10 Best Day Hikes In Sequoia National Park

Hikes in Sequoia National Park

If it’s your first time planning a trip to Sequoia, you may be wondering which trails you should be adding to your bucket list. Don’t worry – we got you! This guide covers all the best hikes in Sequoia National Park along with tons of other helpful information to make the best out of your visit!

Giant Sequoia trees, waterfalls, rugged landscapes, and towering mountains – there is a reason why Sequoia National Park is one of my favorite outdoor spaces in California. Over the past few years, I’ve made a point to visit Sequoia National Park every year and check off some of its most popular hiking trails.  

Whether you’re coming to visit this park for the day, or planning a longer California road trip, here are some of the best day hikes in Sequoia National Park!

The trails that we cover in this post are easy day hikes for all fitness levels. Plus we share lots of helpful tips including how to get there, where to stay, and so much more. Let’s dive in!

Some of the links used in this blog may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission when you book through these links for which I am very thankful!

10 Best Hikes In Sequoia National Park:

1. Moro Rock

One of the best parts about visiting Sequoia National Park is the variety of terrain that you can experience here. While there are A LOT of big trees to marvel at in this park, that is not all Sequoia has to offer!

If you’re coming to Sequoia NP for the first time, the Moro Rock Trail is an absolute MUST DO. Moro Rock is one of the most popular day hikes at Sequoia National Park that goes up 350 narrow stairs carved into a giant rock slab – now that is not something you get to experience every day!

Hiking to the top of Moro Rock

But fair warning – this trail is not exactly fun for those who have a fear of heights. You may experience vertigo and dizziness from the strenuous climb and 6700 feet of altitude. As always – prioritize your safety and turn around if needed.

To reach the trailhead you can take the park shuttle that runs in the summer months from the Giant Forest Museum. In the off-season, you may need to hike additional 1.6 miles each way to reach the Moro Rock Trailhead.

Trail Highlights:

2. General Sherman Tree Trail

A trip to Sequoia National Park wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the General Sherman Tree. This enormous Sequoia tree will simply amaze you, especially if it’s your first-time visiting Sequoia National Park.

The General Sherman Tree is located next to the General’s Highway. You can either drive to the trailhead or take the park shuttle that will drop you off right next to it. The ease of accessibility ensures that General Sherman is one of the few attractions at Sequoia NP that can be seen by visitors all year long.

This impressive Sequoia Tree is world famous for its giant tree trunk size. The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the world by volume of its trunk and will truly make you feel so small standing next to it! And if that wasn’t enough – The General Sherman Tree is also over 2000 years old and 275 feet tall!

Information signs along the trail

To reach the General Sherman Tree, you can take a paved, mostly flat path that goes in a short loop. Along the trail, you will see information signs about the Sequoia trees and pass a few fallen giants.

Walking along the General Sherman Tree Trail will simply leave you in awe of nature and the incredible things that we can experience at Sequoia National Park. If you don’t mind waiting in a line (and yes – there is always a line, even in the winter!) you can take a photo in front of this iconic Sequoia tree. 

Trail Highlights:

3. Tokopah Falls

Trail to Tokopah Falls

For something a bit different, I recommend checking out the Tokopah Falls Trail. While many of the attractions at Sequoia National Park center around big trees, the highlight of this trail is the stunning 1200-foot Tokopah waterfall.

Along the Tokopah Falls Trail, you can enjoy views of the Marble Fork Kaweah River, jagged mountain peaks, and beautiful wildflowers. The trail ends at the Tokopah Falls which flows down a tall cliff with sheer force.

The Tokopah Falls Trail starts at the Lodgepole Campground. There is a designated day visitor lot where you can park your car for the hike. From the campground, the trail goes along the Marble Fork Kaweah River for the entire time.

Once you reach the waterfall, there is a designated area to view the falls safely. Be aware that this area consists of slick, loose rocks if you decided to explore further around the river.

