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A Guide to Hiking in Sequoia National Park


Sequoia National Park: Trail Maps
No trip to Sequoia would be complete without visiting the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest living tree at 275 feet (84 meters).
No trip to Sequoia would be complete without visiting the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest living tree at 275 feet (84 meters).
Alan Levenson/Workbook Stock/Getty Images

With the vast majority of Sequoia designated as wilderness, this national park is a nature-lovers playground. Sequoia offers a wide range of hiking experiences – visitors can meander through a meadow, tackle one of many adrenaline-rushing climbs, or embark on a fabulous multi-day backpacking adventure. The added bonus is that Sequoia has a series of well-marked trails, which makes staying on track a breeze in this wilderness wonderland [source: Crapsey].

With any wilderness area, there are several important considerations for visitors to Sequoia. Hikers are expected to abide by minimal impact restrictions, such as staying on existing trails, camping on bare ground, and packing out all trash [source: National Park Service]. There is also a strict "no pets" rule in Sequoia for the safety of wildlife. Hikers should also keep in mind that day trips do not require a permit, but any overnight stay requires a wilderness permit, which may be obtained at ranger stations and visitor centers [source: National Park Service].

Safety is a very important issue for hikers in the Sequoia. Much of this park is vast and rugged terrain that is best explored with a buddy or in a group. Also, be sure to let someone back home know where you're going and when you intend to return. Hiking in the Sierra is a lovely experience, but it's not without potential pitfalls. To stay safe and remain healthy, you'll need to purify your drinking water and either store your food in air-tight containers or (preferably) in the many bear boxes scattered throughout the park [source: National Park Service].

While Sequoia National Park has so many amazing trails and jaw-dropping sights to choose from, there are certain "must see" destinations in this pristine mountain paradise, including wonderful flower-filled meadows in the foothills, centuries-old giant sequoia trees, and the massive Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous US [source: United States Geological Survey]. We explore each of these in the next section.


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