Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Sequoia National Park

  • Published 2023/04/13

One of California‘s most beautiful offerings is Sequoia National Park.

This national park is known for its gigantic trees and awe-inspiring tourist attractions adjacent to Kings Canyon in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains.

This tourist destination offers the well-known General Sherman Tree to several sightseeing peaks.

Inspired by the number of sequoia trees that line this district, you’ll find various things to see and do.

Here are the best things to do in Sequoia National Park, California.

See the Iconic General Sherman Tree

A man posing in front of the General Sherman Tree

haveseen /

The General Sherman Tree is always at the top of everyone’s list when visiting the Sequoia National Park, and for a good reason!

Standing an impressive 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter, it is the world’s largest tree by volume.

The tree is undoubtedly awe-inspiring, as it weighs 1,385 tons!

Tourist admiring the view of the General Sherman Tree

Nick Fox /

Because of its popularity, taking pictures and finding parking can be tricky because of the many tourists, but it’s worth the wait.

Looking up to find its top is almost impossible, giving you a sense of existential wonder!

Looking around, it becomes easier to understand why so many people want to appreciate the magnificent General Sherman Tree.

General Sherman Tree covered with snow

Belikova Oksana /

Explore the Giant Forest

Visitors hinking through the Giant Forest

RuslanKphoto /

General Sherman isn’t the only large tree worth seeing and photographing in Sequoia National Park.

A forest full of 8,000 striking giant trees is aptly called the Giant Forest.

This is composed mainly of sequoia trees, from which the national park derives its name.

While it houses the famous General Sherman Tree, it also features the President Tree, the third-largest tree in the world.

Trail along the Giant Forest

Lucky-photographer /

If you’re a history buff, the Giant Forest Museum is also at your disposal, full of historical information regarding the national park.

This grove is known for its large trees, and its museum is also on the National Register of Historic Places due to its cultural and historical significance.

Don’t forget to bring your camera while visiting the Giant Forest!

View of the Giant Forest

My Good Images /

Take a Photo by the Tunnel Log

View of the Tunnel Log

Polina Melnik /

If you have an irrational fear that one of the giant sequoias might fall, you might want to read the history of Tunnel Log.

One such sequoia fell to the ground in 1938, and the park’s workers couldn’t remove it because of its size!

Instead, they cut a hole in the middle for cars to pass through.

It’s a pretty funny backstory and a more amusing sight.

A women hiking near the Tunnel Log

Ivanova Ksenia /

Tunnel Log is one of the most popular photo spots for tourists visiting this park.

The fallen tree is believed to be at least 2,000 years old and was 275 feet tall before it collapsed.

This is one tourist attraction you won’t get to see anywhere else!

A car passing through the Tunnel Log

Sergii Figurnyi /

Tour the Crystal Cave

Interior view of the Crystal Cave

travelview /

Experience the Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park!

As high as its trees go, Sequoia National Park also harbors some underground activities.

One of Sequoia National Park’s most unique offerings is the cave tours for Crystal Cave!

The cavern is composed of marble, filled with stalagmites and stalactites, among other minerals.

Formations along all sides of the cave display deposits of various colors, ranging from blue to green, from yellow to red!

Guided tour of the Crystal Cave

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Two tour options are available for this activity: one allows you to go on an easier artificial path.

At the same time, the other gives you the whole experience of crawling through tighter areas.

Either way, both tours feature the guides turning off all lights for you to glimpse and marvel at the space in the dark.

Take in the magnificent sights of Crystal Cave and add them to your itinerary!

Interior view of the Crystal Cave

Iryna Kutsyna /

Take a Stroll to Buck Rock Lookout

If you want great views but don’t feel like climbing 400 steps, then maybe Buck Rock Lookout is the tourist attraction for you!

With only 172 metal steps to the top, it also shows terrific views of the Great Western Divide and other parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Like the Moro Rock, it also sits atop a granite dome, with its steps suspended on the site.

Not only that, but the site itself is historical since its current lookout building is in the style of early live-in cabs.

Only three such cabs exist today.

As a relatively easy climb, Buck Rock is great for that hiking with kids!

Climb Moro Rock

Trail along the Moro Rock

Zack Frank /

Moro Rock is a granite dome at the end of 350 to 400 granite steps.

Classified as a moderate hike, the trail is a half-mile long with an elevation of 177 feet.

The steps are steep, and the path is narrow.

It’s still relatively challenging for hikers who want a shorter trail but with the same difficulty.

Hinking trail along the Moro Rock

M. Ali Khan /

Though you can drive up to the base, parking becomes relatively complex, considering the popularity of this spot.

However, you can also take the shuttle from the Giant Forest Museum.

Though a little finicky, Moro Rock’s view at the top makes up for the climb, encompassing the Great Western Divide and the national park’s west side.

If you want to get in a quick workout while on vacation, stop by Moro Rock!

View from the Moro Rock

Kara Jade Quan-Montgomery /

Drive through the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

View of the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

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Traveling along Kings Canyon Scenic Byway could be challenging, but its picturesque view makes the travel worth it.

This is one of the only travel spots in the Sequoia National Park that allows you to cruise in your car after a long hike.

Although full of twists and turns, the route offers visitors various highlights.

Stunning view from the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

Benny Marty /

Take a summer tour of Boyden Cave, hike to General Grant Tree, and visit Grizzly Falls.

With only cars as the primary mode of transportation, the route also gives Instagram-worthy views to visitors that they can take pictures of along the way.

