Sequoia National Park is administered along with Kings Canyon National Park, which means they’re located close together. This was my main decision in only spending one night in Sequoia, because the drive wouldn’t eat up too much of our time. So on our last morning in Kings Canyon, we slowly made our way back through the park towards Sequoia. Here’s how we spent 1 day in Sequoia National Park.
The biggest tree in the world
Sequoia National Park is popular for a reason. These trees are massive! You really can’t get a good sense of it without being there and looking up at these gigantic trees.
After checking in at our campground, we went in search of the General Sherman tree. It is the biggest tree in the world by volume, though not the tallest or the widest. You have to walk a little ways from a parking lot to get to it.
While the General Sherman tree is well worth a look, don’t forget to wander around and explore the area. There were other interesting trees plus info about the sequoia trees so you could learn a little more about them.
The path is downhill on the way to the tree, but on the way back the uphill walk was really getting to me. I know I’m out of shape, but this seemed extreme. And then we passed a sign tough walking back up the hill from the tree that pointed out just how high the altitude was – 7000 feet!
Other things to do in Sequoia National Park
Since seeing the General Sherman tree doesn’t take too much time, you might be wondering what else to do in Sequoia National Park. If you’re an avid hiker, there are plenty of trails to explore and connect with nature.
One of the more popular hikes is climbing Moro Rock. It’s a big granite rock with spectacular views, and you have to climb over 350 stairs to get to the top. This is a difficult climb, and since the elevation was kicking my butt (a theme for much of the trip unfortunately) we did not climb it. We did drive to it and saw what we could from the base, but I knew I couldn’t handle that climb.
However, we did go check out the tunnel log. In the 1930s, a sequoia tree fell across Crescent Meadow Road, and a tunnel was cut in it as a tourist attraction. It is 17 feet wide and 8 feet high, and if your vehicle is smaller than that, you can drive through it. There is a bypass so you can go around if your vehicle is too tall.
Simply driving around the park is an attraction on its own. The scenery is gorgeous coming into and out of the park on either end. We entered from the northern part of the park, east of Fresno, and we exited through the southern part, heading towards Bakersfield. We even saw a bear up in a tree on our way out, but we weren’t able to get a photo.
Where to camp in Sequoia National Park
We camped at the Lodgepole campground within Sequoia National Park, and even though it was just for one night, Andy and I thought it was a pretty good campground. It was easy to find and a good location for exploring the park. It was also really close to the visitors center, which was convenient.
This was also where we finally found out we could leave food in our van’s fridge instead of having to put all of it into the bear box. At Yosemite, we arrived after the campground staff had left, and at Kings Canyon, it was already off season so they didn’t have any staff around at the campground. With no one we could ask about the bear boxes, so we erred on the side of caution and put everything in there.
But it turns out the fridge in our Jucy Van was secure enough that we could leave food in there. Good to know, but a bit frustrating to learn about it on our last night in bear country.
Why you should buy a national park pass
The normal entrance fee for Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park is $35. If that’s the only park you’re visiting on your trip, and if you don’t plan on going to more than two national parks all year, it’s fine to simply pay the fee. But if you’re going to multiple parks, it is well worth buying a national park pass.
The America the Beautiful pass costs $80 and is valid for one year. It covers admission for the pass holder plus anyone else in the car. While shopping at REI, the cashier mentioned they sell the national park passes. Many times throughout our trip, I was so happy we bought one through them because we didn’t have to worry about it anywhere along the way.
Even though we only had 1 day in Sequoia National Park, Andy and I really enjoyed our time there. It was fascinating to see the huge trees, and it was a gorgeous park to explore. For a smaller national park, there are still lots of things to do in Sequoia National Park, and I recommend adding it to your national park road trip itinerary.
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- 2 Days in Yosemite National Park
- 2 Days in Kings Canyon National Park
- 1 Day in Bryce Canyon National Park
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