Sequoia Overview

Sequoia National Park, located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California, USA, is a majestic wilderness famed for its towering giant sequoias. Encompassing an area of about 404,064 acres (1,635 square kilometers), the park was established in 1890, making it the second oldest national park in the United States. Its creation was driven by the need to protect the giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum), which are among the largest and oldest living organisms on Earth. The park, together with Kings Canyon National Park to the north, forms a contiguous protected area of mountainous landscapes, deep canyons, and vast wilderness.

The heart of Sequoia National Park is the Giant Forest, home to five of the ten largest trees in the world, including the General Sherman Tree, the largest living tree by volume. Standing at about 275 feet (83 meters) tall and with a diameter of over 36 feet (11 meters) at its base, the General Sherman Tree is a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty and scale of nature.

Beyond its famous sequoias, Sequoia National Park offers a diverse range of ecosystems, from lush foothill woodlands to high alpine peaks, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States at 14,505 feet (4,421 meters). The park’s varied landscapes support a rich biodiversity, including black bears, mountain lions, mule deer, and over 200 species of birds.

Visitors to Sequoia National Park can explore over 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) of hiking trails that range from easy walks through sequoia groves to challenging backcountry treks in the High Sierra. The park also offers scenic drives, camping, and numerous overlooks with breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada.

Sequoia National Park is not just a sanctuary for giant sequoias and wildlife; it is a place of wonder and exploration, offering visitors the chance to connect with the natural world and experience the profound beauty and serenity of the wilderness. Along with the redwoods, the sequoias are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America.

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Sequoia National Park Highlights


Sequoia National Park, famed for its towering trees and rugged landscapes, is also a refuge for diverse wildlife, each species playing a role in the ecosystem and enhancing visitors’ experience in this majestic slice of the Sierra Nevada.

Black Bear Omnivorous and curious, black bears are frequently spotted throughout the park, foraging for berries, nuts, and insects in both forested areas and meadows.

Mule Deer Graceful mule deer are commonly seen at dawn and dusk, browsing in the park’s meadows and forest edges, a serene presence amidst the giant trees.

Sequoia Chipmunk Active and playful, sequoia chipmunks are easily spotted by visitors, their striped backs darting among the forest floor, gathering food and chirping alertly.

Mountain Chickadee The mountain chickadee, with its distinctive black cap and white cheeks, flits through the park’s coniferous forests, filling the air with its cheerful calls.

Western Gray Squirrel Notable for their bushy tails and gray fur, western gray squirrels are a common sight, scampering through the park’s groves and along its trails.

American Black Bear While similar to black bears, American black bears in Sequoia have their own unique behaviors, adapting to the park’s environment in search of food and shelter.

Steller’s Jay Vibrant and noisy, Steller’s jays are often encountered by visitors, their bright blue feathers and crest standing out against the park’s greenery.

Douglas Squirrel The Douglas squirrel, or chickaree, is a vital part of the ecosystem, known for its loud bark and the role it plays in seed dispersal within the park.

California Ground Squirrel Ubiquitous in open areas, California ground squirrels are often seen standing alert on their hind legs, watching for predators while foraging for food.

Pika Adapted to high elevations, pikas are rarely seen but often heard, their distinctive calls echoing among the park’s rocky outcrops and alpine meadows.

Sequoia National Park’s non-predatory wildlife, from the ambling Black Bear to the industrious Pika, showcases the park’s vibrant life beneath its canopy of ancient giants, inviting visitors to witness the diverse inhabitants of this storied landscape.

Largest in the World

The General Sherman Tree is a magnificent giant sequoia located in Sequoia National Park, California, and is revered as the largest tree on Earth by volume.

Standing tall amidst the ancient forest, this iconic tree commands attention with its impressive dimensions and awe-inspiring presence.

General Sherman Tree reaches a towering height of approximately 275 feet (83.8 meters), soaring high above the surrounding canopy. Its massive trunk boasts a circumference at the base of about 102 feet (31.1 meters), making it one of the widest trees in the world.

