Find your “awe-inspiring” moment.
The great northern region is comprised of Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forest, and Giant Sequoia National Monument.
With over 900,000 acres of wilderness, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have a dramatic presence and undeniable beauty. Starting in the foothills and stretching across the Great Western Divide, while encompassing a vertical climb to 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park includes among it’s natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,494 feet (4,418 m).
The diverse land promises to inspire with towering old growth forests of Giant Sequoias, plunging glacial canyons, deep river valleys, pristine alpine lakes, massive granite monoliths, and soaring mountain peaks. A lifetime of adventure, exploration, and awe-inspiring moments await in this vast natural treasure.
So, let us help you get started.
Giant Forest Museum, Congress Trail, Crescent Meadow, Moro Rock, Crystal Cave, and Mineral King.
Visit the Giant Forest Museum as the starting point for your exploration of the Giant Forest. Learn the story of the Giant Sequoias and the Giant Forest on a stroll around beautiful Round Meadow. Trailside exhibits help tell the story of the park on this one-mile, paved, wheelchair accessible, looped trail.
Moro Rock is a giant granite dome located in the center of the park. It offers spectacular views of the Great Western Divide, Castle Rocks, and the eastern half of Sequoia National Park. Climb to the summit of Moro Rock following a steep quarter-mile railed staircase, where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Crystal Cave open May through November (weather permitting), is formed of marble and decorated with curtains of icicle-like stalactites and mounds of stalagmites. This spectacular cave was first discovered by Sequoia National Park employees in 1918, and has been a visitor favorite since tours began in 1940. A variety of tours are offered throughout the season: the Family Tour, the Discovery Tour, and the Junior Caver Tour, where kids can leave the paved trail for an in- depth cave adventure. Crystal Cave can be reached by heading west from the Generals Highway along a narrow road, three miles south of General Sherman Tree. The cave entrance is a 20 minute hike down a steep path to the cave entrance. Make sure to bring a jacket or sweater as the cave is rather chilly. For the best place to get tickets at the time and dates desired, visit www.explorecrystalcave.com.
If you are looking for a casual sightseeing trip, look no further, because you just found it.
Whether it’s a weekend or a week, there is plenty to see and do for the whole family. Numerous campgrounds are available for RVs and tent campers in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sequoia National Forest, and Giant Sequoia National Monument.
Lodgepole Campground is just minutes away from Giant Forest, and it is nestled at the mouth of a deep glacial valley. Lodgepole Campground is the trailhead for many great day hikes, including trails to Tokopah Falls and high glacial lakes. Bring your fishing pole and catch some fresh trout for dinner, because this campground is right on the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River.
Other campgrounds in the area include Dorst Creek and Stony Creek, and at lower elevations, Buckeye Flat and Potwisha, as well as numerous campgrounds at Hume Lake.
Feel like getting off the beaten path? Atwell Mill and Cold Springs campgrounds provide tent-only camping, and are located just minutes from the gorgeous Mineral King Valley. Camp among the towering Giant Sequoias, and enjoy day hikes and fishing at the alpine lakes surrounding this pristine alpine valley.
Visit these sites for more camping information:
fs.usda.gov/activity/sequoia/recreation/camping-cabins | nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
For some, no camping trip is complete without fishing. The Sequoias offer some
of the best trout fishing in California. Cast a line at Hume Lake, fly fish on the Kings or Kaweah rivers, just steps away from your campsite, or hike to more secluded alpine lakes in Mineral King, Jennie Lakes Wilderness, or the glacial Heather and Pear Lakes out of Wolverton.
So you need some blood-pumping fun to clear your mind and escape the daily grind?
Well, how does some hiking, running, rock climbing, backpacking, trekking, horseback riding, cycling, kayaking, OHV riding, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the Sequoias sound?
Hiking & Trail Running
Looking for some fun away from basecamp? Here are a few trails you might be interested in for day hiking or trail running.
