dogs on leash
Created in 1890, Sequoia National Park is home to the largest trees on earth and the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. At 404,063 acres and over 90% of designated wilderness, Sequoia offers over 800 miles of hiking trails. This park protects the Giant Forest, which has the world's largest tree, General Sherman, as well as four of the next nine tallest. It also has over 240 caves, the tallest mountain in the lower 48, Mount Whitney, and the granite dome Moro Rock.
We hadn't originally planned to do this trail, but we were so glad we did. We happened upon this trail in November at sunset, and it quickly became our favorite experience of Sequoia.
The trail head has its own parking lot. It is short, but does involve a lot of stair climbing. If you have a fear of heights or if there's a possibility of lightning, I would pass on this one.
The trail winds its way up to the top of the rock. A couple of times I thought it was the top, but was wrong. The trail continues all the way to the summit, which is marked with a large plank-like rock outcropping and protective hand rails. The views from both sides and at the top are beyond words, but I think sunset made it infinitely better. Plus there was a low lying fog that had settled in the valley. It was perfect.
We hiked this trail in November, and while we saw some additional hikers towards the start of the trail, that didn't last long.
The paved road to the trail head has you go through a fallen log that was cut away to allow cars through, which was awesome by itself. For larger vehicles there is also a bypass.
The trail shares a parking lot with the High Sierra trail past the Moro Rock trail. There is a vault toilet and picnic area at the start.
The trail passes two little wooden footbridges over mini creeks, Crescent Meadow, Log Meadow, Tharps Log Cabin (made from a fallen Sequoia), and Chimney Tree. We saw deers grazing in Crescent Meadow (they came very close to us for some amazing pictures). I heard it's common to see bears as well, thou we were not lucky enough for that.
The trail is paved at the beginning, but turns to a wide dirt path at Tharps Log Cabin. Coincidentally, this is also when the number of hikers on the trail dwindles. Our favorite part was the experience with the deer- it was such a surreal experience to have them come so close. Tharps Log was also quite cool. Overall it was just a great experience.
This trail was difficult for me to rate. On the one hand, we saw many beautiful land marks. On the other hand, it was very crowded- much more crowded than I prefer. It was rather like seeing Old Faithful in Yellowstone. I'm glad we did it, but I am not keen to go do the trail again. Hence, I gave it a 3.
We did the trail in November. It begins in the parking lot for the General Sherman Tree. The trails begin together and then diverge before the tree. We actually did the .4 miles to see the General Sherman Tree first and then went on the Congress trail. Doing this you see the Twin Trees, the General Sherman Tree, the leaning tree, the President, the Chief Sequoyah, the collection of trees known as the Senate, the collection known as the House of Representatives, and the McKinley Tree. At the beginning there is also a cutaway section of a Sequoia for illustration.
The trail is entirely paved, relatively flat, and one of the best marked we have seen. It was more of a stroll than a trail in truth. The hardest part is climbing the stairs back up the hill from the General Sherman Tree, but they have installed benches to rest every .1 mile or so. Oh and they have a full bathroom at the start along with a water refill station. The only animal we saw was a deer on the road out.
Carolyn B. on General Grant Loop Trail
Enjoyed the trees. Fun walking through the fallen tree. Gives you a real appreciation as to their size.
Carolyn B. on General Sherman Tree Trail
How can anyone say no to walking beneath these behemoths?
Carolyn B. on Hanging Rock Trail
Good views of Moro Rock and other mountains. Not much of a trail. The "hanging rock" itself is not worth the very little effort to get there.