Sequoia National Park is adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park in California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains. This park is known for its massive towering sequoia trees, especially the General Sherman Tree within the Giant Forest. The underground Crystal Cave features streams and striking rock formations. Moro Rock is a granite dome offering sweeping park views with breathtaking height 365 degree panoramas of the mountains and forest nearby. Tunnel Tree, is a toppled tree cut to allow cars through on the road. This is a fun and unique feature in the park that is famous as well. This park is one of my favorite spots in my favorite mountain range in CA. The park is a great weekend getaway from the city and has the most gorgeous alpine mountain territory. The alpine lakes are gorgeous and the wildflowers, wildlife and cute marmots in the meadows are some of my favorite parts of exploring these quality trails. There are endless places to explore in backcountry here and you can easily make it a day trip, weekend getaway or a week of time and space to enjoy the nature.
Driving directions to Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is around 4 hours north of Los Angeles (225 miles).
Take any highway to I-5 N. Continue onto CA-99 N toward Bakersfield/Fresno. Take exit 96 onto CA-198 E towards Visalia. Continue to the Ash Mountain entrance of Sequoia National Park.
Sequoia Bus Shuttle from Visalia
This is a bus service from Visalia city outside the park to inside the park roundtrip transportation for $20 per passenger. This includes unlimited shuttle service inside the park as well. The bus ride is about an hour outside the national park. This is a great option for those flying in from out of state or visiting without a car. This is one of the best services to get into the park. Make a reservation here.
Sequoia National Park Transportation
Shuttles will be in service from Thursday, May 23 – Sunday, September 8. Shuttle service to Dorst Campground on the Purple Route 3 will begin on Wednesday, June 19. In summer it is best to take the shuttles because of the lack of parking and crowds trying to see and do the same hikes. Take the free shuttle if you visit in summer using the routes below!
Free In-park Shuttle
In summer, the Sequoia Shuttle offers free rides in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest, Lodgepole, Wuksachi, and Dorst Creek Campground areas along the following routes:
Giant Forest | Green Route 1 | Free
Departs daily every half hour, starting at 8:00 am and 8:30 am, then every 15 minutes from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. Stops include:
- General Sherman Tree Main Trail and Parking
- General Sherman Tree Accessible Trail
- Giant Forest Museum
Moro Rock / Crescent Meadow | Gray Route 2 | Free
On weekends, this shuttle leaves Giant Forest Museum at 8:00 am and 8:45 am, then every 10 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. On weekdays, it leaves Giant Forest Museum at 8:00 am and 8:45 am, then every 20 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road is closed to private vehicles on weekends and holidays. The road will also close to private vehicles for the 4th of July holiday week, Saturday, June 29 to Sunday, July 7. Shuttle stops include:
- Giant Forest Museum
- Moro Rock (on the outbound trip)
- Crescent Meadow
- Auto Log (on weekends and holidays)
- Tunnel Log (on weekends and holidays)
Lodgepole/ Wuksachi | Purple Route 3 | Free
Shuttles arrive approximately every 20 minutes from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- Lodgepole Visitor Center and Campground
- Wuksachi Lodge and Restaurant
- Dorst Campground
General Sherman Tree Trails | Orange Route 4 | Free
Free shuttles arrive approximately every 15 minutes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, connecting Wolverton Picnic Area and Trailhead to the Sherman Tree.
- General Sherman Tree Main Trail and Parking
- General Sherman Tree Accessible Trail
- Wolverton Trailhead and Picnic Area
When to go
The best time to visit Sequoia National Park is June through August when the weather is the most stable. The park is open 24/7, year-round, but there are certain challenges during select seasons, such as when it snows in December and snow chains or tires are required for safely navigating park roads. Beginning in September, the park reduces its ranger-led programming and certain facilities cut their hours. Some parts of the park, such as the Mineral King and Cedar Grove areas, close entirely due to access issues.
- Check current park conditions here with roads and closures
- Check weather conditions here
- Winter driving conditions and chains here
Sequoia National Park Fees
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"You can take the woman out of the wild but you can't take the wild out of the woman" The last 2 week national park trek has been epic. I'll be back. I will miss camping out every night under full moons, stargazing, eating over the fire, swimming and bathing in rivers and lakes, going to the bathroom in freedom and being a mountain cave woman Hahahahaha. "you can take the woman away from the wild but you can't take the wild out of the woman" 🗿🍗💪🌲😜 #sexysub #subsofsocal #ontheroadagain #findyourpark . #pnwisbest #westcoastbestcoast #neverstopexploring #sheroams #andshesdopetoo #outdoorwomen #theoutbound #radgirlscollective #adrenalist #alpinebabes #thegreatpnw #pnwonderland #wanderwa #thatpnwlife #pnwbabes #pnwcollective
At the park entrance, credit cards are preferred for payment. Cash and checks are accepted. You can also purchase your pass in advance, which saves time at the entrance station. Eighty percent of your entrance and camping fees help fund projects that improve your experience here. We appreciate your support! I use an annual National Park Pass called America the beautiful shown below as the best use of money for an outdoor adventurer that likes seeking out the national parks for weekend adventures.
Vehicle Pass – $35.00
This pass is valid for 1-7 days and includes everyone traveling in a single vehicle for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Hume Lake District of Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument. You can purchase this pass in advance at www.yourpassnow.com.
Individual Entry Pass – $20.00
This entry fee is for a single person traveling on foot or by bicycle. It is valid for 1-7 days in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Hume Lake District of Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument.
- entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges
- standard amenity fees (day-use fees) at national forests and grasslands and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corps of Engineers
In general, one pass covers the fees listed above for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or up to four adults at sites that charge per person. Children age 15 or under are admitted free. Some passes provide additional benefits, such as a 50-percent discount on camping at some sites for holders of Senior or Access Passes. Always check with individual sites for details.
