I adored our visit to Sequoia National Park. Sequoia National Park is part of a complex of national parks (including Kings Canyon National Park), monuments, and forests. It has a great amount of designated wilderness and is a paradise for backpacking. We got a great spot at the Lodgepole Campground, right next to the amphitheater! There were Ranger talks there every night, and we got to catch a few, including one on the Buffalo Soldiers and one on mushrooms!
We had about 10 days at the park. After we got Goose’s sling off (see Santa Barbara, adventures and misadventures) and cast on, we were able to get started.
We kicked the trip off with the Tokopah Falls Trail – a 1.7 mile gentle uphill which finishes at a grand falls. There are some fun parts of the trail where you get to squeeze through giant boulders.
That hike took us about half the day, so we took the afternoon to go see the biggest tree in the forest. (And the world). General Sherman. It’s a high traffic destination, and during the regular season a shuttle is available. They have two stops for Sherman, one at the top of the trail where you can walk down to the tree, and one right by the tree itself.
The same shuttle system, or a network of paved paths, can take you to other well traveled groves. You can spend a few days exploring these sections and we did. We hit the Big Trees trail which featured… big trees. We didn’t thoroughly explore this area, but we know we’re going to come back.
We did a few other hikes as well. A favorite of ours from previous trips is The High Sierra Trail. This is a great backpacking entry point. It starts in the forests, climbs a small ridge, and passes some sequoias along the way. One you reach the end of this section, you’re greeted with amazing views into the foothills and
further into the sierras.
The trail continues along the side of the ridge, and frankly it was terrifying with the girls. I’m pretty sure Bunny almost walked off the cliff at some point. I use my hiking poles to tap them back towards the safer part of the trail. We walked until we found a good rest spot.
Dorst Creek was another repeat trail for Bear, but new for me. It’s a short an easy trail to a hidden grove of Sequoias. Unlike the more accessible trails to Sequoia groves, this one is quite solitary. The trail travels up Dorst Creek under heavy forest. We kept busy by playing scavenger hike. I give the girls certain trees, plants, rocks, etc to look for and they get a point whenever they spot it first. This time we looked for granite (easy), incense cedar, and shelf mushrooms.
Along some potions of the trail, you can see the destination grove across the creek. It’s pretty cool spotting the “broccoli tops” of the giant sequoias. Eventually you cross the creek and walk back towards the grove. We found a nice picnic spot at the foot of a tree.
We did one driving day, where we headed towards the neighboring Kings Canyon. We found some LTE signal at a neat overlook filled with Cairns and had a surprise visitor in the truck. A giant red and black wasp thing that nearly made us drive off the cliff! No photo, we were too busy screaming.
Between hiking, sightseeing, and just plain relaxing- I really loved our time at this park. The forest is amazing, the big trees are awe inspiring and the whole experience left me feeling rejuvenated and content. We’re planning to return next year and introduce the girls to some backcountry multi day hikes.