Located adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park was California’s first and is America’s second-oldest national park. It is an unspoiled treasure of some of the most striking scenery in the world. The 402,510-acre park in the southcentral section of the Sierra Nevada Range, was established in September 1890. The highest peaks of those mountains are contained in the park's eastern portion. Often referred to as "California's Best Kept Secret," the park offers beauty and endless attractions to visitors.
Before the white man's arrival, the first group to inhabit the foothill area of the park were the Monaches, although most of them died of an epidemic in 1862. Hale Tharp is believed to be the first white man to visit the giant trees.
A number of people endeavored to preserve the great trees; the most prominent among them were famous naturalist John Muir, and George W. Stewart, often called the "Father of Sequoia National Park." Along with members of the California Academy of Sciences, Muir and Stewart put forward a bill in Congress in 1881, to save the area as a park. Even though the bill was not passed, efforts to preserve the area continued. Ultimately, those efforts paid off when President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill, in 1890, that established Sequoia as California's first national park.
Park highlights include the Giant Forest, Giant Forest Museum, General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow, Tharp's Log House — the oldest pioneer cabin remaining in the park; Tunnel Log — a fallen giant sequoia with a tunnel for traffic; and Crystal Cave.
Noted for beautiful meadows, the Giant Forest is the park’s most popular attraction. The giant sequoia grove comprises huge, cinnamon-colored trees that are members of the redwood family. Four of the Earth's five largest trees are found in that grove. The trees were named by Muir, the explorer and conservationist.
The forest fosters the General Sherman, believed to be around 2,100 years old. The largest living tree in the world, it weighs approximately 2.7 million pounds. Its height is 274.9 feet and the diameter of its largest branch is 6.8 feet.
Climb 400 steps to reach the top of Moro Rock, a large granite dome that offers spectacular views of the Great Western Divide and its rugged canyons.
With interactive and hands-on displays, the Giant Forest Museum attracts thousands of visitors year round. Called the "Gem of the Sierra," Crescent Meadow is a favorite visitor picnicking location.
In addition, the park features Crystal Cave, decorated with curtains of icicle-like stalactites and mounds of stalagmites.
There are a few lodges with such overnight and longer-term accommodations as Wuksachi Village and Lodge, which also offers a full-service restaurant, cocktail lounge, retail shop, and group/special event facilities.
The park provides opportunities for such recreational activities as hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, fishing, and cave tours. In addition, it features ranger naturalist programs, nature walks, visitor centers, and interpretive museum exhibits to entertain people of all ages.