California

 

Sequoia National Park

Sequoiadendron, that is the biological name of the giant sequoia which has given its name to the National Parks in the southern Sierra Nevada that is directly adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park. The park with a total area of more than 1600 square kilometers is home to a large number of these impressive giant trees, especially in Giant Forest, a forest area at an altitude of about 1800 meters, where five of the ten largest trees of the world by volume can be found. Among these is the famous General Sherman Tree with a height of almost 84 meters and a trunk circumference of more than 30 meters. Another sequoia tree with a proud length of 84 meters, which has however fallen, has become another attraction for visitors: There was a square cut into its majestic trunk and the tree now has a second life as a tunnel on one of the streets in the park.

CA Sequoia

Among the other points especially worth seeing within Sequoia National Park, which has been opened in 1940, is Crescent Meadow, a meadow surrounded by redwoods at the end of the High Sierra Trail, one of several available hiking trails as well as Moro Rock, that’s a granite rock with a height of 75 meters near Giant Forest, accessible by shuttle bus. From the peak of Moro Rock, one can enjoy a good view of large parts of the National Park. In the 1930s, 400 steps were hewn into the stone and via these, access to the peak is relatively easy. Also worth seeing is the park’s extended system of caves, which may be visited in guided tours. There are more than 200 caves, partly featuring a length of up to one kilometer and stalactites, fossils and minerals.

Large parts of the National Park are designated wilderness areas, those can not be reached by car. However, there are five scenic drives allowing for great views of the park from the car window. In addition, trails with varying lengths are available for walks and hikes. Also, Sequoia National Park offers great opportunities for climbers. Those visiting during the summer months also have the opportunity for horseback riding. For overnight stays, there is lodge that is open year-round and several campgrounds, located about 23 kilometers from the entrance. For both accomodation options, advance reservations are recommended.

As another highlight, Sequoia National Park also features the highest mountain of the lower 48 US states. Mount Whitney, 4421 meters tall, was climbed for the first time in 1873. Today, several trails with varying degrees of difficulty bring visitors to the peak. These trails can be used in the summer and fall months and only upon obtaining a permission by the US Forest Service. There is a Smithsonian Institution research center shortly below the mountain’s peak.

National Park Service pursues a special strategy concerning wildfires. Those are not rigidly fought but they are kept burning in containment, because it has been found that the fires nourish the soil for the sequoias, which are in turn strong enough not to suffer from the fire.

 

 

More information on Sequoia National Park can be found on the National Park Service’s website.  


 

 

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