A short out-and-back hike from the visitor center
Length 3.4 miles Climbing 130 ft
Park rangers often recommend this popular hike to visitors who are looking for a one-hour outing. The hike is short, more or less level, and there's a little waterfall at the end. The trail also has some outstanding redwoods, though mostly at the beginning.
The biggest drawback of this hike is that the trail runs alongside Lodge Road for most of the way. The road isn't very busy, but it makes it hard to really appreciate the scenery; the trail has an oddly utilitarian feel and mainly seems intended to keep people from walking in the road. It fact a lot of people do just walk on the road, since it's more level and the scenery is actually a little better; especially around the entrance to Huckleberry Campground, some impressive redwoods can be seen from the road but not the trail.
Nonetheless the trail does run through old-growth redwoods for most of its length and has some engaging scenery.
Starting from park headquarters, walk south along the road a short distance to reach the trailhead. The Sequoia Trail starts with some top-notch redwood scenery, climbing gently through a grove of large stately trees. In the distance, you can catch glimpses of redwoods rising majestically into the sky. This exceptional scenery continues for about a third of a mile; after passing a side trail to Jay Camp, the redwoods become more mundane. It's still attractive old growth, though. The trail gradually curves around to follow Lodge Road.
You'll see a lot of redwood stumps as the trail enters Wastahi Campground. Like a lot of redwood campgrounds, Wastahi is partially located in a logged grove to save wear and tear on the old growth, so some of the campsites are a bit dismal-looking. However, the northern half of the campground is a lot nicer; it seems to be unlogged and includes some choice campsites among large redwoods. Just after the campground there's a second partially-logged grove that's been burned recently and lacks the usual tanoak or huckleberry understory. The openness of this grove makes it easier to appreciate the redwoods.
The sound of rushing water announces that you're approaching Sempervirens Falls. Take the well-marked spur trail downhill, cross the road, and descend a series of steps to reach a viewing platform. Next to the platform, Sempervirens Creek pours over a 10-foot-high ledge and into a deep pool in a little grotto.
Return the way you came.
© 2007, 2013, 2017 David Baselt