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How to Enjoy Your Trip at the Sequoia National Forest

By Edited Dec 24, 2015 2 2
Giant Sequoia Monument at Sequoia National Forest


Sequoia
National Forest is known to have half over the world's Sequoia groves. With all the shade that you can receive from these giant Sequoia trees, the place is perfect for biking, hiking, camping as well as fishing within the forest's boundaries.

The change of season can also change nature's scenery and activities at the Sequoia National Forest but there are always interesting to do and enjoy once you get there. The "Nation's Christmas Tree" is located in Mt. Whitney, which is known as the tallest mountain peak in the Lower 48. This giant Sequoia tree is the third largest in the world and it continues to attract a hundred thousand both local and international tourists each year.

Things You Will Need

  • California map
  • Digital camera
  • Layered clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Camping equipment
  • Food and water
  • Guide map

Step 1

Scenic View of the Giant Sequoia Monument at Sequoia National Forest

Drive into the park through the nearby places of the Sequoia National Forest in the Central Valley, California. Start your journey from Fresno on the northern boundary, then proceed to neighboring Visalia and Porterville heading towards Bakersfield on the southern border of California.

The climate in Central Valley, California varies. During summer time, the weather can be very hot but it usually cools a little bit in the evening. Some of the entrance roads may be closed during the winter time for safety reasons (slippery) due to snow.

Step 2


Hike into the back-country of Sequoia. Stay at least one night at the famous "Bear Paw High Sierra Camp". It's about 12 miles through a one-way hike with an elevation that starts at about 6,700 feet going up to about 7,800 feet. You can see the creek crossings and the amazing views of the "Great Western Divide" when you start hiking at the Crescent Meadow.

A wilderness permit is required and this can be obtained at the Visitor Center. "Bear Paw High Sierra Camp" can provide their guests with tent cabins that have wooden floors and twin beds.

A central bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets are provided for all the visitors in this place. Their room rates include breakfast and dinner. You can also purchase boxed lunches.

Hike the "Long Meadow Grove" so that you can view more than a hundred giant Sequoia trees with diameters over 10 feet heading towards the "Trail of a Hundred Giants". The scenery of the giant trees will take your breath away, an amazing experience that any nature lover should try to encounter. This trail can be easily be accessible once you have a good guide map and compass. You'll also find the trail along "Western Divide Highway".

See the popular "General Sherman Tree" by walking the two-mile paved trail through the "Giant Forest" and you can view more towering and massive giant Sequoia trees with massive trunks. These giant Sequoia trees have an estimated age of about 2,000 up to 3,000 years old. You can also visit the "Giant Forest Museum" for additional information about these famous gigantic trees including the famous Sequoia National Park.

Step 3

Enjoy river rafting, and hiking at Sequoia National Forest. This place is not so popular compared to Yosemite National Park that is why some visitors want to go camping here because they can still enjoy and view the giant Sequoia trees in an area where it is no so visited by tourists.

If you're adventurous enough, you can hike and climb up to the top of the "Moro Rock". This is a large granite dome which is a beautiful site to see near the "Giant Forest".

You can take the hundred steps up to the top if you'll walk through the quarter mile trail. It could be exhausting but once you can see the view from the top, it's worth all the effort. The Great Western Divide is a wonderful site that hikers should see if they visit Sequoia National Forest.

You can also enjoy your trip through river rafting on the "Kern River". If you're not very familiar with rafting, there are guided tours down the different parts of the river. You can also select those winter activities that is offered at the Sequoia National Forest such as snow mobile rides, cross country and downhill skiing.

You can look for downhill skiing at Shirley Meadows through the Montecito Sequoia Lodge because they have plenty of cross country ski trails. Just make sure to inquire additional information with the forest rangers about allowed snowmobiling routes as well as the prohibited or restricted areas at Sequoia National Forest.

Step 4

Take a guided tour through the caves to see stalactites and stalagmites. Enjoy your trip by exploring the Boyden Cavern which is located along Highway 180 by the Kings River near Kings Canyon, Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Boyden Cavern is one of the most beautiful and spectacular caves on earth. You need to drive into Sequoia National Park where you'll pay a fee for your vehicle entrance charge at around twenty dollars ($20). This fee may change anytime and is not connected to the admission price at the Boyden Cavern so bring enough cash for car entrance fees.

Boyden Cavern is located beneath the sturdy 2,000 feet marble walls of "Kings Gates". Tourists all over the world are amazed to see the above ground man-made structure as well as the captivating natural beauty underground.

A forty five minute hiking tour is recommended for a group of people or entire family which will start with a steep five minute walk into the cavern's entrance down the deep underground location, where the temperature is continuously at its level for about fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (55oF). It's advisable to bring a jacket.

Visit the Crystal Cave and view the underground scenery of the Sequoia National Park. See the cave's stalactites and marbles made of limestone. The Crystal Cave is located near General's Highway between Ash Mountain entrance and the Giant Grove.

