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Feel like Planning a Post-Pandemic Trip? These Spots in Sequoia National Park Might Convince You

Schedule time to revive your love for adventure with breathtaking alpine views, behemoth trees, and black bears

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Though you might not be able to travel far from home right now, just planning a trip can boost your mood and give you something to look forward to. One thing the pandemic has taught me is a greater appreciation for local adventure. It reminds me that some of the most exciting and beautiful parts of the world could easily be in a neighboring town or state within the country you live. Sequoia National Park boasts 629 square miles of forest in the Sierra Nevada in east-central California. Between the stresses and responsibilities of life, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger things. Sequoia National Park, with its giant trees and historic aura is the place to go to be reminded of the vastness of the great outdoors and our tiny place within it. Check out these spots in Sequoia National Park to experience the feeling.

Photo: DNC Parks and Resorts at Sequoia National Park

Bearpaw High Sierra Camp

If you’re looking for the ultimate elevated camping experience that comes with an added challenge, booking a reservation at Bearpaw Camp is for you. Bearpaw sits atop a 7,800 foot granite rock overlooking the Great Western Divide. The hike to the campground is 11.5 miles one-way along the High Sierra Trail, starting at Crescent Meadow. It’s a moderate hike that includes several creek crossings and spectacular mountain views. Though it’s certainly a longer trek, the unique alpine experience you’ll get at the campground is something you’ll talk about for years. It’s the ultimate glamping experience-- tent cabins and home-cooked, family style meals at your fingertips. Come with an appetite for exploration and a guilt free want for relaxation.

Photo: National Park Service

Moro Rock

The hike to Moro Rock is quick, yet the panoramic views at the summit are spectacular. You’ll climb a stone staircase leading up the large granite dome, which opens up to views of the Great Western Divide’s peaks, San Joaquin Valley to the west, and vast wilderness as far as the eye can see to the east. Being at the top will make you feel like you’re touching the sky as you stand level with the clouds. For the ultimate treat, plan to hike Moro Rock right before sunset to be greeted by a stunningly painted sky. It’ll feel like you’ve earned the best seat in the house to the most fantastic display of nature.

Photo: DNC Parks and Resorts at Sequoia National Park

Tunnel Log

Have you ever marveled at a fallen tree? Maybe you thought about how big it looked resting on the ground. Or maybe you were annoyed, instead, that it was obstructing your path. Tunnel log is not your average down tree. It’s a massive fallen sequoia across the middle of the road, but rather than annoyance, it incites excitement and wonder. The mammoth tree fell over in 1937, but a year later, a car tunnel was carved in the middle of its trunk so vehicles could still pass through. People come from near and far to drive their car through the tunnel while a willing family member waits at the other side to snap a photo. It’s a picture your friends will definitely get a kick out of.

Photo: DNC Parks and Resorts at Sequoia National Park

Crescent Meadow

Some call Crescent Meadow the “Gem of the Sierras.” In that case, why wouldn’t you want to check it out? Though the loop hike through Crescent Meadow is short and quite easy, the trail is great for several reasons. It’s low intensity grade makes it perfect for young children and adults alike. No one gets left behind--you can take the whole family along! Moreover, its scenery-- wide open, bright green fields, giant sequoias, budding wildflowers, and wildlife-- is a photographer’s and artist’s dreamscape. It’s the place to come to breathe and find peace among all the raw beauty. Be sure to keep your camera or sketchbook handy.

Photo: Adam Franklin

Tokopah Falls

The 3.4 mile out-and-back hike to Tokopah Falls includes remarkable views of Panther Peak and the Marble Fork Kaweah River. The cherry on top is getting to take in the cascading waterfalls that spill over from the top of the mountain to the river below. It’s a bonus if you visit in the Spring when snow from the mountain melts, creating other branches of smaller free-flowing waterfalls. The trickling and rushing sound of water will be your soundtrack on this hike. Accompaniment by the crunching of ground beneath your feet and the sounds of birds overhead makes for the perfect symphony.

Photo: DNC Parks and Resorts at Sequoia National Park

General Sherman Tree Trail

If you visit Sequoia National Park, you won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to view the world famous Sherman Tree in the Giant Forest. It’s the largest tree on Earth by sheer volume. The tree is a giant Sequoia and is predicted to be approximately 2,300 to 2,700 years old. Take a moment to imagine all the events this tree has lived through.

Photo: DNC Parks and Resorts at Sequoia National Park

Tharp’s Log

Maybe you played in a treehouse as a kid, but you’ve never seen one like this before. Tharp’s Log is a giant Sequoia tree that was hollowed out at Log Meadow in the Giant Forest. Early pioneers used the inside of the trunk as shelter and in 1861, Hale Dixon Tharp (a cattleman) built a cozy cabin inside that he used as a summer home. Tharp added windows, a fireplace, a chimney, and even furnished the place with a bed, table, and bench. How about that for a summer home? Swing by this historical landmark to get a feel for rustic living in its truest form.

Photo: DNC Parks and Resorts at Sequoia National Park

Lodgepole Café

You won’t want to forget to fuel yourself while staying active throughout the day. If you don’t have quite enough time or space to prepare meals for your mid-hike break, the Lodgepole Café is a great place to stop in to grab a snack or pre-prepared meal. We know you want to prioritize your adventures, so opt for maximizing your time outdoors knowing that your picnic needs will be taken care! Services and operating hours may be unavailable or limited at this time due to the pandemic, but you can stay up to date on COVID policies by visiting their website.

Cover photo: Jennifer Carr

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!

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