Can’t you already feel the breeze in the air?

Make sure to check out the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway!

View from the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

Nina B /

Take a Dip at Road’s End

If you’re looking for more views of the waters, the route to Road’s End offers a scenic river where you can also jump in!

This is also suitable where Highway 180, the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, ends.

Road’s End is also a starting access for a hiking route to Rae Lakes Loop.

The highway near the eastern Kings Canyon also offers access points to riverside bodies, hiking trails, and various campsites.

Despite its name, Road’s End should jumpstart your getaway!

Discover Boyden Cavern

Interior view of the Boyden Cavern

Vlad & Marina Butsky, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Offering seasonal tours, Boyden Cavern is a once-in-a-lifetime travel feat.

Boyden Cavern is another marble cavern at the Sequoia National Forest, aside from the Crystal Cave.

Like Crystal Cave, it rewards you with sights of stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and pendants after a short but steep hike!

The park’s walking tour isn’t just an exercise.

A stream passing outside the Boyden Cavern

Wirestock Creators /

It gives you an in-depth view of 2,000-foot-high marble walls alongside various stones that serve as major eye candy.

With just a little effort, it’s almost as if you’re transported into a magical new world!

Don’t miss out on this unique National Park offering!

Take a Relaxing Dip at Tokopah Falls

Distant view of the Tokopah Falls

PicLuis83 /

Tokopah Falls is an underrated spot in Sequoia National Park.

People forget to list it on their itineraries because there aren’t a lot of tall trees!

Though unexpected as a tourist spot in a national park known for its forests, Tokopah Falls is one for the books.

Not only is the hike refreshing, but it also offers the scenic view of water crashing down from 1,200 feet!

View of the Tokopah Falls

issara.Travel world /

The best time to visit the raging waters is during the spring until the start of the summer.

During this season, the water slows down just enough toward the river, making it a relaxing place to swim and splash.

Enjoy the refreshing views and mists from Topokah Falls as soon as possible!

Closer view of the Tokopah Falls

Bill G Lincoln /

Relax in Crescent Meadow

Scenic view of the Crescent Meadow

NatalieJean /

Unlike the other high peaks Sequoia National Park offers, Crescent Meadow is one of the most serene spaces in the park.

It has a peaceful ambiance characterized by a green clearing in the middle of all the giant sequoia trees.

Beautiful sunrise at Crescent Meadow

ChaseMorris /

With the sounds of nature and wildflowers growing all around, hiking to this spot feels like a scene out of a fairytale.

That said, animals are also known to wander in green spaces.

While generally harmless, visitors are advised to keep their distance to avoid agitation.

Hikers enjoying the view from Crescent Meadow

Vanh Sako /

Catch Fish in Hume Lake

Ducks swimming at Hume Lake

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Another body of water unique to Sequoia National Park is Hume Lake.

An 87-acre lake formed by an artificial dam in 1908 was initially built to supply water to lumber flumes transporting logs.

Today, it’s known as one of the more restful areas of the national park, especially if you’ve been out in the heat all day.

Mesmerizing view of the Hume Lake

Nickolay Stanev /

You can fish, boat, hike, bike, and even camp during the summertime.

Even in winter, the fun doesn’t stop, as the lake is known for its snow play offerings.

Whether you’re stopping by to relax or indulge in several activities, visit Hume Lake!

Boats docked at Hume Lake

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Climb Alta Peak

View of the Alta Peak

Kelly vanDellen /

More experienced hikers should hike to Alta Peak.

With its name directly translated into “tall” in Spanish, its trail is categorized as relatively complex, 14.9 miles with an elevation of more than 5,000 feet.

Unless you’re superhuman, you will unlikely reach the top in a day.

A creek passing through the Alta Peak

Kelly vanDellen /

Most of its patrons go backpacking and spread the hike out into two days.

Because of the high altitudes, you will likely encounter snow, so bundle up and bring trekking poles!

A woman hiking at Alta Peak

Kelly vanDellen /

Go Glamping on Potwisha

Squirrel at Potwisha

Xavier Hoenner /

Sequoia National Park boasts several campsites, but none are as convenient as Potwisha.

Though you can remain relatively disconnected, the campground offers camping for more intimate groups.

Other campsites in Sequoia National Park include Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, Buckeye Flat, South Fork, Atwell Mill, and Cold Springs.

Each site offers something different, so your preferences as a camper can certainly be accommodated.

Glamping in RVs is usually more suited to the grounds of Potwisha.

Meanwhile, more rugged campers are recommended to pitch their tents on Buckeye Flat, near the river.

Whatever style you want to embody while camping, there’s undoubtedly something just for you in Sequoia National Park!

Conquer Mount Whitney

Mount Whitney covered with snow

nyker /

More excitable adventurers are drawn toward the challenge of Mount Whitney.

Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the United States, on the border between Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest.

The summit elevation of the mountain is three times higher than Alta Peak, nearing 15,000 feet.

Hikers resting on the peak of Mount Whitney

Patrick Poendl /

Beginners should think twice before taking on this challenge, as its shortest trail is still 10.7 miles long.

Meanwhile, a more challenging 60-mile trek is also available, taking six to ten days for hikers to complete.

Marmot at Mount Whitney

Patrick Poendl /

Final Thoughts

The offerings of Sequoia National Park are unbelievably diverse!

Though known for its tall trees, one cannot deny the degree of variation in its activities.

What are you waiting for? Check out the best things to do in Sequoia National Park today!

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