Sequoia National Park is filled with massive mountains, long hiking trails, rushing waterfalls, and trees that have been around for centuries. While there are so many things to see and do in this beautiful park, you will find there are ample times to sit back and relax during your visit.
14 Things to See and Do in Sequoia National Park
1. Stop at the Visitor Center
Whenever you visit a national park, you must stop at the Visitor Center. This is an excellent place to learn more about the park, as well as what there is to do there. There is a small museum inside that contains interactive exhibits, as well as a video that plays every twenty minutes. This is the best place to grab maps and your permit if you want to hike the backcountry. Don’t forget to talk to one of the rangers before you leave.
2. Read Every Interactive Sign You See
Interactive signs have been placed all around the park and they are wonderful ways to learn new facts as you are exploring.
3. See the Petroglyphs
The petroglyphs from the Monache Native Americans can be found down near the Foothills Visitor Center. The best ones are on Hospital Rock. You will also see a couple bedrock mortars in this area, which is proof Native Americans lived here.
4. Take in the Views from Beetle Rock Lookout
You can stop at Beetle Rock Lookout to appreciate the views at any time of the day. However, the best time to visit is right before the sun sets in the sky. The ambiance is very romantic, and you can easily relive the moments of your day when you are there. Beetle Rock Lookout is a great place to take photos of the Park
5. Climb the Steps to Morro Rock
There are four hundred steps leading up to Morro Rock, but don’t let them stop you from experiencing the beauty from the top. Those steps spiral around until you reach the top. Once there, you will be rewarded with views of the Great Western Divide and the canyons.
6. Drive Through a Tree
A large sequoia tree fell down in Crescent Meadow and an arch was created for people to drive through. This tree has been laying across the road since 1937 and a picture underneath is a must, because it is the only way you can truly appreciate the size of the sequoias.
7. Be Mesmerized by the General Sherman Tree
The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the entire world. This tree is almost three hundred feet tall, more than one hundred feet around, and weighs over thirteen hundred tons. General Sherman Tree is also two thousand years old! There are railings around this tree to protect the tree and its roots. Therefore, it is imperative that you stay on the paths and never touch this tree or get too close.
8. Hike to the Summit of Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney is more than fourteen thousand feet tall and you can hike to the summit. This hike is twenty-two miles round trip and you can do it either in a very long one-day hike or take two days to truly appreciate it. Hiking Mount Whitney summit does require a hiking permit, so you’ll need to plan ahead and get the permit ahead of time.
9. Explore Crystal Cave
You will find Crystal Cave near the Foothills Visitor Center and you must purchase tickets if you want to explore it. The inside of Crystal Cave is filled with stalagmites and stalactites. This cave is only open during the summer months and it does get crowded. Therefore, it is best if you purchase your tickets online in advance.
10. Climb to the Top of Buck Rock Lookout
Buck Rock Lookout is a fire lookout that offers breathtaking views of the entire park and surrounding area. You must climb up one hundred seventy-two steps to reach the top. This is not a climb for those who do not like hikes, but if you do make it up there, you will be rewarded.
11. Trek Along the Tokopah Falls Trail
The Tokopah Falls Trail is just over three and a half miles round trip. It is an easy trail that leads you directly to the Tokopah waterfall. The waterfall is twelve hundred feet tall. This trail has a slight incline, but it is so gradual you will not even know it is there. You will find the trailhead on Lodgepole Road, which is directly past the visitor center. When you reach the falls, you can go swimming in the shallow pools at the base.
12. Walk the Giant Forest Loop
One of the best ways to see some of the massive sequoia trees is to walk along the Giant Forest Loop. This loop is seven and a half miles and it is not too difficult. It is best to start your journey along this trail at the Sugar Pine Trailhead, which is at the Crescent Meadows parking area. You will see many trees on this hike, but make sure you don’t miss the infamous General Sherman Tree.
13. Go Down a Waterslide at Alder Creek
There is a natural waterslide at Alder Creek. The natural waterslide is a smooth slab of granite and it twists and turns all the way to the pool below. While you can go down on your own, most people take a tube with them, because it offers a smoother ride.
14. Attend the Dark Sky Festival
The Dark Sky Festival is the largest night sky festival in California. There are approximately fifty different programs offered during the festival. You can see them in locations that include Giant Forest, Foothills, and Lake Kaweah. Some of the fun you will experience will include live musical performances, movies, guest speakers, and tours. However, the highlight of your night will be stargazing.
These are the fourteen things to see and do in Sequoia National Park. As you can see, you will never be bored during your visit. Yet, you will have plenty of time to relax, as you indulge in some of the best beauty in the entire world.