Last weekend, it was the Memorial Day weekend so that Monday was a day off.
We used this opportunity to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for 3 days.
We booked an hotel located 30 miles from the park entrance, at Visalia, because everything closer was too expensive or already booked.
We left Berkeley on Saturday at 5:00am and arrived at the park entrance at 9:30am.
The Sequoia Park entrance fee is $30.00 but as we bought a National parks pass several weeks ago, we didn’t pay anything.
From the entrance, it takes approximately 30-40 minutes driving up-hill to see the first BIG trees, because they only grow between 5000 and 7000 feet in altitude.
When I say BIG trees, I mean gigantic trees, nothing to do with redwoods from the Redwood National Park, those ones are monsters, large from the foundation to the top, so big we could think they are fake.
We started by the park’s most popular point : The general Sherman Tree.
After a short 2500 feet trail, it’s there, you just have to raise your sight to see it, it’s the world biggest living tree (by volume): with a height of 275 ft and a diameter of 25 ft, that’s a BIG tree!
Everyone wants his picture in front of it, I mean in front of the sign, because taking a picture of the whole thing is impossible unless you are at about 1000 ft from the tree (see below).
We had taken a tourist guide lent by a friend with us, which gave all the interesting points but also all the best trails and their difficulty.
It was really helpful, we discovered places not indicated in the park or where we wouldn’t have gone to without this documentation.
The book suggested a 6 mile trail (one way) perfect to discover the park: from Sherman Tree to Moro Rock; the maintwo attractions of the park. We hiked this trail one way and came back on the park’s shuttle (very useful after a 5h hike).
All the National Parks have free shuttle service, and it’s really convenient, you don’t have to move your car from parking to parking all day long.
Be careful, even if the park never closes, the shuttles usually stop working at 6 or 7pm.
Trails are well maintained and quite practicable, depending on their difficulty.
We could observe several animals : deers, chipmunks, grey squirrels, marmots, lizards… Unfortunately (or hopefully) we didn’t see any bears.
When we finally reached Moro Rock, we were exhausted and definitely not ready to climb its 400 steps. We took the shuttle back to our car and drove 1h30 to our hotel.
We came back the next day and most of the parking lots were full, so we had to park or car a little further and to take the shuttle.
We took off 1.5 miles before Moro Rock in order to discover a new trail.
Once we reached Moro Rock, we began to clim the 400 steps, the path is narrow and it’s sometimes difficult to let the people going down pass, but it is totally feasible and people of all age can do it!
When we finally reached the top, we had a wonderful view of all the snowy mountains tops surrounding the park and it worth every single step!
We had spotted a interesting point in our tourist guide to continue our day : Mineral King. It was written that it is a wonderful and wild place with a beautiful view, so of-course, we wanted to see that.
I’ll tell you about that very soon!