Tokopah Falls Trail
The Tokopah Falls Trail is a 3.4 mile out-and-back trail that follows the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River up a deep glaciated canyon out of Lodgepole. Standing guard over this canyon is The Watchtower, a granite monolith rising almost 2,000 feet straight up from the canyon floor. Rising 700 feet in total, the trail is an easy yet scenic hike. Tokopah Falls is seasonal, so enjoy the dramatic falls in the spring as water plunges 1,300 feet in a little over a half a mile. In the summer, enjoy the cliffs and take advantage of the slick granite playground along the river.
The Lakes Trail
The Lakes Trail is an 13-mile out-and-back trail that leads to the top of The Watchtower and on to four glacial lakes. With approximately 2,700 feet of altitude gain, you’ll be sure to break a sweat. Reach the Watchtower at mile 3.5, Heather Lake at 4.0, Aster and Emerald Lakes at 4.5, and Pear Lake at 6.5 miles. Turn around whenever you please, but that might be hard to do once you’re there.
Some others to consider: Alta Peak Trail, Franklin Lakes Trail, and Twin Lakes Trail.
(“Trekking,” to our guests from across the pond)
Hamilton Lakes Trail
Hamilton Lakes Trail is a 31 mile out-and-back trail that leads you to some of the finest scenery and stunning lakes in Sequoia National Park. This trail takes you past stunning granite formations like Sugarbowl Dome, Angel Wings, and Valhalla Towers, and ends at pristine Hamilton Lake — a favorite backpack for locals — with excellent fishing and memorable vistas. Plan ahead to enjoy hot showers, hearty meals, and the comfort of a tent cabin on the first night at Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp.
The High Sierra Trail
The High Sierra Trail is a 62 mile point-to- point trail that traverses the Sierra Nevadas between the big trees at the Giant Forest and Mt. Whitney. The trail winds through some of the most inspiring terrain the Sierra Nevadas have to offer, including soaring peaks, glacial alpine lakes, and plunging canyons. You’ll need to arrange a shuttle from one side of the Sierras to the other, but the effort is well worth it. This is a week-long trek you’ll never forget.
For more information visit:
Executive Director of
Sequoia Parks Conservancy
The New York native, Mark Tilchen fell in love with the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks 38 years ago. He began with the park concessioner and has been Executive Director of the Sequoia Parks Conservancy for the past 20 years.
During his tenure, Mark has grown the park’s small association into a strong ed- ucational and philanthropic non-profit, known as the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.
Several countries have followed the concept of America’s National Park system using it as an ex- ample for their own parks. “For me, it’s giving back and also teaching people why the parks are so important, why we need to protect, support, and value them more,” Mark said.
“Once you begin working for an organization like the Conservancy,” said Mark, “you see the amazing things that can be done, including research and helping protect wildlife; I think as you see what your work is going towards, it’s an incredible contribution.”
Mark will retire this year to travel and see more Nation- al Parks, but Sequoia and Kings Canyon will forever be a part of him. “I love these parks, and I’m going to continue to volunteer and assist the organization. Our National Parks are an amazing place.”
Want to put your feet up and enjoy the scenery with all the comforts of home?
Or maybe you’ve had your fill of adventure and are ready for rest and recuperation? We’ve got you covered! Stay in a lodge or rent a rustic cabin, and you’ll probably want to bring a good book.
Silver City Mountain Resort
This true getaway is just minutes from Mineral King for those who want to unplug and unwind. This historic mountain settlement is off the grid and generates its own power for 10 hours a day. At 10 p.m. the lights go out and the lanterns are lit. A variety of chalets and family cabins with full kitchens are available to suit any need. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and a dinner, and a store is available for your convenience. Guided hikes and fly fishing trips into Mineral King by local experts are also available.
