This past Presidents Day weekend, we decided to head up Sequoia National Park with a couple of friends. Only a 4.5 hour drive from the bay area, the park has some of the most amazing views of giant sequoia trees (home to the world’s largest tree) and provides plenty of great hiking trails for all levels.
Heading out right after lunch we arrived at into the park right at sunset, I was surprised the ground was covered in 3-4 feet of snow, since it was such a beautiful day. We stopped and took some sunset shots, then headed to Wuksachi Lodge.
One of the few lodges that is open during the winter season, it had a nice little lounge area, where you can borrow games from the front desk and sit in front of the fireplace. We decided to have dinner at the lodge, the service was horrendous. The food although not significantly overpriced was either too salty or too bland. TIP: If you come during winter season, bring your own food. If you are visiting during the summer, there are plenty of options as well as a market place and outdoor fire grills at the nearby Lodgepole Village.
We got up early Saturday to get in a full days worth of hiking in. Our first stop was visiting General Sherman (the largest tree in the world – by volume).
The tree was an amazing sight, the trunk of the tree is about the width of three highway lanes. There are plenty of trails to take from General Sherman, however, we decided to drive a little further and start our hike at the Giant Forest Museum.
The Museum is a great place to get any questions answered and speak to the NPS about recommended trails and must see sights.
Tip: Arrive early, parking is limited and people start to surround the sights at around 11am. The earlier the better to ensure great photos where no bystanders will be in your shot!
Across the road from the Museum, we decided to start with an easy 1.5 mile hike to Sunset Rock. After about a mile we arrived on a large granite dome that provides great views anytime of the day. Tip: Come back around sunset if the weather permits and watch the sunset. Bring flash lights and maybe a few beers!
Next we headed towards Moro Rock. The roads to the rock are closed during the winter, so in order to get there we needed to hike the trail that is roughly 2 miles.
Upon reaching the rock it’s about another 350 – 400 steps to the top of the rock formation that provides amazing panoramic views. We took the opportunity at the top to have lunch and enjoyed the view at 7,000 feet of elevation.
The path to the rock is steep and narrow, so be sure to use the guard rails. This was one of my favorite spots in the park, as the views were breathtaking!
After descending from the Rock, we headed to Crescent Meadows. The Meadow was a little under-whelming, the true beauty was the hike up along the meadow. The hike is relatively flat/easy and provides a variety of scenery from moss-covered trees, giant fire ridden Sequoia trees, and trees large enough to climb under. On the way to the meadow we saw stopped for a photo opt at Bobcat Point on Sugar Pine Trail. A little off-trailing takes you to a wonderful waterfall with a great view of the creek and surrounding rocks. Following the trail back to the museum, we called it a day as the sun was slowly disappearing behind the clouds.
The first day was a success we hiked a total of 11 miles, it’s an adventurous day when your legs hurt so bad you just want to sit for the rest of the evening! We picked up a few beers from the snack shop at the lodge, relaxed and watched some winter olympics!