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!
If I was to ask you what the signature attraction of Sequoia National Park is, chances are that you’d give me a funny look and say, “Giant Sequoias??!?!”. In some respects, you’d be justified in giving me that treatment, since the park is indeed named, Sequoia National Park. But, even though the park is named Sequoia National Park, and the Giant Sequoias are stunning, spectacular, and stupendous, the signature attraction to some people is not the trees, it is something secret that lies deep beneath the shallow roots of those gentle giants. That’s right: I am talking about caves. One of the little known facts about Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is that beneath the trees, and under all of the hiking trails, there is an extensive network of caves. According to the National Park Service, even if the Giant Sequoias didn’t exist, chances are that Sequoia and Kings Canyon would still be National Parks because of the caves. Think about that for a second: this is an area with amazing biodiversity both above ground and below ground, which is something that exists in few places around the world.
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!
Let’s say you’re in California, or thinking about visiting California, and you’re looking for a National Park that you can hike in, camp at, climb at, and possibly do a little spelunking at. If you were seeking recommendations for such a place, chances are that you’d get the usual recommendations – Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, or even Joshua Tree National Park. There’s nothing wrong with any of these recommendations – these parks are known world-wide because they’re stunning. But there’s another National Park in California that’s a little bit off the beaten path, and not as well known that has all of these things, and is equally stunning in its own right. That park is none other than Pinnacles National Monument.