The Sequoia National Forest in California

Entering Sequoia National Forest from the Southern portion.
Entering Sequoia National Forest from the Southern portion. | Source
The monument is divided in two sections, the northern portion and the southern portion.  The portions are spearated by Kings Canyon National Park
The monument is divided in two sections, the northern portion and the southern portion. The portions are spearated by Kings Canyon National Park | Source

Sequoia National Forest

5 stars for Sequoia National Forest
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Many Rock formations areas have parking allowed on the side of the road to stop and take pictures.The first Sequoia tree we saw.Hard to believe this was a baby one.Walking between two giant sequoia trees.
Many Rock formations areas have parking allowed on the side of the road to stop and take pictures.
Many Rock formations areas have parking allowed on the side of the road to stop and take pictures. | Source
The first Sequoia tree we saw.
The first Sequoia tree we saw. | Source
Hard to believe this was a baby one.
Hard to believe this was a baby one. | Source
Walking between two giant sequoia trees.
Walking between two giant sequoia trees. | Source

The Giant Red Wood Trees of California, that is how I always remember what the Sequoia was. Going to school I always heard about how these trees were the largest in the world. How you could literally drive your car through one of them. This was one of the many places on my "must see" list and finally in 2008 I was able to go to the Sequoia National Forest and see these magnificent trees.

The Sequoia National Forest has the greatest concentration of giant sequoia groves in the world. These groves are in a protected National Monument area and all around them is managed by the U.S. Forest Service for today and future generations.

There are 33 groves of giant sequoia trees. Some of the ones that are the easiest to get to (using a car) are:

  • the Converse Basin Grove
  • the Boole Tree
  • Indian Basin Grove
  • Belknap Complex
  • Long Meadow Grove
  • The Trail of 100 Giants
  • Freeman Creek Grove
  • the Bush Loop Trail

This National Forest is divided into two sections which are separated by Kings Canyon National Park. The northern portion is in the Hume Lake Ranger District and the southern portion is in the Western Divide Ranger District. We went in through the southern portion of the Forest. When entering from the southern area you can visit the Mineral King Area, the Foothills area and then you get into the Giant Forest. There are Visitor Centers, picnic areas, camp sites along the roadside.

Given the names of these parks, The Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park, you expect giant trees and huge canyons and you won't be disappointed. Yet the whole of the parks is even greater than the sum of their famous parts.

Rising from 1300 feet to 14,494 feet, these parks protect a spectacular elevations range. This span from low to high means dramatic shifts from hot foothills to shady forests to the cold High Sierra. It means extraordinarily diverse plants and animals living in extremely varied conditions. It means steep roads and trails that climb mountains, and cold rivers that plunge down from their heights. There are so many paths to take, roads to travel, and sights to see that if you plan on doing it in one day you need to get an early start.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The foothills.Looking out with Moro Rock on the far left side.The mountains are amazing!Moro Rock.Looking down at the winding road that got us up the mountain.
The foothills.
The foothills. | Source
Looking out with Moro Rock on the far left side.
Looking out with Moro Rock on the far left side. | Source
The mountains are amazing!
The mountains are amazing! | Source
Moro Rock.
Moro Rock. | Source
Looking down at the winding road that got us up the mountain.
Looking down at the winding road that got us up the mountain. | Source

Things To Do

Giant Forest area

  • Giant Forest Museum - The best place to learn about sequoias.
  • Big Trees Trail - a 2/3 mile loop that has colorful trail side panels describing sequoia ecology. Starts at the Giant Forest Museum.
  • General Sherman Tree - Two trails run to the world's largest tree.
  • Crescent Meadow - Summer wildflowers in a fragile meadow. Stay on designated trails.
  • Tunnel Log - A fallen sequoia that was tunneled through and the only "tree you can drive through" in the parks. There is a by pass for larger vehicles. 2.7 miles from the Museum.
  • Tokopah Falls - 1.7 miles along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. Ends at granite cliffs and a waterfall.
  • Hospital Rock Picnic Area - Exhibits about the Western Mono people who once lived here and a very short trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps leads to a waterfall.
  • Marble Falls Trail - Climbs 3.9 miles through chaparral to a lovely cascade.

show route and directions
A markerGiant Forest Museum -
Giant Forest Museum, Kings Canyon National Park, Generals Hwy, Fresno, CA 93271, USA
[get directions]

B markerGeneral Sherman Tree -
General Sherman tree, Kings Canyon National Park, California 93262, USA
[get directions]

C markerTokopah Falls -
Tokopah Falls, Kings Canyon National Park, California 93262, USA
[get directions]

D markerTunnel Log -
Kings Canyon National Park, 86724 State Highway 180, Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633, USA
[get directions]

E markerGeneral Grant Tree -
General Grant Tree, Kings Canyon National Park, California 93628, USA
[get directions]

F markerMoro Rock -
Moro Rock, Kings Canyon National Park, California 93262, USA
[get directions]

G markerSequoia National Forest -
Sequoia National Forest, 1839 S Newcomb St, Porterville, CA 93257, USA
[get directions]

Tunnel Log
Tunnel Log | Source
My mini van next to the roots of a Giant Sequoia that had fallen over.
My mini van next to the roots of a Giant Sequoia that had fallen over. | Source
Climbing the roots of the fallen Sequoia
Climbing the roots of the fallen Sequoia | Source
"Drop, I'll catch you!"
"Drop, I'll catch you!" | Source