Trail Highlights:

4. Congress Trail

Giant Sequoia trees along the Congress Trail

Congress Trail is where you can find some of the largest Sequoia groves within Sequoia National Park, including The Senate Group, The House Group, and The President Tree. A few other noteworthy trees in this area include the McKinley Tree, the General Lee Tree, and Chief Sequoyah Tree amongst many others.

Walking along the Congress Trail you’ll keep stumbling upon one giant tree after another, each more impressive than the last! And because this trail is a bit long, it’s not as crowded as some of the shorter hiking routes.

The Congress Trail starts near the General Sherman Tree Trail. From there, you can take the Congress Trail for about a mile south before looping back up again. There are several trails that intersect in this area so be sure to download a hiking app to stay on track.

Trail Highlights:

5. Big Trees Trail

The Big Trees Trail is a great place to go for a leisurely walk, especially for those who have little kids. The Big Trees Trailhead is located a short walk from the Giant Forest Museum where you can check out trail maps and exhibits covering Sequoia National Park history over the years.

Along the Big Trees Trail, you can get some amazing views of the lush Round Meadow that this trail loops around. Healthy meadows are essential for Sequoia trees as they provide water that is much needed for Sequoia trees to grow and survive.

You wouldn’t know it now, but up until 2000, this area consisted of roads, campgrounds, restaurants, and cabins that were built all around the meadow. All of these buildings were damaging the giant Sequoia trees so eventually, they were removed returning the meadow back to its natural state.

This easy loop consists of a mix of wooden boardwalks, paved walkways, and dirt trails. The Big Trees Trail is also accessible in the winter making it a great place to marvel at the giant Sequoias – all year long!

Trail Highlights:

6. Crescent Meadow Loop Trail

For those looking for an easy, pleasant hike, the Crescent Meadow Loop Trail is the one for you! This hike will take you on a mostly-flat trail to several lush meadows hidden deep within the Sequoia National Park.

To get to the starting point you can take a shuttle or walk from the Giant Forest Museum. We recommend taking the shuttle to cut out the 5-mile round trip extra walk.

There are fewer giant Sequoia trees in this part of the forest so most people skip Crescent Meadow on their visit. But for us, that was one of the reasons why we enjoyed it so much! The Crescent Meadow Loop is a great hiking choice if you’re looking for a bit of peace and solitude away from the crowds.

Meadows are also great places for wildlife sightings. During our hike, we saw a young black bear munching on the plants in the distance.

Trail Highlights:

7. Hanging Rock Trail

The Hanging Rock at Sequoia National Park

The Hanging Rock is a hidden little gem that can be found near Moro Rock. Although this trail is only 0.5 miles long, you do need to proceed with caution when attempting this hike, especially as you’re nearing the rock.  

This ‘Hanging Rock’ is situated at the edge of a downward-sloping granite slab earning its appropriate name. There are no guard rails for protection so be aware of where you step and stay away from the cliff edges for safety.

Views of Moro Rock from the ‘Hanging Rock’

If you’re not up for climbing to the top of Moro Rock, this is a great alternative for enjoying mountain views. The Hanging Rock viewing area offers unobstructed sights of the surrounding wilderness that look especially stunning for sunset.

Trail Highlights:

8. Tunnel Log

The fallen ‘Tunel Log’ along the Crescent Meadow Road

Although this is not an official ‘park trail’ per se, it took me a few visits to figure out where the Tunnel Log is located. If this iconic landmark is on your Sequoia National Park bucket list as well, here are all the details on how to find it!

In the summer, you can take the park shuttle that will drop you off by Tunnel Log where you can snap a photo walking through this carved-out giant Sequoia tree. However, in the off-season, you will need to walk for 1.6 miles along Crescent Meadow Road from the Giant Forest Museum to reach it on your own.

The Crescent Meadow Road that leads to Tunnel Log is paved and fairly flat. As an alternative, you can also take the scenic Soldier’s Hill Trail through the forest, but it does have a steeper incline along the way.

