Sequoia National Park Hiking#4 in Best Things To Do in Sequoia National Park
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There are any number of trails in Sequoia National Park for all abilities and ages. In the Giant Forest, the Congress Trail, a paved 2-mile loop that begins near the General Sherman Tree, is a big hit with visitors, who call it a beautiful, relatively easy walk. A shorter hike, the Big Trees Trail, is a 1-mile loop that goes around a meadow and features interpretive exhibits about the natural history of giant sequoias along the way. Make sure you have a map in hand (cell service is spotty in the park), plenty of water and stay alert for bears. While encounters are rare, hikers should always be aware of their surroundings. Also, plan for the weather, with the proper gear in hand.
For those looking for longer hikes, treks to scenic places like Mist Falls include an 8-mile round-trip journey through forest and chaparral, past rapids and cascades, to finally reward hikers with views of one of the largest waterfalls in the park. To learn about all the hikes available, stop at one of the park's visitors centers. You can pick up maps and get advice from rangers about which of the many trails would be the best fit for you. Trails are accessible 24/7 and free for all visitors. For more information about hiking trails, visit the National Park Service website.
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#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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