Established in 1890, Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park in the United States after Yellowstone National Park. The establishment of the national park was very important to stop the destruction of nature and the felling of trees. In 1940, Sequoia National Park in California was combined with Kings Canyon National Park to the north as one contiguous protected area. The two Californian national parks together have an area of 3,503 km².
Hiker looks up at a redwood tree in awe
Away from the busy summer tourist trail, the terrain in Sequoia National Park is exceptionally inaccessible and wild. In the parks there are very high mountains and deep canyons. The park is forested up to an altitude of about 3,300 meters. Sequoia National Park is 150 kilometers south of Mono Lake.
Water dispenser for California
According to EHUACOM, many visitors come to Sequoia National Park just for the sequoias. The protected area has much more to offer. The highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada, Mount Whitney at 4,418 meters, is located in the southeastern part of the park. There are also beautiful gorges, waterfalls and secluded lakes. Both parks are difficult to access from the east side because of the steep, inaccessible cliff faces.
Flora and fauna
The animal and plant world in Sequoia National Park is very diverse because of the different climate zones in the park area. Over 1,200 plant species were found, as well as around 300 animal species. The Sequoia National Park consists not only of forests, but also has larger meadow areas.
Sequoias at a hiker’s hut
The park’s largest mammals are the black bear, coyotes, foxes, and mule deer. Plus the smaller marmots, porcupines and raccoons. There is probably also the very endangered and rare mountain lion (puma) in the region of the national park.
Shoshonen – the gold brought death
The Shoshone Native Americans lived in what is now the national park area until the arrival of the whites. At first there were no arguments. But when gold was found, countless white prospectors and adventurers crowded into the area. Bad fights ensued. In addition, the Shoshone were killed by hitherto unknown diseases such as measles, smallpox and scarlet fever. Their bodies had no defenses against the “Old World” diseases. Finally, in 1865, the last Native American was expelled from the area.
Redwoods in Sequoia National Park with minor fire damage
Ruthless felling of the redwoods
The giant sequoia trees were ruthlessly cut down as a result. Since there was no particular use, the wood of the Sequois was used almost exclusively as firewood. Cattle breeders also came to the area. Large areas of the sequoias were felled to gain pastures. The peak of destruction was around 1880.
Sequoia – a special tree
Along the west-facing slopes of the Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park is home to a number of notable large sequoias, or Sierra Redwoods. The Sierra Redwoods (giant sequoias) grow in the arid areas of the national park.
The Sierra Nevada redwoods have a larger trunk girth than the coastal redwoods. The Giant Sequoia in Sequoia National Park have a thick and spongy bark. The seeds in the cones are released only under high heat. Wildfires, terrible as they are, contribute to the proliferation of redwoods. A fully grown Giant Sequoia has around 40,000 cones. The well -known General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is 84 meters high and the circumference of the tree is 31 meters. The General Sherman Tree is approximately 2,500 years old.
General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park in California
Sequoia National Park – hiker’s paradise
California National Park has many beautiful hiking trails. Suitable trails are available for every age group. The park as a whole is almost deserted and lonely off the tourist track. It is therefore possible to enjoy the tranquility and grandeur of nature on hikes. Only the sometimes begging, hungry squirrels along the paths are a reminder of the influence of civilization. Only a few paved roads lead through the Sequoia National Park area.
Kern Canyon, through which the Kern River flows, is located in Sequoia National Park. The valley runs in north-south direction. There are also some redwoods there. The valley is beautiful. Almost all of the water from the Kern River is used for irrigation and drinking water in the State of California. The Kern River drains Mount Whitney’s meltwater from the park.
Activities in the national park
The few good roads in Sequoia National Park can be used for bike tours. You can go horseback riding or cave tours. However, one should never forget that wild animals still live in abundance in the forests. The parking regulations must be observed. Those who are not afraid of the cold in winter can take part in guided snowshoe hikes with park rangers.
John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail (long-distance hiking trail) runs through Sequoia National Park. John Muir was a particular conservation pioneer in the western United States. The John Muir Trail is 340 kilometers long and leads through Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, almost untouched by civilization on lonely paths.
The solitary mountain Moro Rock with its 2,050 meters high is another magnet for visitors in Sequoia National Park. It can be reached via steps carved into the hard granite. Once at the top, you have a wonderful view of the forests and gorges of the national park. The shape of Moro Rock is somewhat reminiscent of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Further south, very close to Moro Rock, is the Giant Sequoia National Monument area. There you can find smaller groups of redwoods, but they are quite inaccessible and difficult to find. To the north is Kings Canyon National Park.
Visitor Center and campsites
Guided minibus tours through the national park are offered by the national park administration. Fishing is permitted with a permit in almost all of the lakes in the national park. In general, you can learn a lot about the national park in the visitor centers; Information material is also available there in large quantities.
There are ten campgrounds in Sequoia National Park. Each pitch on the campgrounds is equipped with a table and bench, a grill and a bear shelter for food. There are only two campsites with dump stations for fresh water and waste water from the RV camper vans. Reservation of a parking space is only possible to a very limited extent, especially during summertime.
The best travel time is from May to September. In winter, the pass roads are usually closed due to the large amounts of snow. There are hotels, lodges and campgrounds in Sequoia National Park. Restaurants provide for the physical well-being. There are several visitor centers in the park.
Campsites in the national park
Hume Lake Area
- Hume Lake
- Convict Flat
Big Meadows and Stony Creek Area
- Stony Creek
- Upper Stony Creek
- horse camp
- Buck Rock
- Big Meadow