Favorite thing: The photo quality is not the greatest, but it the picture was taken at an overlook along Hwy 198 heading through the park. The sequoias are concentrated in certain areas such as Grant Grove in King's Canyon and Giant Forest in Sequoia. Large stretches of the park's lone road wind through unremarkable (in comparison anyway) forests of Douglas Fir and open up at some points to views of the Sierra Nevada Range and the San Joaquin Valley.
Favorite thing: The mountain range in which Sequoia National Park is settled is called the Sierra Nevada. Most Sequoia coves are located at elevation of 5,000 to 7,000 feet. But the peak of the park is more than twice as high: In the Eastern part of the park 14,495 feet high Mount Whitney tops all other surrounding mountains. Actually Mount Whitney is the highest mountain of continental USA. Only some mountains in Alaska, including Mount McKinley, have a higher summit. Mount Whitney can be reached from Owens Valley. A paved road leads to a trailhead at 8,800 feet and from there on an 11 miles hiking trail continues to the summit.
Sequoia National Park is not the only national park in the region. To the East and North it shares borders with Kings Canyon National Park. Actually the administration for those two parks is the same. Unfortunately I haven't been to Kings Canyon - but you should go... I heard it is a very nice park, too. Lots of mountains, waterfalls, hiking trails, valleys, Sequoias and forests... Some more information can be found at the following website.
Favorite thing: The Sentinel tree, located in the Giant Forest area, doesn't have the claim to fame of being to oldest or tallest tree like General Sherman or even the world's Christmas tree like General Grant. But this massive tree stands outside the Giant Forest village as if it were standing guard. Perhaps that's how Sentinel got its name.
The Congress Trail is a 2 mile loop around General Sherman and the other mighty giants in the area, most of whom are named after former U.S. presidents such as Lincoln or legislative bodies such as the House and Senate.
The Congress trail also has some interesting sights like this carved up "walk through" tree.
Favorite thing: Ever wanted to drive your car through a hollowed out tree? Probably not, but in Sequoia NP, this opportunity is yours with the price of admission. This log is located about 2 miles off the General's Highway.
Heading south on the General's Highway past the controversial claims of the General Sherman tree, you'll come upon the big trees trail. Like the GIant Forest, I think we can all guess how the trail got its name.
The big trees trail is a one mile loop around a meadow containing several large trees which appear to be strategically placed to maximize photo opportunities. The trail also has a bunch of exhibits alongside the paved path which explain why this area is a good habitat for sequoias.
Favorite thing: Not to be outdone by General Sherman, this prominent feature is the oldest cabin in the park. The cabin was built by Hale Tharp from the wood taken from a sequoia which had been downed by a fire. Tharp's Log is located in Crescent Meadow, near Moro Rock.
General Sherman is estimated to be 2,100 years old and is considered the oldest living thing on earth. I found this a bit confusing since many sequoias in the parks, including the General Grant tree, are 2,000 plus years old, and since General Sherman's age is only estimated, I can't see how anyone would know that its the oldest. Maybe its because the park rangers say so.
Whether its the oldest or not, General Sherman is certainly massive. The General stands 275 feet tall, is 102.5 feet in circumference and its trunk alone weighs 1,385 tons. Again, I'm not sure how anyone knows how much the trunk weighs, but the information provided by the park rangers says that it does.
The western portion of Sequoia NP is known as the Giant Forest. Most of you can probably figure out why. The name actually came from naturalist John Muir who visited the area and noted the presence of large trees known as Sequoias.
The first stop in the Giant Forest is a visit to the oldest living thing on earth- the General Sherman tree. The tree is located on the Congress Trail.
Favorite thing: Crescent Meadow is located near Moro Rock. It is a large flat clearing filled with wildflowers in the summer. There's a short and easy trail leading through the Douglas Firs and Sequoias which provides great views of the meadow.
Favorite thing: There were a few decent sized forest fires within Sequoia National Park when we visited. The smoke made for poor visibility at higher elevations such as Moro Rock. However, the fine sooty air particles filtered the early morning light in this sequoia grove into very cool stratifications.
Fondest memory: Doing my bit for the US environment. I helped in a program to replant trees in Sequoia National Park. It was warm in the daytime but freezing at night. We slept in tents and at night I wore every item of clothing I'd brought. There were no showers - we washed in a nearby river - and only portable toilets. It was a lot of fun though.
Favorite thing: King's Canyon National Park is - as for the fame of the Sequoia National Park - often left aside on the route between Yosemite and Sequoia. It is however in nature a connected area which is of even greater potenty for hikers then the one with the huge trees (Sequoia). We wanted to spend some more time here, but ... with the same reasons as above and some bad luck during the drive here ... didn't have enough time to see a lot of King's Canyon. When we cruised the mountainroads the darkness fell and therefor our vision was hindered. Anyway, the picture of the moon holds a memory of a National Park, yet to be visited.
Favorite thing: After taking the loop around the big trees, walk across the street and continue on the paved path to the Giant Forest Museum. Its actually a nice walk under the shade of the mighty giants.