Trail Highlights:

9. Sunset Rock

If you’re looking to enjoy serene scenery away from people, consider the Sunset Rock Trail. This hike starts at the Giant Forest Museum and is only 1.6 miles long round trip, making it a great option for families and beginner hikers.

Sunset Rock is one of the easiest and most underrated day hikes at Sequoia National Park. Not many people venture into this trail so you’ll hardly encounter other hikers.

The hike ends at Sunset Rock which (as its name indicates) is a great place to watch the sunset over the mountains in the distance. Because this part of the park is not very crowded, many people often report spotting black bears along the Sunset Rock Trail.

Trail Highlights:

  • Length: 1.6 miles out and back
  • Elevation: 150 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Location: Sunset Rock
  • AllTrails Map: Sunset Rock

10. Little Baldy

Little Baldy is a stunning mountain peak within Sequoia National Park that sits at 8044 feet in elevation. From this summit, you can enjoy 360 panoramic views overlooking the surrounding wilderness and Big Baldy to the north of it.

The Little Baldy Trail is located in the northern part of Sequoia National Park so it doesn’t get as many visitors. Due to the lack of people and foot traffic, this is a great area for wildlife sightings that include deer, bears, and marmots.

The trail that leads to the top of Little Baldy is only 1.7 miles long each way, but it is pretty steep. The trail follows long switchbacks that climb up the mountain gaining 800 feet in elevation. While the distance is short, this hike can take around 2-3 hours to complete.

The trail ends at the top of a granite dome where you can enjoy stunning views of the mountains. Some parts of this forest were burned in recent wildfires and are still recovering from the damage.

Trail Highlights:

We hope this hiking guide has helped you find a few exciting trails to add to your Sequoia bucket list!

Here are some other frequently asked questions about visiting Sequoia National Park in California:

Where Is Sequoia National Park Located?

Sequoia National Park is situated within the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s north of the neighboring Sequoia National Forest and south of its ‘sister park’ – Kings Canyon National Park. Due to its proximity to Kings Canyon, an entrance pass to visit Sequoia National Park includes Kings Canyon as well, so you get a 2-for-1 deal!

Sequoia National Park is located about a 4-hour drive from Los Angeles, 2 hours from Bakersfield, and 1.5 hours from Fresno making it a popular getaway destination for California locals, especially in the summer.

Most people that visit Sequoia National Park arrive through Three Rivers town. Three Rivers is located just 10 minutes from the south Sequoia entrance station making it a convenient place to stay for visitors.

Three Rivers town is small, but it has everything you need for a comfortable visit to the mountains including campgrounds, hotels, and shops. It’s even home to the Three Rivers Brewing Co that we recommend for post-hike beers!

There is one road – the Generals Highway that travels through Sequoia National Park. Most of the park trails and attractions can be reached from this highway.

In the summer, visitors can take a shuttle to various stops throughout the park.

Keep in mind that there is no reception once you head into the mountains. We always recommend downloading an offline version of Google Maps for driving directions and AllTrails or Maps.Me apps for hiking routes.

A few things to note:

  • Parking at Sequoia is VERY LIMITED. When visiting this park, we try to arrive as early as possible to secure a parking spot near the Giant Forest Museum.
  • If the Giant Forest Museum parking lot is full, you can also look for open spots by The General Sherman Tree or at the Lodgepole Market & Grill.
  • Due to limited parking, Sequoia National Park has a visitor shuttle that runs in the busier summer months. This shuttle makes several stops throughout the park near the main attractions.

Before you head out to Sequoia National Park, we recommend getting a Sequoia & Kings Canyon Self-Driving Audio Guide to learn more about this scenic California park!

Best Time To Visit Sequoia National Park

The best time for hiking in Sequoia National Park is in the summer between June to August when all of the trails are accessible.

We visited Sequoia National Park in the winter before (which is an incredible experience that I highly recommend!) but many of the trails were snowed in and inaccessible. In the winter months, the roads can also often close with short notice or require chains due to snowfall.

