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8 Exciting Things to Do in Sequoia National Park

A man stands between two large Sequoia trees while experiencing some of the best things to do in Sequoia National Park
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Located in the Central Valley and High Sierras of California, Sequoia National Park is full of wonder. Things to do in Sequoia National Park include seeing some of the world’s largest trees, pristine Wilderness, excellent hiking opportunities, scenic drives, and so much more. For more fun things to do in Sequoia National Park, read on to plan your adventure in the shadows of giants.

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Land Acknowledgment: This post promotes travel to native lands for the following nations: Western Mono/Monache, Eastern Mono/Monache, Tübatulabal, and Yokuts. We honor all Indigenous caretakers of these lands and waters, the elders who lived here before, the Indigenous today, and the generations to come.

Visit the World’s Largest Tree

A woman stands in front of the world's largest tree. Seeing General Sherman is one of the best things to do in Sequoia National Park.
The world's largest tree by volume, the General Sherman Tree, is one of the best things to see in Sequoia National Park

The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia’s Giant Forest is considered the largest tree on the planet by volume. Measured by the total amount of wood, it’s the most massive tree on Earth even though it is not the tallest nor widest. Still, it is 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter at its base, which makes marveling at this tree one of the best things to do in Sequoia National Park.

There’s a short trail to reach the tree, but don’t let the distance fool you. Located at 7,000 feet in elevation, this hike can be more strenuous than you might think. The main parking area is located at the top of a hill, making the ascent back to your vehicle from the tree a strenuous one. Thankfully, there are benches along the way so you can rest. Altogether, the Sherman Tree Trail is about 1-mile roundtrip. It includes stairs.

For those with disability placards, park in the designated parking area on the Generals Highway for a trail to the Sherman Tree that is accessible.

This area can be extremely crowded, but there are thousands of other Giant Sequoias in the Giant Forest. Some other trails to check out include Big Trees Trail and Congress Loop. For more, read our post on the best trails in Sequoia National Park.

Climb Moro Rock

A long concrete staircase with metal railings leads to the top of a granite dome. Climbing the stairs to the top of Moro Rock is one of the best things to do in Sequoia National Park.
Two metal rails lead down the center of a granite rock outcropping. Climbing the stairs to the top of Moro Rock is one of the best things to do in Sequoia National Park.
A panoramic mountain view seen from the summit of Moro Rock

This granite dome is visible on nearly the entire drive from Three Rivers in the Foothills to Sequoia’s Giant Forest. Looming above as you drive the winding road, the rock immediately magnetizes you and makes you wonder what the views would be like from the top. Climbing to the top is one of the most rewarding things to do in Sequoia.

Thanks to some hardy Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers, a concrete stairway was built into the rock in the 1930s. By upgrading the previous deteriorating wooden staircase, the CCC was able to create a route to the top that blended in with the surroundings and made the climb safer for visitors.

The stairway is almost 800 feet long with more than 350 steps leading to the top. This is a strenuous climb at an elevation of 6,725 feet. You’ll gain 300 feet in elevation as you climb the stairs. There are handrails along the way to assist as you climb. Moro Rock is not recommended for small children. For more, read my guide to hiking Moro Rock.

In the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, you should be aware that social distancing is impossible on this trail, and face masks or coverings are strongly recommended. If you wish to avoid the crowds here, other granite domes in Sequoia National Park include Little Baldy, Big Baldy, and Beetle Rock. Beetle Rock is accessible on a short, paved route from the Giant Forest Museum parking area.

In summer, shuttles will bring you from the Giant Forest Museum to Moro Rock. In winter, the road closes and you’ll need to walk 1.5-miles each way from the Museum to reach the stairs. Do not attempt to climb Moro Rock in snow or ice conditions.

View Hospital Rock

Hospital Rock, Sequoia Nat'l Park

Sequoia National Park has been home to Native Americans for thousands of years. Archaeologists are still uncovering artifacts today.

One amazing finding is a group of pictographs on Hospital Rock. Nearby, there are also mortars in the rocks by the Kaweah River. Exhibits near the picnic area restrooms provide information about the culture of the Native Americans who call the area home.

Nearby, there are more mortars and faint pictographs near Potwisha, one of the many campgrounds in Sequoia National Park.