Grant Grove area

  • General Grant Tree - One of the world's largest living trees. President Coolidge proclaimed it the Nation's Christmas Tree in 1926. It is also a National Shrine, the only living memorial to those who died in war.
  • North Grove Loop - This lightly traveled, 1-1/2 mile trail provides a close look at the Sequoias and a quiet walk through conifer forest.
  • Dead Giant Loop - Speculate on what killed this sequoia, and enjoy a picturesque view of an historic mill pond.
  • Buena Vista Peak - Park just south of Kings Canyon Overlook on Generals Highway, 7 miles south of Grant Grove. 360 degree vista of Redwood Canyon, Buck Rock, Lookout and High Sierra.
  • Redwood Canyon - Dirt road, bumpy, not plowed. This is the worlds largest sequoia grove and has acres of rejuvenating forest from 40 years of prescribed fires, showing the positive relationship between fire and sequoias.
  • Big Baldy Ridge - Great views out and down into Redwood Canyon.
  • Kings Canyon Overlook - Look Northeast to the High Sierra wilderness at this overlook about 6 miles south of Grant Grove.
  • Redwood Mountain Overlook - Look west over one of the world's largest sequoia groves.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking up to the top of the trees.The sequoias are huge.Sisterly Love.Some of the trees were sort of climbable.HUGE!Remnents of a fire in the forest.The foot of two giant trees.
Looking up to the top of the trees.
Looking up to the top of the trees. | Source
The sequoias are huge.
The sequoias are huge. | Source
Sisterly Love.
Sisterly Love. | Source
Some of the trees were sort of climbable.
Some of the trees were sort of climbable. | Source
HUGE!
HUGE! | Source
Remnents of a fire in the forest.
Remnents of a fire in the forest. | Source
The foot of two giant trees.
The foot of two giant trees. | Source

The Kings Canyon and Ceder Grove Area

  • Canyon View - The "U" shape of this canyon reveals its glacial history.
  • Knapp's Cabin - During the roaring '20s, Santa Barbara businessman George Knapp commissioned lavish fishing expeditions here, using this small cabin to sore his gear.
  • Roaring River Falls - A shady 5 minute walk to a powerful waterfall rushing through a narrow granite chute.
  • Zumwalt Meadow - This 1-1/2 mile trail offers high granite walls, lush meadows and the winding Kings River.
  • Road's End - Here where the pavement ends are high granite walls and trails to the river, Muir Rock and the High Sierra. No road continues across the Sierra.

Moro Rock

Moro Rock is a granite dome rock formation that is located in the center of the national park. It sits at an elevation of 6,725 feet. There is a stairway that was designed by the National Park Service and was built in the 1930. It is cut into and poured onto the rock so visitors can hike to the top of it. This stairway has 400 steps and is 797 feet long. This of course is NOT stroller friendly (for those of you with small children). As of June 2012, the road to Moro Rock is open to general traffic only during weekdays; on weekends, the shuttle is running and the road is closed to general traffic. The views from the top of Moro Rock are so breath taking. We were able to be up there right before the sunset and it was so beautiful. The mountains and canyons lit up like nothing I have ever seen before.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The view of the canyon when we were walking up Moro Rock.Walking up the path to Moro Rock.A beautiful sunset on top of Moro Rock.
The view of the canyon when we were walking up Moro Rock.
The view of the canyon when we were walking up Moro Rock. | Source
Walking up the path to Moro Rock.
Walking up the path to Moro Rock. | Source
A beautiful sunset on top of Moro Rock.
A beautiful sunset on top of Moro Rock. | Source

Seeing these amazing trees has always been a dream of mine and there are no words to describe how incredible they are. The size of these trees is just phenomenal. They will hopefully be around another million years or more for all generations to enjoy. Although I loved the trees, my favorite part of the entire trip was hiking to the top of Moro Rock. This is definitely a trip that everyone in the family could love. It's perfect for the adventure seeking, outdoor type of person.

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Comments 12 comments

Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

Wow, this place looks amazing - I would love to visit one day. We have a few sequoias dotted around England, which were brought over and planted by the Victorians, and while they dwarf our English trees they are still not a patch on the giants shown in your pictures.

thanks for a fascinating hub :)


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC Author

Imogen French - That is so awesome you have some sequoia's around England. That is one place I would love to visit someday. The size of these giant trees is turely amazing!!! Thanks for reading and the comment :)


Doodlehead profile image

Doodlehead 4 years ago from Northern California

Really nice elicitation of all the individual trees.


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC Author

Doodlehead - Thanks :)


leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

I love, love, love the Sequoias and Kings Canyon. Have you ever read the book The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston? It is a very interesting book about the giant redwoods.


innerspin profile image

innerspin 4 years ago from uk

Really enjoyed your hub. We saw some ancient woodlands in Canada, it's quite humbling to stand among the giant trees. Your pictures are really interesting, especially seeing the roots. I'd love to visit the area.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

I've been there! And just like you, I was totally amazed by its mesmerizing beauty. Thanks for this great review and lovely photos. Rated way up!


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC Author

leahlefler - I have never read that book, I'll have to see if I can find it at our bookstore :) Thanks for the heads up :) And thanks for reading and the comment too!


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC Author

innerspin - That's interesting that Canada has some great places like this to visit. The roots were my favorite. I couldn't believe how HUGE they were :) Thanks for stopping by and the comment!!!


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC Author

Om - So glad you have been here to see the beauty of it all :) I'm glad you loved my photos! Thanks for the rates and the comment!


SidKemp profile image

SidKemp 3 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

You bring back fond memories of trips to the Redwoods over 30 years ago. And I really like the photos of the tunnel log and the other ways you show the size of these beautiful monsters!


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 3 years ago from Spring Lake, NC Author

Sid - I had always heard about the size of these trees and didn't actually believe it until we saw them! They definately are monsters!!! I can't wait to go back :)

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