Sequoia National Park Visitors Guide

47050 Generals Highway

Three Rivers, CA 93271

Where is Sequoia National Park

The Land of Giants, Sequoia National Park, is located in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Visalia, California.  There are many entrances to the park, depending on where you are traveling.  Set your GPS and make sure you have a full tank of gas.  There are no gas stations within park boundaries, though there are limited, seasonal stations on nearby national forest lands. Electric vehicle charging stations may be available near Lodgepole and in Grant Grove.  Due to heavy visitation, especially in summer and on weekends, be prepared for delays at park entrances.

How Big is Sequoia National Park

Sequoia US National Park boasts a forested area of 629 square miles in the Sierra Nevada, east-central California, United States. This jaw-dropping park adjoins and is administered jointly with Kings Canyon National Park to the north and northwest.  On the eastern boundary is Mount Whitney (14,494 feet), the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states. Sequoia National Park separates the 512 square miles of Giant Sequoia National Monument, which is adjacent to the national parks and together preserves most of the remaining groves of big trees not already federally protected.

Jeep Driving Through Fallen Sequoia Tree at Sequoia National Park California

Sequoia National Park Weather

From giant trees to huge canyons, the weather within Sequoia National Park can range spectacularly from warm foothills to the coldest of alpine peaks. The largest and finest groves of giant sequoias grow at the often-snowy mid-elevations.  Upon arrival you will travel along steep highways where the weather is hot and dry.  The higher you proceed, the cooler it becomes.  Temperatures change quickly and vary from 20-30 degrees as visitors increase elevation of up to 13,000 feet.  Year-round, there is something glorious to view in every direction. Don’t let the spring flowers in the foothills fool you.  Snow is only a few miles away in the Giant Forest.  More than 1300 native plant species and 300 native animal species call Sequoia home.  This is why the park is recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve for their important role in conserving biodiversity.

When did Sequoia Become a National Park

Established on September 25, 1890, Sequoia National Park still looks quite similar to when Monachee Native Americans once inhabited the area.  In the 1880s, settlers seeking to create a utopian society founded a colony that sought economic success by

trading Sequoia timber in this area.  Operations ceased when they discovered that the timber splinters easily.  It was at this time that the National Park Service incorporated the Giant Forest into Sequoia National Park, promptly ceasing all logging operations.

Things to do in Sequoia National Park

You could spend days and days exploring the untouched wilderness of Sequoia National Park, but even if you only have a few hours, the experience is well worth your time.  Visitors will never forget the once in a lifetime awe of standing below the giant sequoia forest.  Our National Park Visitors Guide outlines below activities you may enjoy on your trip to Sequoia National Park.

Kings River Running Through Sequoia National Park California


Opportunity for hiking on paved trail or choosing an all-day hike through the wilderness along unpaved paths is all possible at Sequoia.  Visitors can even hike Mt. Whitney.  There is no better way to explore the beauty of the Sequoias, wildlife and abounding scenery than by foot or bike.  List of Parks advises to always pack a map!

Scenic Drives

Explore General’s Highway driving by car.  Interesting viewpoints include The Kaweah River, Hospital Rock, Amphitheater Point, Eleven Range Overlook, Beetle Rock, Crescent Meadow, Halstead Meadow, Redwood Mountain Overlook and Kings Canyon Overlook.  Get out of the car and stand like an ant below the sequoia groves for some of the most impressive views and photos.

Wildlife Viewing

Sequoia hosts an incredible diversity of life across a range of elevations.  Keep your eyes open and cameras ready for mule deer, birds, black bears, pikas, bats and mountain lions that all roam plentifully throughout the park.  Always keep a safe distance.


Near the Giant Forest is an excellent example of a marble cavern, Crystal Cave.  A half-mile loop trail leads through the cave and tours are offered from spring through fall.  Bring jackets; the temperature inside is never above 50°F.

Sequoia Journeys

Sequoia Journeys are private and customized, guided national park experiences available to your small group. Sequoia Journeys tours follow CDC safety guidelines and are led by SPC’s trained naturalists.  They expertly guide visitors through the amazing sights and sounds of the parks.  Call 559-565-4251 to book a trip.


Explore on your own or plan a ranger-guided snowshoe walk.  No experience necessary! Rangers provide the snowshoes; you bring warm layered clothing, waterproof boots, gloves, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, water, and a snack. The hike are moderately strenuous and children who participate in ranger-led snowshoe walks must be at least 10 years old.

Giant Sequoia Tree in Sequoia Forest National Park California

When to go to Sequoia National Park

Open 365 days a year, it is always a perfect time to visit Sequoia National Park. 

Peak travel is in summer. Reservations are strongly recommended for summer camping and lodging as crowds abound. Beginning in September, the weather changes quickly, with hot days followed by stormy days. Light snows that melt quickly often begin in late October and facilities begin to reduce hours or close.  The Mineral King and Cedar Grove areas close for the snowy season.  When it begins to snow, sequoia groves are snowy, peaceful, and cold.  It’s a perfect time for snowshoeing. In the foothills, temperatures are cool and ideal for hiking. Finally, depending on the elevation, spring lasts from April to mid-June. Come to enjoy the pleasantly warm weather and abundant wildflowers that blanket the foothills.  

Must-Have Things to Bring to Sequoia

Think outdoors and think about changing weather and you will know how to prepare for an adventure at Sequoia National Park. 

Outdoor Gear

Depending upon your plans for the day, you will need to bring the correct outdoor gear to assure your time at the park an enjoyable one for the entire family.  Hiking shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottles and bug spray are all important things to carry in for a day at the park. 

Full Tank of Gas

No one wants to run out of gas on their way up the mountain or while waiting to get into the park. There are a few gas stations inside the park, but you have to make it there first. It may not even be a bad idea to pack in an extra can of gasoline with you...just in case. 


I may feel like you need binoculars just to find the treetops.  Wildlife moving through the forest and birds flying overhead are all things you will want to see up close and take a photo of to keep them in your memory forever.  No photo can be grander than you at the foot of a giant sequoia tree.

Food and Water

Whether a protein bar for your hike or an entire picnic spread, bring with you all you will need for the day.  There are restaurants and snack bars scattered throughout the park, but it is always a good idea to have extra.

Camping or Overnight Gear

Make sure you bring everything you need for your camping or lodging stay at the park.  Modern amenities can be found, but there are no places to purchase overnight supplies inside the park. 

Where to Stay Near Sequoia National Park

There are a variety of places to stay inside the park that keep you close to the majestic giant sequoias.  Wuksachi Lodge is the park’s signature accommodation, located near the General Sherman Tree.  Next, Bearpaw High Sierra Camp offers a hallmark way to see the High Sierra in comfort and style.  Visitors hike 11.5 miles into national park wilderness to discover this 75-year-old park tradition. Open June through September, make sure to get reservations well in advance.  Wilderness permits are required.  There are also 14 campgrounds in and around Sequoia with three open year-round. 

Food Nearby Sequoia

There are many food options for visitors within Sequoia National Park.  The Peaks Restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge offers three meals/day as does Grant Grove Restaurant, Montecito-Sequoia Lodge and Stony Creek Lodge.  Snacks and deli options can be gathered at Lodgepole Deli, Market and Snack bar and Cedar Grove Snack Bar.  Each of these can be located on your Sequoia National Park map.

Airports Near Sequoia National Park

The closest commercial airports to Sequoia National Park are Fresno Yosemite International Airport and Visalia Municipal Airport. Many other airports are within a few hours' drive.  For example, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California’s largest and most popular airport, is located within a 4.5-hour drive from the park entrance.
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