Visiting Sequoia National Park in Northern California
By Meg Brunson
When visiting Northern California we knew we wanted to see the Great Sequoia trees and were super excited to check out Sequoia National Park. Entry was covered by our US Park Pass and we visited in March 2020. Our goal was to drive through the park up to the trail that would lead us to the General Sherman, the world’s largest tree.
During the drive through the park we enjoyed stopping at a couple different pull-offs to park and explore a bit. The kids loved walking under a giant rock tunnel, and watching the river flow while listening to the birds. As we moved throughout the park, heading higher and higher up in elevation, the temperature dropped quickly. We were able to observe clouds rolling in which made it even chillier.
There were many overlook spots as we worked our way up the mountains and we loved looking out over the beautiful mountains and forests.
When we reached the parking spot where we would park and hike a short distance to the General Sherman, there was a coat of snow on the ground. I wish we had brought boots! The kids enjoyed seeing little snowmen that other kids had built and we also regretted not knowing enough to bring gloves or mittens.
The hike was relatively easy. We walked through a fallen tree that was carved into a tunnel and the kids loved that. We were able to see a cross-section of a fallen tree and get a real sense for how big in circumference these trees really are. There was an area where twin trees grew right next to one another and provided a cute photo-op, and it was extra special because my husband recalls a photo of his parents at a similar spot – we had fun wondering if it could have been the same one.
Then, there was the reason for our visit: the General Sherman tree. It was certainly big! We spent some time taking in the amazingness of it all, and then took our turn to snap a couple pics with the tree. I got a really cool shot where I took the pic in panoramic but moved the phone vertically keeping the center of the tree on the panoramic guide line… and then bent upwards and backwards a bit at the end to get the treetops. I was not sure if the idea would work, but I love the resulting photo – the key was getting the kids to stand still while I shot it!
Helpful Hints for Planning your visit
- Tire chains & warm clothing – ensure you have chains for your tires, even if they’re just in the trunk, just in case. Driving up to see the General Sherman brings you into high elevations and they can get extreme weather out of the blue. The day we visited in March it was a nice sunny day, and as we drove up the weather quickly got colder and snow was covering the ground. We were not prepared for the freezing temps, and bring from upstate NY we know that while the roads were okay during our visit, that could have changed quickly.
- Know what you’re looking for – we wanted to see the General Sherman, the worlds largest tree. In order to see the tree I knew we’d have to walk a short trail, and along the trail, many people were taking photos of a tree they thought was the General Sherman, but the signs were just confusing. Luckily I had looked it up before our visit so I knew what it looked like, and we didn’t get as confused as others.
Start planning your trip at: https://www.nps.gov/seki/index.htm
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© 2020 Meg Brunson
All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four daughters who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!