We typically plan our mountain trips to Sequoia in the early summer before the temperatures start to pick up (along with the unpredictable California wildfires).

Sequoia National Park Entrance Passes & Cost

It costs $35 to visit Sequoia National Park in California. This pass is valid for up to 7 days and also includes admission to Kings Canyon National Park that’s situated north of it.

If you plan to visit several National Parks in the near future, I recommend getting America The Beautiful pass. This annual pass costs $80 but it provides you with unlimited entries into any US National Park for a year. I’ve been using this pass for a long time now and it always pays itself off within a few visits.

While the highly popular Yosemite National Park requires advance reservations for its day visitors, Sequoia National Park does not (although more and more US parks are starting to implement them). For now, you can simply arrive at the entrance booth, pay for the pass and enter the park without planning ahead of time.

Where To Stay Near Sequoia National Park

Before you head out on your mountain adventure, here are some of the top hotels to stay near Sequoia National Park!

Rio Sierra Riverhouse – Three Rivers

Photo by Rio Sierra Riverhouse

Take in the sights and sounds of the picturesque Kaweah River from the comfort of the Rio Sierra Riverhouse. This cozy riverfront hotel is ideal for traveling families or friends itching to explore the nearby Sequoia National Park.

This beautiful hotel boasts a spacious river seating area complete with picnicking and swimming facilities. The entrance to Sequoia National Park is a mere 15-minute drive from the hotel!

Wyndham Visalia

Photo by Wyndham Visalia 

Wyndham Visalia is a cozy three-star hotel located in Visalia. Visalia is a decent-sized city close to Sequoia National Park which makes it a great home base if you want to stay near restaurants, coffee shops, and stores. Each room at Wyndham Visalia is air-conditioned and features a desk if you’re like me and need to get some work done while traveling.

In the morning enjoy a cup of coffee in the designated lounging area before heading out for the day. Be sure to take advantage of the offered grab-and-go meals as food options within Sequoia National Park are pretty limited.

Silver City Mountain Resort

Photo by Silver City Mountain Resort

This charming cabin resort is located within Sequoia National Park boundaries, tucked away at the end of a windy mountain road. The cabins come with lovely outdoor decks furnished with grills, lounge chairs, and views of the surrounding redwood and Sequoia trees.

Silver City Mountain Resort offers many different cabin styles from rustic to vintage and luxurious, depending on your group size, budget, and needs. Some cottages also feature fully stocked kitchens for the perfect getaway in nature!

Read More: 15 Amazing Hotels Near Sequoia National Park For a Mountain Adventure

Other Sequoia National Park Travel Tips

Here are a few handy tips to help you prepare for a hiking trip to Sequoia National Park:

  • Stay safe out on the trails. Bring a medical kit, headlamp, bear spray, plenty of water bottles & snacks. If you plan to hike later in the afternoon, pack extra layers and be prepared for the temperatures to drop as soon as the sun starts setting.
  • Wear comfortable hiking boots and bring trekking poles if needed. While these trails are not very technical and are made for various fitness levels, some parts can be steep or pass loose rocks and tree roots.
  • There are no gas stations within the park boundaries. Be sure to fill up on gas before arriving at the park. 
  • The park has limited places where you can get food and water. We usually stock up on food, water, and snacks before our trip.
  • Sequoia National Park does not allow dogs on any of the trails. If you do bring your dog, they must stay within paved roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas.
  • Sequoia National Park does not allow drones. It’s best to leave your drone at home to avoid a hefty fine!

When visiting National Parks and outdoor spaces, please follow the ‘Leave No Trace Principles’. National Parks are receiving more and more visitors every year so it’s important to reduce our impact and leave these places better than we found them to ensure future preservation.

With incredible hiking trails, surreal scenery, and some of the biggest trees in the world, Sequoia National Park is one of the best mountain destinations to visit in California!

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