite, but it still gets many visitors specially on the weekends and summer months.
The entrance fee is $35 per passenger vehicle. The pass is good for a week. You can come back as many times as you want within seven days. Individual passes are $20 per person.
Right after the entrance you will come into the visitors center. Here you can ask for information about the park. You can buy tickets if you plan on visiting crystal cave, and you must buy them here there is no passes at the cave.
Right after passing the visitors center don’t miss the famous Sequoia National Park sign. It’s a perfect place to take a family picture. It will be to the right side of the road with a place to park.
As you keep driving up the General Hwy, on your left side you will find Tunnel Rock. Until the highway was widened in 1997, this narrow passageway was the only route through. It’s closed to vehicles now, which would have a tough time squeezing through side by side, but pedestrians can still walk underneath it.
We drove up on the General Hwy. It is about a 45 minute drive to reach the giant tree forest museum from the entrance. The snow is melting in June so the roads are wet and slippery. Remember to drive carefully and check the speed limits. The roads are very winding with many sharp curves. If you get car sick a lot, I suggest take some medication beforehand.
There are a few places to stop and take a picture of the scenic views. You can see Morro rock from many of these stops. Drive slow and take in the views, and stop and enjoy picture perfect moments.
Giant Forest Museum
At last we reach the famous Giant Forest Museum. This is where we parked and left the car for the rest of our visit. You can go into the museum where you will find lots of information about the park and trees. You can read about the history of the park, age of the trees and how tall they can get. I have been here many times and always learn something new. There is also a small gift shop.
Trails and Hikes
One of the most famous trails is the big tree tail. This trail is easy and you will get to see some huge sequoias. It loops around a large meadow and you will learn more about the trees and nature as you walk. It is a great trail for all ages. Located just outside the museum.
After completing this trail we came back to the museum and took a shuttle towards the General Sherman Tree trail. During the summer there are free shuttles to get around the park. On this trail you will find the tallest tree in the world, the General Sherman. This tree is 275 ft tall. This trail is less than a mile and very easy for all ages also.
Shuttle one can also take you to the restaurant and the general market in the park. Riding the shuttles is great way to get around and reduce traffic. We got the shuttle to the market and ate lunch there. We then got the shuttle back to the museum. The shuttles run every 15 minutes.
After getting back to the giant forest museum we took shuttle two to Morro Rock. It is two miles from the museum to Morro Rock if you prefer to hike. You can only drive there during the week, on weekend shuttles are the only vehicle allowed to go up to Morro Rock.
Once you reach the rock it is 400 steps to reach the summit of Morro Rock. This was very difficult hike up, I have to admit I did not make it to the top, but you can get great views from many of the steps towards the top. Handrails along the way make the climb safe, though you should keep a close eye on small children because of steep drop off along the entire route. The hike can be strenuous; taking your time as you climb can help you adjust to the thinner air at higher elevations.
Get the same shuttle and it will take you to tunnel tree. You can only drive through the tree on weekdays. This is another great place to take pictures. From here there are a few trails you can hike or as we did just took the shuffle to keep exploring.
We spent the rest of the day hiking and exploring. There is so much to see, we find something new every time we come back.
Always be careful and aware of your surroundings. Go into the Sequoia National Park to read about wild animal safety and never feed a bear.
There is also great places to swim and cool off, but with all the rain and snow we have had this year, the waters are very dangerous it is best to wait a a few weeks.
Check out my guide to Cambria California along highway 1.