General Sherman Tree

#3 in Best Things To Do in Sequoia National Park
General Sherman Tree picture1 of 2
General Sherman Tree2 of 2
Pierdelune/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.7scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The General Sherman Tree – the world's largest tree by volume – stands 275 feet tall and measures more than 36 feet in diameter at its base. Visitors call the tree magnificent and humbling, but warn that lines can be long to take photos by the tree. Many advise arriving early and having patience.

Travelers can see the tree via two trails. The Main Trail can be accessed from a parking lot off Wolverton Road and it's a half-mile walk downhill to reach the tree. Along the way, you'll pass through the Giant Forest and spot exhibits explaining the history of giant sequoias. After you've snapped your photos at the General Sherman Tree, you'll have to walk back uphill. While this trail is paved, there are a few steps. If you'd rather avoid the uphill walk, you can continue downhill to the shuttle stop along Generals Highway. The shuttle will return you to the parking area. There is a wheelchair-accessible trail, which starts from a parking lot along the edge of Generals Highway. From there, it's a quick trip to the tree. The 2-mile-long Congress Trail, a paved loop that begins near the General Sherman Tree, is another hiking option and offers the chance to take in even more views. Visitors say it is well worth it and report that it's not a difficult hike.

In the summer, free park shuttles (all are wheel-chair accessible) transport visitors to the accessible trail. In the winter, the parking area off of Wolverton Road closes and the accessible parking area on Generals Highway is open to all visitors.

Access to the General Sherman Tree is included in park admission. The tree is accessible to visitors 24/7, though the shuttle operates on a set schedule. For more information, visit the National Park Service website.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Giant Forest

Visitors to the Giant Forest use a lot of the same words to describe it, including "awe-inspiring," "amazing" and a "must-see." The large sequoia grove is located between the Marble and Middle Forks of the Kaweah River and is home to more than 8,000 sequoias – the most of any other grove in the park.

Start your visit at the Giant Forest Museum, which offers an overview of the giant sequoias, meadows and human history in the region. The museum is housed in the historic Giant Forest market building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are a series of hikes in the Giant Forest, ranging from short one-hour jaunts to daylong treks; the National Park service lists a few on its website. Visitors recommend longer hikes, such as the Alta Trail or the High Sierra Trail, to escape the crowds, especially in the summer. The Redwood Canyon and Muir Grove also great places for longer treks. The Giant Forest is also home to the famous General Sherman Tree, the largest living sequoia in the world.

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