Only have one day to explore Sequoia National park? No problem! Although you may only be scratching the surface of this enormous forest it’s still possible to catch amazing views, visit some of the largest tress in the world, and take a few short hikes in just a couple of hours. When Garrett and I visited a few weeks ago we did all this after a 6 hour drive from San Diego! Although we were exhausted by the end of the day it was worth every minute.
If your heading up from SoCal like us to see the Sequoias I recommend hitting the road by 3:30am that day. Putting your arrival time right around 10am. This will allow you 7-8 hours of daylight.
Our original plan had us hitting the road again after our day in Sequoia and heading up to Yosemite for day 2 of our trip. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our Yosemite day due to a massive wildfire. Out of grief I decided to wear my Yosemite t-shirt to Sequoia. Hopefully next year Garrett and I will get to head up to Yosemite, I’ve heard so many amazing things, I’m dying to see it’s beauty.
As mentioned, Garrett and I arrived in Sequoia around 10am. If your planning a visit be aware that it costs $30 per car, you’ll receive a pass that is good for 7 days. When you enter the park you’re on General’s Highway. This highway runs through the main section of the forest, and will bring you all the way through to the exit.
Our first attraction we wanted to see was called Crystal Cave. Although there are hundred of caves through out Sequoia National Park this is the only one open to the public. After driving about 15 minutes down the windy road I saw a sign that said “Sold Out”, perplexed I had Garrett turn around so we could get a closer look. Turns out, you need tickets to see Crystal Cave, you can buy them at the visitors center, but it seems they must sell out a lot. We turned around and headed back to the highway, our first stop a fail.
Up the highway a bit we veered off to check out Moro Rock. In the above pictures, Moro rock is where you can see expansive views of treetops and mountain ranges. The hike is short but it’s essentially just one big staircase so be ready to do some climbing! This stop only took us about 30 minutes! I highly recommend it.
Since we weren’t keeping ourselves on too strict of a time crunch we frequently stopped along the highway to explore anything we thought looked interesting. The first thing we stumbled upon was the giant tree stump. Can you believe that tree fell over 50 years ago! Of course we had to stop for a photo op! We pretty much stopped every time we saw a tree we liked, or gorgeous scenery. The pictures on the bridge, for example, were a random pit stop.
We really enjoyed taking it all in and not rushing a schedule.
Our next big stop was at the General Sherman Tree. And I mean big! The General Sherman tree is considered the largest tree in the world by volume!! Our Yi Action Camera (basically a knock off GoPro with the same camera qualities), came in handy when capturing these monstrosities. Most the time our phones/ other camera couldn’t capture the entire tree in the frame. Luckily the fish eye effect on the camera made for some awesome shots. I love the ones where it looks like the trees are wrapping around us.
We continued along the road and stopped at a few more lookout points, our next stop was intended to be Dorst Creek. To be honest, even after asking for direction were not sure if we ever saw the actual Dorst Creek. We saw some water but the lack of trails was concerning. We spent some time roaming in the forest and making our own fun before deciding to turn back before we got lost!
Off to see the second biggest tree! The General Grant Tree, also know as the Nations Christmas Tree. We were pretty exhausted at this point in the day and had the hardest time figuring out which tree was actually the General Grant… we probably just should’ve looked at the map!! After taking pictures of another tree for about 10 minutes we realized we were in the wrong spot! It just goes to show that all these trees are mind-blowingly massive.
Visiting Sequoia National Park reminded me of just how big and old the world is. The trees that exist here have survive for thousands of years and likely will survive for thousands more. It’s a great reminded that we must take care of the Earth and the wonders that call it home.