The Quintessential One Day Itinerary For Sequoia National Park

When time is of the essence, follow this one day guide to take in the absolute best that Sequoia National Park has to offer.

Planning a weekend trip to Sequoia National Park can be overwhelming. There are endless amounts of activities, day hikes, and overnight hikes that can keep you busy for days. Planning a one day trip to Sequoia is even harder, impossible even, if you don't have the right mind set and game plan. Last week my wife, 2 year old daughter and I set off and accomplished a very successful one day Sequoia trip that we will cherish for years to come.

Check out our exact timeline of adventures we shared on our one day epic trip below.

 8PM (night before) - Arrived, set up camp at Buckeye Flat Campground, and immediately hit the sack with anticipation for our long, jam packed day in the park the following day. Buckeye Flat is a wonderful, tent only campground that is both scenic and secluded. This is definitely a place to check out for a quite, off the beaten path campground within the park.

Buckeye Flat Campground

8AM - Rise and Shine! Heated up our famous camping burritos, brewed up some coffee, broke down and packed up camp then hopped in the car to make the 35 minute trek up the mountain. We spent a little extra time pulling over every so often to get out of the car and take in the gorgeous views of the roaring Kaweah River in the valley below.

930AM - Crescent Meadow & Moro Rock

Once we arrived into the heart of the park, we turned right onto Crescent Meadow Road were we intended to check out both Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock. We ended up only exploring Crescent Meadow as it was very cloudy when we arrived and were advised by fellow hikers that visibility was limited off Moro Rock. This was actually a blessing in disguise as we ended up checking out Moro Rock later on in the day and were amazed at what we witnessed. More on Moro Rock later.

Driving along Cresent Meadow Road, before you reach the beautiful meadow, you will drive thru (or bypass) "Tunnel Log", which is a large Sequoia tree that fell in 1937.  A year later, a tunnel was carved through for tourists to drive thru. At the end of the road is where you will find parking for Crescent Meadow. Crescent Meadow is also called "The Gem of the Sierras" and after spending some time hiking around the loop trail, it is no wonder why. This meadow was stunning! I am especially grateful to have been able to visit during the spring because everything around the meadow was so green! You walk along the semi paved trail to the serene sounds of Pacific Treefrogs and the many flowing creeks that form in the spring due to the melting snow from the winter storms. I initially had not planned on visiting the meadow as I was unsure how we would fair on time, but I am certainly glad we did!

Tunnel Log 

Crescent Meadow


11AM - General Sherman/Congress Trail

We hopped back in the car and headed further north up Generals Highway to hike around the Giant Forest and Congress Trail. The Giant Forest is where you will find the world famous Sherman Tree. I remember walking down the General Sherman Trail and upon the first overlook with views of the tree I said, "It doesn't look bigger than any other Sequoia we have seen so far". Boy was I wrong. Once you make it to the bottom of the trail and see the base of the tree, you really get a sense of what a behemoth it truly is. After waiting in a short "line" for our photo op, I was able to look up and appreciate the tree's size in all its glory. 

General Sherman

Giant Sequoias

The Congress Trail is another, less busy, trail in the same general area. Following this paved loop trail, you will pass the third largest tree in the world (President's Tree) as well as two clusters of large sequoias called the Senate and the House.  

1:30PM - LUNCH BREAK

Here is where I would like to tell you we had come prepared and packed a great protein packed lunch and had a picnic at one of the many beautiful picnic areas scattered across the park . . . but, I was so excited planning our trip in the park, I never made time to pack our lunches. This actually turned out to be better because it allowed us the opportunity to check out the Wuksachi Lodge & The Peaks Restaurant which is only two miles north of the Lodgepole Village. After a qucik walk around the lodge's grounds, we stopped in at The Peaks Restaurant for some grub. I highly recommend ordering the BBQ Tri-Tip Sandwich at Peaks and paying the up-charge for the sweet potato fries, they are delish!

3PM - Hike to Tokopah Falls

We knew if we planned everything right, we would have just enough time to knock out a decent hike before heading back to Moro Rock to catch the sunset. The trailhead to the falls is located just beyond the Lodgepole Village area. This 3.4 mile out-and-back hike follows along the Marble Fork Kaweah River with breathtaking views of Panther Peak to the south. The falls were cascading beautifully from the top of the mountain down to the river below. Due to the melting snow, there were plenty of other smaller falls to look at and appreciate.

Marble Fork Kaweah River
Tokopah Falls

6PM - Moro Rock (Part Deux)

After taking a little snack break in the car after our nice hike to Tokopah Falls, we made our way back down Generals Highway to catch the sunset at Moro Rock. Although our intention was to do Moro Rock first thing in the morning, that afternoon offered absolutely gorgeous 360° views that we would not have been able to experience earlier. We were sitting in the middle of the clouds, watching the sunset over the high sierras, all alone. The hike up took approximately 11 minutes, and that was with the extra 35+ lbs lugging my daughter in our Thule Sapling Elite.

Moro Rock TrailTop of Moro RockTop of Moro Rock

As long and exhausting as the day had been, we had a blast and would 100% do it all over again. Like I mentioned before, there are plenty of things to do throughout the park, so come up with a plan that what works best for you and your group. Our day was filled with many of the top highlights the park has to offer, and even though you will leave the park wanting more, you will feel like you got a good taste of this amazing National Park. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nick GarciaExplorer

Travel. Adventure. Capture. Love @TheOutbound