John Muir Lodge
Nestled in the midst of Grant Grove Village, surrounded by towering sequoias, and just a quick walk from the General Grant Tree, the lodge has provided an authentic Kings Canyon experience for two decades. But as of late 2014, even longtime loyalists can get a new perspective on the year-round destination, courtesy of a comprehensive renovation. The 36-room lodge has maintained its classically comfortable style through the $400,000+ update. Guests can now enjoy everything from new soft goods, like carpeting and bedding, to fresh furniture, like lounge chairs and headboards. In keeping with concessionaire Delaware North’s GreenPath philosophy, materials including furniture, carpeting, fabric, and blinds are sustainably sourced from materials like reclaimed wood and “green” textiles.
Sequoia National Park’s newest and most modern hotel accommodation, this lodge has spacious rooms, a full service restaurant, and a retail and ski shop located in its impressive stone and cedar lodge. It is open year-round.
Montecito Sequoia Lodge
Located off the General’s Scenic Highway, on the Giant Sequoia National Monument, the Montecito Sequoia Lodge has cabins and lodge rooms available. Set on a private lake, enjoy swimming and paddling, or soak in a hot tub. Meals are provided, so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery.
Cedar Grove Village
Located in the heart of Kings Canyon National Park at Cedar Grove Village, this lodge is the perfect basecamp for exploring the canyon. Nestled on the banks of the powerful Kings River, the lodge offers 21 cozy rooms, a snack bar, a general store, and laundry facilities to keep you spoiled with all the amenities of home, while you take in the grandeur of this deep glaciated canyon. Cedar Grove is a 35 mile drive through the Sequoia National Forest from Grant Grove Village.
Stony Creek Lodge
Nestled in the Giant Sequoia National Monument between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Stony Creek is a great location for guests to explore the area. This small rustic lodge offers 11 rooms with private baths, and has a snack bar, market, and seasonal gas station on-site.
Sequoia High Sierra Camp
This is the perfect place to get a taste of the backcountry without having to rough it. You will discover 32 luxurious tent cabins overlooking Kings Canyon after a short mile-long hike through stands of Red Fir and Lodgepole Pine. Wake up to a hearty breakfast buffet and get a picnic lunch to enjoy later whether you’re on a trail, fishing a stream, or reading a book at camp. Enjoy a five course dinner prepared by the camp chef, and retire to a comfortable bed in your private tent cabin suite whenever you please.
Bearpaw High Sierra Camp
A rustic tent cabin camp located 11.5 miles down the High Sierra Trail, deep into the Sequoia National Park backcountry. Bearpaw offers six tent cabins perched atop a granite saddle overlooking the Great Western Divide. A generous home-style breakfast and dinner are served daily, so you’ll have all the energy you need to explore some of the finest alpine terrain in the Sierra Nevadas.
Closer to Civilization
If you like to be a little closer to civilization, Three Rivers is just down the hill, and offers quiet, riverside getaways and lodging. An abundance of lodging and fine dining are also available in Exeter and Visalia, just under an hour drive from Sequoia National Park.
Explore some of the most gorgeous snowy terrain in the world, and be inspired by the majesty of snowcapped Giant Sequoias.
Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding can all be enjoyed within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sequoia National Forest, and Giant Sequoia National Monument.
Grant Grove Village & Wuksachi Lodge
Grant Grove and Wuksachi Lodge include great snow play areas and also offer ski and shoe rentals. Free ranger-guided snowshoe tours are available (weather permitting). Wolverton Meadow is a fantastic area for sledding, and is also the winter trailhead for cross-country ski and snowshoe excursions to Pear Lake Ski Hut.
Pear Lake Winter Hut
Pear Lake Ski Hut is reachable only by a steep six-mile trail. This advanced ski/snowshoe trail offers a chance to explore the pristine wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas during winter. The hut sleeps 10, and it is heated by a wood pellet stove. Reservations required.
Snowmobilers will find their paradise within the Sequoia National Forest at the Cherry Gap, Big Meadow, and Millwood winter trailheads. Plow through the snow among the Giant Sequoias, and savor the breathtaking scenery of the High Sierras in winter. Make sure to check regulations and stay on designated trails. Sorry, no boondocking allowed.
For more information on winter recreation, visit: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/things2do.htm