Sequoia National Park is one of my favorite National Parks. From its tall, majestic trees, to its secret underground caves, and its high lofty mountains, it is a National Park that has almost everything an outdoors aficionado could want. Unfortunately, it is located next to a number of other fantastic National Parks - Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Devil's Postpile; and a number of other great wilderness areas. As such, many people who visit Sequoia have a limited amount of time to see the park before they head onward to their next destination. If you're one of the people who is on the Sierra Nevada park circuit, this list and itinerary is for you; but let me say that if you do have the time, Sequoia is a great spot to spent an extra day or two at. But, without further ado, here's my list of the top five things to do at a day in Sequoia National Park!
One of the most iconic things to see in Sequoia National Park is a relic of a bygone past. It is not a hiking trail. It is not a perfectly natural feature. And, it is not alive. Yes, I am speaking of something that requires no effort to see - the infamous Tunnel Log . It's not to be confused with the Tunnel Tree that existed in Yosemite National Park, but both involve Giant Sequoias. In 1937, a Giant Sequoia fell across the Crescent Road in Sequoia National Park, and rather than remove it, the Park Service elected to cut a tunnel through it which people have been happily driving through ever since. On the plus side, since the the tree fell from natural causes, the tunnel log does not represent any wanton destruction of nature, or Giant Sequoias. The tree also represents a different wilderness philosophy of the National Park Service; one that preserved nature while also making it a bit of a spectacle with things like this and the infamous Yosemite firefall. This different wilderness ethos, along with the sheer spectacle of the Tunnel Log make it worth visiting while you can, as it is a curiosity of a time long gone.
One of the great things about California is that the state has an enormous amount of “wild” space. Some of these spaces are State Parks; some are National Parks; and some are open spaces that are run by other governmental organizations and non-profit foundations. The variety present in this system of wilderness protection and preservation means that there’s always something new to explore; and there’s always hidden gems to be found. Take for example the Moro Rock Trail (yes, that’s right: Moro Rock, not Morro Rock). This trail is one of my “secret” favorite summertime trails in the Southern Sierra, and one that is fairly accessible. Why is it one of my summertime favorites? For starters, you get to climb Moro Rock (Elevation 6,275), and you get to hike amongst giant sequoias. You also get some spectacular views of the Southern Sierra mountain range. And, if you’re particularly lucky, you might even get to see some black bears. Interested? Read on!