Sequoia National Park Guide

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(This post is part 2/6- make sure to read the others. While you’re reading, click anything blue and you will see I attached links and additional images for more information!)

Greg and I traveled from Yosemite National Park to Sequoia National Park to continue our honeymoon. We had 2 full days here and below is what filled our time.

*All times included time spent taking pictures/enjoying the views.

* We visited in the middle of June

Day 1- Monday

We woke up around 5:30am to pack up and get on the road. Initially the GPS said it would take us 3.5 hours to get to Sequoia but it took us around 4.5 (there is cheaper gas the further you drive away from Yosemite). On the way to Sequoia we passed right through Kings Canyon National Park and were able to stop at their Visitor Center and stamp our passport. Driving up and down the mountain we were also able to make a stop at a lookout point that overlooked the canyon. It was nice but had somewhat occluded views. We then drove straight to Moro Rock before checking in at our campground as we knew there was a parking lot on location.

Moro Rock

Distance- 400 steps with a steep incline

Time- 45 minutes  

Shuttle- Route 2

We arrived here around 11:15am and there was a fair amount of people- not over crowded but it may seem that way when you are trying to climb up and down narrow stairs. Once you are at the top, there is plenty of room. Going up, I’ll be honest, I had to take a few rest periods. I never knew how exhausting 400 steps would be and after we got to the bottom, my legs were literally shaking. Don’t let this stop you though, the views are wonderful!

After Moro Rock, we drove back to Lodgepole Campground which took about 25 minutes. Lodgepole is a park campground that offers tent/RV spots for $22 a night- no hook up but there are bathrooms, a laundry facility, the visitor center, a restaurant, gift shop, public library, dumping stations, and many water stations. The RV spots here are very big and also have a fire pit which came in handy.

We ate lunch at the Lodgepole Market and both enjoyed our meals. Greg had a spicy Italian sub and I had a grilled chicken sandwich. We also picked up 2 things for breakfast and our total was $29.00. Not bad!

We hopped on the shuttle in order to get to our next hike to see the General Sherman.

General Sherman Hike

Distance- 1 mile (total out and back)

Time- 30 minutes – can be longer as there is a line to take a picture in front of the tree

Shuttle- Route 1 (Makes 2 stops, 1 for trailhead and another for their handicap accessible route)

Handicap Accessible

The General Sherman was absolutely amazing! It’s so crazy that this tree is the largest on the earth! This is an easy hike (with a steep incline on the way back) and definitely worth it. We arrived around 2:00 and it was pretty crowded. There are many photo opportunities right around this area.

In order to make this a longer hike, we added the Congress Trail to the General Sherman.

Congress Trail

Distance- 2 miles (loop)

Time- 2 hours

Shuttle- Route 1, you must pass the General Sherman to continue onto this trail

The Congress Trail is one of those trails that pictures just do not do it justice. The trees are something you have to experience with your own eyes. They are so big and so amazing. Here you will also see the President Tree which is the 4th largest on earth. We noticed a lot of the sequoias had “scars” or burn marks and later learned that fires are actually good for them- typically after a fire you will see a growth spurt! The entire trail is paved and a lot is shaded which helps on a hot day. We had a blast on this trail and would definitely recommend it if you are visiting as it was nearly empty as we were completing it.

From the Congress Trail, we got back on the shuttle to head to the Giant Forest Museum which is nearby to the Big Trees Trailhead.

Big Trees Trail

Distance- 1 mile total walking from the museum and back

Time- 1 hour  

Shuttle- Route 1

The Big Trees Trail is great to do after you complete a trail like the Congress Trail because you get similar views of the trees but with a different backdrop. This loop circles the Round Meadow and has numerous “stations” that provide tree information regarding: the fires, soil, habitat, water intake, history, etc. (There are bathrooms located at this trailhead)

After completing our last hike of the day, we went back to tour the Giant Forest Museum and were glad we did. This museum is so interesting and provides so much information on the Sequoias. It is great for kids and adults.

Our night ended by the campfire making dinner and eating smores for dessert!

Day 2- Tuesday

We started our day with the Topokah Trail as it was only a 2-minute walk from our campsite at Lodgepole.

Topokah Trail

Distance- 4 miles (total out and back)

Time- 2.5 hours

Shuttle- Route 1

This trail was very interesting to us because when you think of Sequoia National Park, typically the trees come to mind. This trail did have some large sequoias on its route, but the main attraction was the waterfall at the end. My watch clocked this trail at just over 500 feet of elevation throughout but many parts are shaded which allowed for a cooler breeze during the time of our visit. We started this hike at 9:30am and were the only two until our way back when we passed many people heading up. Keep an eye out for animals on this route, no bears for us though.

After the Topokah Trail we hopped on the shuttle to get to the Crescent Meadows/Tharp’s Log Trail– from Lodgepole it took us 50 minutes to get to this location.

Crescent Meadows/Tharp’s Log

Distance- 2 miles

Time- 1 hour

Shuttle- Route 2

This trail is mostly shaded and circles around the Crescent Meadow, we added a little bit to see Tharp’s Log so we saw views of Log Meadow as well. Keep an eye out for marked trees such as “Chimney Tree”!

OTHER PARK INFORMATION

SHUTTLE SYSTEM- The free shuttle system at Sequoia is great but make sure you know what time the last shuttle is. The shuttles at this location stop around 6pm and you do not want to get stuck at a trailhead.

VISITOR CENTER- Definitely make a stop here, the rangers can provide you with any information or questions you may have. You can also buy souvenirs at the gift shop, grab free maps (we lived off of using ours), and get a stamp for your National Park Passport! We added to our National Park stamp collection here.   

SERVICE- We had absolutely no service at during our entire time at Sequoia, not even for a minute. I would 100% recommend loading the directions from one place to another on your phone beforehand and taking screenshots- this helped us!

FOOD- We packed a lot of snacks for our hikes including trail mix, crackers, etc. Having the RV available after each hike was very convenient for meals as well. I would recommend packing sandwiches for the longer hikes. The Lodgepole Market also has great food as I mentioned above.

LAUNDRY- Lodgepole has a laundry facility (not sure if there are any others in the park but this was open to the public). We paid $1.25 to wash our clothes and $.50 to dry our clothes for 20 minutes.

WEATHER– The weather here fluctuated. We woke up freezing and even the start of some hikes were cold but by the end of the day we were hot. Wear layers that you can remove.

TRAILS- If you are limited on time, plan out your top trails and do them first; you might be surprised that you have extra time in the day that allows for more adventures.

FIREWOOD- You are allowed to use branches/wood that you find on the ground for firewood here, no breaking off trees.

OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDATION– Pack for the cold, even in the summer the nights can get very cold.

OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDED HIKE- Congress Trail!

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