Sequoia National Park, ‘The Land of Giants’…

What an incredible feeling it is to walk among these giants!  The Sequoia groves are places where you can truly gain perspective on how small we are, which is such a wonderful feeling.

Visiting Sequoia National Park was one of my absolute favorite trips!  I can’t even describe how beautiful and peaceful it is there.  I remember feeling so relaxed and not wanting to leave.  The awe inspiring trees are just so calming to the soul.

Josh and I went to Sequoia National Park in October after spending two days in Kings Canyon National Park (the two parks are right next to each other and are run as one unit).  Our first night in Sequoia we camped at Lodgepole campground.  Since it was the off season we couldn’t reserve a campsite ahead of time, and when we arrived in the early evening, there were only a few sites to choose from (many of them were blocked off). Once we claimed a site, we drove to the nearby store and picked up some stuff for dinner – hot dogs, chips, s’mores….classic camping food.  We went back to our site, made a fire, and enjoyed our meal. It was a really nice and relaxing night.  Not long after dinner it started sprinkling, so we ended up getting in bed early to avoid getting wet. Fortunately, there are bear boxes at all of the Lodgepole campsites, so we were able to protect our gear from the bears and the rain!

We awoke the next morning to the sound of raindrops on our tent, which added to the relaxing atmosphere, but in turn, caused us to end up with a muddy tent.  After getting our hands a little dirty while packing up, we drove to the trailhead for the Congress Trail.

  • Congress Trail
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Distance: 2 miles
    • Elevation: 200 ft
    • Time: 1-2 hours

The Congress Trail is a paved trail that takes you through a magnificent Sequoia grove that is home to the General Sherman Tree.  By volume, General Sherman is the largest tree on Earth! It’s 275 feet tall, and 36 feet in diameter at the base.  Along with General Sherman, you can expect to see several other really impressive trees along the Congress trail.  You can also expect to see lots of other visitors on this trail!

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General Sherman Tree
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Congress Trail

 

From the Congress Trail, you can access the Trail of the Sequoias, which is a really nice hike through the Giant Forest.  It takes you away from the crowds and allows you to really experience this fairy tale land.

  • Trail of the Sequoias
    • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
    • Distance: 6.3 miles
    • Elevation: 1300 ft
    • Time: 4 hours round trip

When we hiked this trail in October, the weather was perfect! It was a cool, crisp day, and the air was so refreshing.  The majority of the hike was flat or slightly uphill, which made for a nice workout while still being easy enough that we could really enjoy our surroundings.

Along the trail there are lots of fallen trees, which give you a different perspective on the size of the trees

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Many of the trees are trees so big that you could actually walk inside of them!

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About half way in, we came to an opening where we could see for miles.  It was the perfect place to stop for some snacks while enjoying the view of the mountains in the distance.

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One of the things that I really loved about this trail was all the vibrant colors.  The reds from the trees provided a stark contrast with the lush green everywhere, and since it was fall, there were also lots of oranges and yellows to add to the stunning scenery!

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Towards the end of the trail we came across a fallen tree whose roots we could see.  I loved being able to see how big these trees are from all different perspectives.

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The best part about the Trail of the Sequoias was that every time we walked by another Giant Sequoia we were equally as amazed as we were at the last one.  It just doesn’t get old.  I could have spent hours and hours in the Giant Forest just awing over these trees.

After our incredible day in the Giant Forest, we ended our trip back in Kings Canyon at the  John Muir Lodge in Grant Grove. I always find it rewarding to stay in a lodge or hotel after a few nights of camping, but this time I think it just made me sad because I knew that it meant our trip was ending.  I wasn’t ready to leave such a magnificent place!

 

Sequoia National Park Tips and Recommendations:

  • Go to Sequoia National Park! Even if you’re not into hiking, there is plenty to see without having to walk very far.
  • Hit the popular sites like General Sherman and General Grant, but also make it a point to get away from the crowds and explore some of the other groves.  All of the Sequoias are incredible.
  • If you don’t mind the cold, try to go in the off season.  The more popular groves can be really crowded, and you might have to stand in line for a long time to get pictures of the more famous trees.  Even in October there were lines for General Sherman and General Grant.
  • Camping is a must in this park! Most of the campgrounds are surrounded by beautiful forests and have a really nice atmosphere.  The campgrounds here are some of my favorite drive up sites we’ve stayed at.

 

Have you ever been to a place that made you feel tiny? Comment below the place that made you feel the smallest!