Drive Through Tunnel Log

Tunnel LogMany visitors arrive at Sequoia and wonder, “Where’s the tree I can drive through? Surely that’s one of the best things to do in Sequoia!”

On weekdays in summer and weather-dependent in winter, there is a tree you can drive through on your way to Crescent Meadow.

The tree fell across the road due to natural causes in 1937. The following year, a tunnel was carved into the fallen tree as a visitor attraction.

Check your vehicle size before you attempt to drive through the tunnel. It is only 8 feet tall and 17 feet wide. For vehicles that are too tall, there is a bypass around so you may continue to Crescent Meadow.

In addition to serving as an attraction to this day, Tunnel Log is also a great reminder of the evolution of National Parks. In the early stages of the National Park Service, park managers focused on visitor recreation more than resource protection. You may have heard of bear feedings or cutting down trees in order to make tunnels like these, all of which occurred. Today, the National Park Service strives to place restoration and protection over recreation, though it is a tough balance to maintain.

Visit Tharp’s Log

Tharps Log

Hale Tharp is believed to be the first non-Native American to explore the Giant Forest. He arrived in 1856, guided by Potwisha tribe members, and carved his name into the log. It wasn’t until 1861 that he returned with the intent on settling. Using fire, Tharp managed to hollow out the log and build a small cabin. His rustic home included a fireplace! Since then, it has been used as a shelter for many pioneers, including John Muir. The cabin is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

To see Tharp’s Cabin, drive or take the free shuttle to Crescent Meadow. From here, take the easy 2-mile loop. The cabin is located about halfway along the trail.

One of the best things to do in Sequoia, this trail is also relatively flat and level, making it accessible for most wheelchairs and strollers.

Admire Tokopah or Marble Falls

Tokopah Falls

Two stunning waterfalls are featured on easy trails in Sequoia National Park: Tokopah in the Lodgepole area and Marble in the Foothills.

To reach Marble Falls, follow the trail 3.9 miles from the dirt road near site #14 in Potwisha Campground.

Tokopah Falls is pictured above and is a big favorite among those searching for the best things to do in Sequoia National Park. Tokopah Falls Trail begins in the Lodgepole Campground near Marble Fork Bridge. This trail is 1.7 miles one-way. The falls are best in the early summer months.

Explore Crystal Cave

Crystal Cave

From spring through fall, the Sequoia Park Conservancy provides tours of a spectacular marble cave in Sequoia National Park. Tickets for the 45-minute tour are required and can be purchased online. Since this is one of the most popular things to do in Sequoia, plan ahead as tours do sell out. You may not visit the cave without a tour guide.

To reach Crystal Cave, all visitors must hike a steep ½-mile route from cave parking to the entrance. From there, another ½-mile trail leads you through the cave.

Vehicles longer than 22 feet are not permitted on the winding road to Crystal Cave. The cave is 50 degrees inside, so bring a jacket with you.

Sled Down the Hill at Wolverton

Sledding

Winter is a fantastic time to explore Sequoia National Park if you have the right gear. This includes traction devices for your shoes and your vehicle. You may also be interested in skis, snowshoes, or sleds.

There are a few snowplay areas throughout Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Wolverton, located in the Giant Forest, has two sledding hills in a large, open meadow. Use caution on the hills as it can be difficult to spot exposed rocks or trees when covered in snow.

In some years, the Wuksachi Lodge rents skis, snowshoes, and other snow gear. However, due to Covid-19 the lodge is currently closed for the 2020-2021 winter season.

Pin the Best Things to Do in Sequoia National Park

Plan your adventure in the shadows of giants with this list of fun and exciting things to do in Sequoia National Park (written by a local!). | Things to do in Sequoia National Park | What to See in Sequoia National Park | #sequoia #sequoianationalpark #nationalparks #california
Plan your adventure in the shadows of giants with this list of fun and exciting things to do in Sequoia National Park (written by a local!). | Things to do in Sequoia National Park | What to See in Sequoia National Park | #sequoia #sequoianationalpark #nationalparks #california
Plan your adventure in the shadows of giants with this list of fun and exciting things to do in Sequoia National Park (written by a local!). | Things to do in Sequoia National Park | What to See in Sequoia National Park | #sequoia #sequoianationalpark #nationalparks #california

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