Crystal Cave Road is not open for trailers, RVs or other huge vehicles over 22 feet. You can reach the place by driving down a paved and winding road heading to Crystal Cave's parking lot. Once you arrive at their parking area, just walk a half mile to their entrance and you can start viewing the beauty of the place.

Step 5

Visit the famous "Forest Fire Lookout Station" in Central Valley, California. Sequoia National Forest has ten (10) lookouts within its boundaries and by the time you can reach the top, you'll be astounded of the great view of the multiple giant Sequoia trees.

Bring your digital camera for this unique and beautiful green scenery. There were more than 600 "Forest Fire Lookout" stations in the past that were located in various spots in Central California but many of them were later closed.

Step 6


Enjoy your trip by camping at the Dorst and Lodgepole Creek Campgrounds. These are the two campgrounds that you need to ask for reservation up to six months in advance. Ranger programs are very enjoyable to see at night and it is part of their camping tradition in many of the campgrounds of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Lodgepole Creek Campground can be reached two miles from the Giant Forest Sequoia Grove located on the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. Dorst Creek Campground is in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is located in Central Valley, California. These popular campgrounds have "Visitor Centers" with snack bars, markets, showers and laundry services.

There are also other campsites that you can see in the parks and most of them have picnic tables, fire grills and bear-proof storage boxes for food protection. Reservations can be made for the Lodgepole and Dorst Creek Campgrounds while other seasonal campsites do not require any reservation.

You can stay at Wuksachi Lodge and Mountain Resort and dine at their restaurants, enjoy cocktail lounge and shop at their retail ski store. Tourists who prefer not to camp generally stay at Wuksachi Lodge and Mountain Resort.

They provide elegant rooms with central heating, private baths, telephones, televisions, coffee makers and mini refs, ski racks, and daily services. You can easily view the breathtaking sceneries from various areas within the resort.

The General Sherman Tree which is the largest living tree in the world is also located at the Sequoia National Forest. It's known to be the largest because of its bulk and volume.

It is not considered the tallest Sequoia tree in the world, but it weighs a lot at about 2.7 million pounds. A lot of visitors want to view the "Nation's Christmas Tree" especially in the month of December.
Beautiful mountains, rivers, streams, plant species, wild animals especially the big bears and giant Sequoia trees make Sequoia National Forest one of the best recreational places to visit.

Sequoia trees are very famous in this park and usually have a width of 40 feet and a height of 275 feet. They can be best viewed during a hiking tour in groups of people or even for the whole family.

Tips & Warnings

Tips:

  • Visit the Giant Sequoia National Monument Southern Unit for a different scenic view in the Forest.
  • Giant Sequoias grow on the western slope located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Many of the tourists visit generally both the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon in Central Valley, California because they are very near to each other in terms of location. The Generals Highway is the main road that you can travel through these famous parks.
  • The Boyden Cavern have Speleothems that developed to resemble some objects just like the "Mom Stalagmites", "Taco Shell Formations" and "Baby Elephant". There is also a subterranean stream and many other unique features that you can enjoy during your trip.
  • The famous features inside Boyden Cavern include the "Pancake Room". This is a stalactite group known as the "Upside Down City". You can also see the "Bat Grotto" where thousands of bats spending their summer days sleeping.
  • Buy your tickets before going to the Crystal Cave because you need to be part of a guided tour prior viewing the place. Go directly at the Foothills or Lodgepole Visitor Center because they require buying your own ticket in person.
  • Another popular feature in the Boyden Cavern is the "Mother Nature's Wedding Cake" where you can see a magnificent flow stone formation. The Drapery Room have crystal Helictites that are artistically twisted, Stalactites, and long soda looking straws.
  • Sequoia National Park, is America's second oldest national park situated above the southern part of California's San Joaquin Valley. It is just near Kings Canyon National Park where the famous giant Sequoia trees, clear water running in the rivers, abundant wildlife, mountain peaks, and various species of plants and wild flowers can be seen.
Warning:
  • Group of visitors touring the Boyden Cavern will follow a well-lighted handrail equipped trail. This will guide them to view the natural formations. Tour reservations are usually not required and will leave approximately every hour. This tour does not allow children to be carried in backpacks for safety reasons.
  • If you want to visit Crystal Cave, take durable shoes and a jacket to warm your body because the cave's temperature is truly cold and can reach up 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Campground fees can be paid through cash or personal check but their staff can't make any change and their stores may also not be open to offer you the needed change.
  • Just bring enough cash for these fees so that you can save money during your travel.
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Comments

May 23, 2010 10:05pm
Deborah-Diane
I love visiting the Sequoias! Thanks for the thorough article about the Sequoia National Forest.
May 24, 2010 2:22am
goodselfme
Thank you for this great journey that you explained in good detail. 5*
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