Feb 4, 2013

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park

They are the widest, tallest and the oldest living trees on earth! Visiting Sequoia & Kings Canyon, brings back memories of our trip back in the summer of 2007! It is located in the Southern Sierra Nevada in East California.

Hospital rock entrance
Entrance via Highway 198 @ Hospital Rock 
We drove up via Hwy 198, a very curvy route as compared to driving back home on Hwy 180. No doubt it was very scenic as we were driving alongside Kings River. We camped at one of the campsites within the park. Always fun to camp under the stars and amongst silent bears that visit at night ;-). We had one that opened an unclosed dumpster just where we were camping. This is pretty common in California's parks so don't worry :-) Here are a few things we did over a weekend.


Whilst travelling from Highway 198, stop at Hospital Rock. Here, you will see the Native American pictographs and the grinding stones used for processing acorns, which was a staple for the Monachee people. This is located alongside the main road and is conveniently located for a quick stop.

pictographs sequoia
(Left ): grinding stones, (right): pictographs

From the parking lot, it is a 400 foot step and 300 foot rise in elevation with exhibits all along the way. The 1\4 mile walk up is very steep, challenging and the views get better and better as you approach the top. Some places may\ may not have railing ( as of 2007, not sure if this has changed since then ). No water is available on the trail. There are free shuttle buses that leave from the Giant Forest Museum. The road may be closed to traffic on weekends so do check the park newspaper for up to date information or the national Park Service website for latest information. Here is a pic of the stairway going up. Views of the Great  Western Divide can be seen from the top.

Moro Rock stairways
The steep path to Moro Rock

Western Divide
View of the Great Western Divide

Take a leisurely walk at Crescent Meadow. View this green lush meadow with the sequoias rising high above you!.


How about driving your car through a fallen Sequoia? Yes you can! The base diameter is 21 feet! Length is 275 feet and the tunnel is 8 feet high and 17 feet wide. Below is a picture of what it looks like driving through a tree.
Tunnel Rock
Drive through tree

On our way out from Crescent Meadows, we found an Auto Log that had fallen in 1917. The base diameter is  21 feet. Get a picture to stand beneath the roots of a fallen Sequoia and see how tiny you look under its massive roots!

sequoia roots
The roots of a Sequoia

fallen sequoia tree
Fallen Sequoia tree

Start your excursion here at the Giant Forest Museum that has exhibits and interesting facts of the big trees and see the following..

This is a 1 hour round trip. Mostly flat and stroller friendly. Stop at the Sentinel & the Three Graces. Learn why they stand in an orderly manner and why they are of the same age. Did you know that the Sequoias sprout in large numbers in a fire and grow well in a fully burnt area that has nothing but ash and bare soil. Interesting facts like this are exhibited along the way. No wonder planned fires mostly take place in National parks to encourage growth and to avoid natural wild fires.

three graces
The Three Graces

See the worlds largest tree. The trail is about 1\2 mile down and is downhill. The uphill climb back can be tiring and strenuous. Some interesting fact of this tree:
- Estimated age - 2300-2700 years
- Estimated weight - 1385 t
- Maximum diameter around the base - 36.5 ft
- Volume of the trunk - 52,500 cu ft.
- Height above the base - 274.9 ft
- Height - 275 ft

Also, step inside a burnt Sequoia tree and see how spacious it is!

General Sherman Tree
General Sherman Tree

This was a great experience. To experience this, you will need to buy tickets that are sold at the Lodge Pole & Foothill visitor centres only. No tickets are sold near the cave. Different type of tours are available. We took the normal 45 minute Cave tour. The cave is about 15 miles from the General Sherman Tree. Keep at least 1 1\2 hour for driving ( extra time for traffic\ construction\ parking ). Restrooms are available at the parking lot only. No food and water is available. The walk down is about 1\2 a mile and is fairly comfortable when going down but steep when climbing back up. Sturdy shoes, jackets as it it cold inside the cave, small backpacks, cameras\ flashlight is recommended. Tripods and strollers are not allowed.

Before entering the cave, you will pass through a spider web gate and move from room to room experiencing some of the most wonderful formations of Stalagmites and Stalactite, and also experiencing what it is like to be in complete darkness in a cave. Tours begin in May - September weather permitting. Crystal Cave is a marble cavern and is a complex maze of more than 3 miles. For more information on how these are formed. Here is an information link for the same.

Crystal Cave Sequoia
Stalagmites and Stalactites

crystal cave
Stalagmites & Stalactites

inside crystal cave
Crystal cave

There are other trails available among the sequoia's. Please refer to the Official website for more information.

1 comment:

  1. I found some grinding stones many years ago along the creek in ESHOM campground.I might have ventured onto privte land though