Sequoia National Park Hours
The park is open 24/7 and 365 days a year. Depending on the weather and season there are different closures in the park. Full information about closures during different seasons in the park can be found on the park website here.
Things to do
Moro Rock Overlook
Moro Rock is an isolate, dome-shaped granite formation with a rock-cut stairway to the panoramic summit. This is one of the shortest and easiest hikes yet leads to an amazing beautiful view of the mountain ranges nearby surrounding the park including the Sierra Nevadas. The concrete and stone stairway includes over 350 steps to the top of Moro Rock. The Great Western Divide’s peaks can be seen as well as views of the foothills and San Joaquin Valley to the west. Moro Rock is 6,725 feet above sea level, but the short hike is only 300 feet of elevation to get to the view point. The trail is half a mile round trip and one of the coolest features of the park! This is a great short pit stop in the park between longer hikes.
Miles: .5 miles
Elevation: 300 feet gain
Crescent Meadow is an easy short hike that is great for all. The trail is a wooded beauty in the forest featuring, a tree to climb inside, and another that was made into a house. The distance of the hike to see Tharp’s Log and the Chimney Tree is 1.6 miles, but that can be extended with other trails. The Chimney tree is massive and a fun fort to sit inside. This meadow area is beautiful and a more quiet and remote area of the park with less people. This is a great place to stop for lunch and spend some time in the wooded meadow. I saw a bear in this meadow when I visited in the summer so be wary and use the bear boxes offered by the park instead of leaving food in your car! Crescent Meadow is only about 1 mile from Moro Rock and is a great place to go afterwards.
Miles: 1.5 mile
Elevation:150 feet gain
Type: loop trail
Tree Tunnel Log
This is a historic unique feature of the park that is a car tunnel carved in 1938 out of the trunk of a sequoia that fell over the road in 1937. The original famous tunneled sequoia tree was in Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park and cut in 1881 as a tourist attraction. This tree was called the Wawona Tree, and it fell over in 1969 when it was 2100 years old and 234 feet high. In Sequoia National Park you can drive through Sequoia Park’s fallen “Tunnel Log” on Crescent Meadow Road in Giant Forest. The fallen Tunnel Log of Sequoia National Park was made when a sequoia fell across the Crescent Meadow Road in 1937 when it was over 2000 years old and 275 feet high. The tunnel is 17 feet wide and 8 feet high if your car can fit you can drive through the Sequoia tree!
Big Trees Trail
This loop trail through massive Sequoia trees is a 1.5 easy nature hike. Big Trees Trail is a flat and paved nature trail that circles 0.8 miles under massive sequoias along the edges of Round Meadow. You can start from the Giant Forest Museum choosing a few routes to Round Meadow for a 1.4-mile hike with 50 feet of elevation change. The Giant Forest is the world’s second largest giant sequoia grove and home to the world’s biggest tree, the General Sherman Tree. General Sherman Tree is pictured above towering high into the sky.
Elevation: 50 feet elevation gain
Hiking Alta Peak High Sierra
Alta Peak is a difficult hike in the high sierra back country of Sequoia National Park. This was my favorite alpine country experience in the park and I will be coming back to this trail. Alta Peak, gets its name from the Spanish word for “High,” stands at 11,200’. Alta Peak gives an expansive view of about half of the park and several alpine lakes. This long ridge of 12,000+ peaks divides the Kaweah watershed from the Kern watershed with a beautiful alpine wilderness background. This is a 14 mile hike roundtrip that is difficult but worth it!
Lodgepole and Giant Forest
The Lodgepole/Giant Forest Area is centrally located in Sequoia National Park at an elevation of 6,700 feet (2050 m). The area can be reached from either park entrance: a 45-minute drive from the Hwy 180 entrance at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park, or a one-hour drive from Hwy 198, the main entrance to Sequoia National Park (vehicles over 22 feet long are not advised between Potwisha Campground and Giant Forest in Sequoia).
The campgrounds in this area include Lodgepole Campground, which is open from early spring through late fall, and Dorst Creek Campground, which is open from early summer through fall. Both are available for camping with tents, RVs, and trailers. Reservations are recommended for both campgrounds. Lodgepole is 214 sites at $22 a night. Dorst Creek is 218 sites at $22 per night.
The foothills are at 2,500-3,000 feet making a hot and dry area for summer and wet and cooler in winter. There are trails that lead to oak woodlands, river canyons, and spring wildflowers. The Giant Forest is a 45-minute drive away. Campgrounds in the Foothills area include Potwisha Campground, which is open to tents, RVS and trailer camping all year, Buckeye Flat Campground, which is open for tent camping from early spring through late fall. The primitive South Fork Campground is in a more remote area of the foothills and is open year-round for tent camping. Potwisha is on the river for $22 a night and only 42 sites making it a quieter space. The Buckeye Flat campground has 28 sites for $22 a night near the river and the closest camping to the entrance of the park. South Fork is very remote and private with only 10 sites at $6 a night.
Mineral King Area
This is one of the highest elevation campgrounds in the park at 7500 feet and is only open during the summer. There are two campgrounds off of a narrow windy road. The road to the area is open from late spring through fall. RVs and trailers are not recommended on Mineral King Road and are not allowed in campgrounds here. Mineral King is connected to the rest of Sequoia National Park only by trail.
Campgrounds in Mineral King include Atwell Mill Campground and Cold Springs Campground. Both are open for tent camping during the summer season. Campgrounds are $22 a night and have the least amount of camp sites and are more private and remote compared to the rest of the park.