Sequoia National Forest, located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains in California, is a somewhat magical place to visit. My original intention was to travel to Sequoia National Park, but the distance was too great for a day trip from my hotel. I opted for a drive through Sequoia National Forest instead.
The National Park would have been somewhat more ideal for solo exploring, given more foot traffic and developed sightseeing areas. That said, driving through Sequoia National Forest and stopping for short walks along the way gave me a great introduction for future visits!
There are Ranger Stations in Springville, Kernville and Lake Isabella where you may inquire about the National Forest and pick up maps and brochures for your visit.
- Amos Alonzo Stagg Tree - noted as the sixth largest in the world, this Giant Sequoia is 29 feet in diameter at the base and 243 feet tall. The trail to this tree is located off a dirt road, after making a few turns from State highway 190, east of Camp Nelson.
- Trail of 100 Giants - prepare to be mesmerized :) This trail is an easy walk through Long Meadow Grove. There's approximately 1.3 miles of paved trail with several loop options. The trailhead is located on the Western Divide Highway (M107) and there's a $5 per vehicle charge. This trail is only accessible May 15 to November 15, weather permitting.
- Freeman Creek Trailhead - located in the 1,700 acre Freeman Creek Sequoia Grove, off of Lloyd Meadow Road (Road 22S82). The trail will lead you to the President George Bush Tree (about 3.2 miles into the hike). Along the way, you will experience meadows, the Freeman Creek, sequoias, Jeffrey pines, white fir, sugar pines, black oaks, dogwood, California hazelnut and bracken fern.
All three hikes are on my list for my 556 in 12 return visit!
For a little perspective, below is a photograph of me in front of the Proclamation Tree from the Trail of 100 Giants :)