With a diameter at breast height (DBH) measuring roughly 36.5 feet (11.1 meters), General Sherman Tree showcases the incredible girth characteristic of giant sequoias.

Visitors from around the globe flock to witness this natural wonder, marveling at its immense size and significance in Sequoia National Park’s ancient forest ecosystem.

Engaging Sequoia National Park

Explore the majestic forests and towering peaks of Sequoia National Park on its extensive network of hiking trails. From easy nature walks to challenging backcountry treks, the park offers routes for all skill levels and interests.

Discover ancient groves of giant sequoias, traverse scenic mountain passes, and marvel at breathtaking vistas of the Sierra Nevada landscape. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as black bears, mule deer, and mountain lions as you immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park.

Take a leisurely drive along the park’s scenic roads and byways, winding through breathtaking mountain scenery and past iconic landmarks.

Enjoy panoramic vistas of rugged peaks, pristine lakes, and cascading waterfalls as you explore the park from the comfort of your car. Stop at overlooks and viewpoints along the way to capture stunning photographs and soak in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada landscape.

Challenge yourself on the park’s granite cliffs and domes by engaging in rock climbing and bouldering activities. Test your skills on classic routes such as Moro Rock and the Great Western Divide, or explore lesser-known areas for new challenges and adventures.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, Sequoia National Park offers opportunities for thrilling vertical adventures amidst stunning alpine scenery.

Sequoia National Park Trails

Congress Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles loop with minimal elevation gain

Description: This paved, accessible trail starts at the world-renowned General Sherman Tree, the largest tree by volume on Earth, and takes hikers through the heart of the Giant Forest. The trail is named for the groups of massive sequoias called “The Senate” and “The House.” It’s a gentle walk suitable for all ages, offering close-up views of these ancient giants.

Moro Rock Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 300 feet (91 meters)

Description: This short but steep trail leads to the top of Moro Rock, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the Great Western Divide and the San Joaquin Valley. The trail is carved into the granite and includes staircases and railings. It’s a popular spot for sunset and sunrise, offering one of the most iconic views in the park.

Tokopah Falls Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3.4 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 630 feet (192 meters)

Description: Starting from the Lodgepole area, this trail follows the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River to the impressive Tokopah Falls, which is 1,200 feet (365 meters) high. The hike is mostly gentle with a few steeper sections near the falls, offering views of high granite cliffs and lush meadows, especially vibrant in the spring and early summer.

Big Trees Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1.3 miles loop with minimal elevation gain

Description: This easy, flat loop circles Round Meadow, nestled within the Giant Forest. Interpretive signs along the trail provide information about the sequoia ecosystem, making it not only a beautiful walk among the giants but also an educational experience. It’s accessible and perfect for families and visitors seeking a leisurely introduction to the park’s majestic sequoias.

Lakes Trail to Pear Lake

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: 12 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 2,600 feet (792 meters)

Description: This trail offers a challenging hike through Sequoia National Park’s backcountry, passing by several alpine lakes, including Heather, Aster, Emerald, and finally Pear Lake. The hike provides stunning views of the Sierra Nevada’s high alpine scenery, with opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy wildflowers along the way. It’s a rewarding full-day hike for more experienced adventurers.


1. What are the dimensions of the largest tree?

The largest tree in Sequoia National Park, known as the General Sherman Tree, is an iconic giant sequoia that holds the title of being the largest tree on Earth by volume.

While exact dimensions may vary slightly depending on measurement techniques and natural growth changes, General Sherman Tree is estimated to be around 275 feet (83.8 meters) tall.

Its circumference at the base is approximately 102 feet (31.1 meters), and its diameter at breast height (DBH) is roughly 36.5 feet (11.1 meters). The tree’s massive trunk contains an astounding volume of wood, estimated at over 52,500 cubic feet (1,486.6 cubic meters).

These dimensions highlight the remarkable size and stature of this ancient giant sequoia, attracting visitors from around the world to marvel at its awe-inspiring presence in Sequoia National Park.

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