Made famous for its impressive groves of towering trees, the Sequoia National Park is a popular destination for a good reason. Following its discovery and the subsequent harvesting of its plentiful lumber supply, the Sequoia National Park became only the second national park, preceded by Yellowstone. With more than 600 miles of land within its boundaries, this park features more than just the giant trees it is most known for. Visiting the sequoia groves is a favorite pastime, but so is exploring the crystal cave, the sole cave of more than 200 open to the public. Regardless of your interests, venturing to the Sequoia National Park is an item worth crossing off your bucket list.
What makes the sequoia groves so spectacular is that the particular breed of giant sequoia that grows to such massive heights only naturally occurs in a region of just 60 miles. Park staff estimate there are around 40 distinct groves of giant sequoia trees within the park. Driving through the groves are not permitted, but there are plenty of walking tours and even opportunities to climb certain sequoias (with proper equipment, of course).
Sequoias can typically grow to exceed heights of 200 feet, and many have surpassed 300 feet. They are the second oldest kind of living tree below the bristlecone pines of the White Mountains. There are a number of trails that weave through the forests, including the Big Trees Trail, a 1-mile loop that is one of the more popular trails among visitors.
Found in the Giant Forest is General Sherman, considered to be the tallest living sequoia tree. While its age is not known, it is estimated that the tree is well over 2000 years old. With a base width of more than 36 feet and a still-rising height of 275 feet, General Sherman is an impressive specimen. There are shuttles which take patrons to the grove and allow them to pass by General Sherman. The tree is surrounded by a fence for its protection and preservation, but its massive size is sure to inspire awe.
In this underground trail, numerous growths of white crystalline marble provide an enchanting, accessible environment. Rangers offer guided tours of the cave and provide information on the history, formation, and key features; they also serve as a layer of protection from potential vandals. There are regions in the cave that bear natural streams, and the temperature inside the cave is always a chilly 48℉, but the rare geological sight is worth the effort of bundling up.
The Sequoia National Park is worth visiting; with knowledgeable rangers, a host of incredible vegetation, and opportunities for engagement beyond the infamous trees, it certainly deserves the impressive reputation it has earned since its opening in the early 20th century.