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If you’re into the lifestyle of enjoying green spaces, whether it’s indoors or outside, perhaps the greatest stage for experiencing the grandest of all flora can be found within the boundaries of our country’s amazing National Parks. Take Sequoia National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains for example.
During our quest to visit all of America’s major national parks and soak in the beauty of these incredible green spaces, our visit to Sequoia National Park stands out as one of the most impressive due to the astounding size and splendor of the park’s trees.
The Giant Forest
A hike within the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park features a collection of 8000 of the world’s most impressive Sequoiadendron giganteum - the Giant Sequoia. Within the three square miles that make up the Giant Forest, you’ll find 5 of the world’s 10 largest trees and almost 40 miles of groomed trails. There are trails that lead you to the giant trees, to lush flower-filled meadows, to Tharp’s Log and to the top of Moro Rock. Trails that provide you with a surprising amount of quiet and tranquility as most visitors seem to stay close to the big trees. The only creature we encountered during our walk about the Long Meadow Loop Trail was a black bear foraging for food!
General Sherman Tree
The Congress Trail is the most heavily trafficked as it takes visitors to the General Sherman Tree.
Measured by total volume, the General is the world’s largest living tree. In fact, it’s the largest living organism by volume on earth! The General towers 275 feet above the ground, has a diameter of 36 feet at its base, weighs in at 4.188 million pounds and is 2100 years old. Standing next to this giant puts into perspective what an NBA Basketball Player must look like to a small puppy!
There are two trails leading to General Sherman. Parking for the Main Trail is off Wolverton Road. The half-mile trail is paved with a few steps. Those with disabilities can park in a small lot along the Generals Highway a short distance from the trees. A wheelchair–accessible trail leads down to the Sherman tree.
The Crescent Meadow/Log Meadow Loop Trails offer a gentle hike featuring a variety of green spaces, a tree you can climb inside and another that was made into a house. These two meadows offer wonderful views of the giant sequoias and the trails will lead you to where pioneer woodsman and rancher Hale Tharp constructed a summer cabin out of a fallen, fire scarred sequoia. The 50-foot hollowed trunk of the tree named Tharp’s Log make up the main room of the cabin complete with stone fireplace and chimney.
Sequoia National Park is truly the land of Giants. Its trees and trails will astound you. If you’ve never experienced the grandeur of this park, we encourage you to get outside and walk amongst these magnificent plants.
- John Binkele