Giant Sequoia Hikes

A guide to old-growth giant sequoia trails

Questions? Comments? Please contact Dave Baselt at db@redwoodhikes.com
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Click on grey boxes to view regional maps; click on grove names to view individual grove pages

**North Calaveras Grove **South Calaveras Grove *Tuolumne Grove **Merced Grove ****Mariposa Grove *Nelder Grove ***Grant Grove ****Giant Forest *Lockwood Grove ***Evans Grove *Bearskin Grove ***Redwood Mountain Grove ***Muir Grove **Redwood Meadow Grove ***Atwell Grove **East Fork Grove **Freeman Creek Grove **Belknap complex / Camp Nelson area **Black Mountain Grove ***Trail of 100 Giants *****Yosemite National Park ****Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park California's Coastal Redwood Parks

Hiking the giant sequoia groves

This site is a guide to giant sequoia hiking trails. It has pages for most old-growth sequoia groves north of the Giant Forest; pages for the remaining groves will be added over the next few years. The site also includes coverage of other day hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The giant sequoia grows in sheltered folds and shallow basins about halfway up the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, mostly in a 70-mile-long band in and around Sequoia National Park. The trees are found in 67 isolated groves ranging in size from six trees to six square miles. About 40 of the groves are in old growth condition.

The sequoias' strikingly massive, stout trunks are an arresting sight, often elegantly fluted and with an appealing light tan or salmon color that seems to glow against the dark foliage and grey trunks of the other trees around it. The canopy is usually open enough that the distinctive appearance of the trees can be fully appreciated. But the big trees are are widely scattered, usually growing as individuals or in small groups, so the forest as a whole tends to look rather mundane &emdash; like an ordinary Sierra pine forest studded with the occasional huge tree.

The Sugar Bowl Trail, Redwood Mountain grove, Sequoia National Park

The Sugar Bowl Trail, Redwood Mountain Grove, Sequoia National Park

Hiking in the giant sequoia forests is a much different experience than the coast redwoods. The coast redwood forest, with its orderly garden-like appearance, has a soothing effect, completely enveloping the hiker in lush green walls of redwood foliage and offering welcoming redwood-needle-covered paths. The giant sequoia forests, in contrast, have a harsher, less welcoming appearance, but there's a certain thrill at encountering these magnificent trees that you don't get in the redwood forest. Overall, it's hard to choose a favorite.

The appearance of the sequoia groves varies with elevation. Lower-elevation groves tend to be densely wooded and lush, while at higher elevations they're more open and often have a stark appearance with little or no groundcover. In general the higher-elevation groves are more scenic since it's easier to see the sequoias, which are often some distance from the trail.

Although they're located in the Sierra Nevada, the groves don't look especially mountainous. In fact, in general the middle elevations of the Sierra Nevada aren't especially dramatic; you have to go to the high country to get real mountain scenery.

Nonetheless the groves do get large amounts of snow and are should only be visited for hiking between May and October. June and July can be extremely buggy.

Grant Grove, Kings Canyon National Park

Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park

List of giant sequoia trails · List of coast redwood trails

Click on the links below to view the regional, park, and hike pages. Parks are listed from north to south. Each park and trail has been rated from one to five stars based on how enjoyable it is overall.

Key to table colors

Park names
 Old growth sequoia hikes 
Other hikes

 

Overall Rating Distance, miles Climbing, feet Trail name
* * Calaveras Big Trees State Park
* * 1.6 70 North Calaveras Grove
* * 5.4 610 South Calaveras Grove
Yosemite National Park
* * * * * Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest
* * 2.6 500 Merced Grove
* 2.6 520 Tuolumne Grove
* * * * 4.4 935 Mariposa Grove
* 1.2 200 Nelder Grove
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Sequoia National Monument
* * * Grant Grove area (Kings Canyon National Park)
* * * 10.0 2200 Redwood Mountain Grove
* * * 0.4 50 Grant Grove
* * * 3.8 980 Evans Grove
* 1.9 390 North Grove
* 1.7 240 Bearskin Grove
* 1.2 140 Lockwood Grove
* * * Kings Canyon (Kings Canyon National Park)
* * * * 1.5 90 Zumwalt Meadow
* * * 11.7 1530 Mist Falls and Paradise Valley
* * * 15.7 5220 Copper Creek Trail
* * 11.7 3440 Lewis Creek Trail
* * 7.2 1910 Hotel Creek Loop
* 10.6 3760 Don Cecil Trail
* * * * Giant Forest area (Sequoia National Park)
* * * * 9.6 1380 Wolverton Cutoff Loop
* * * * 1.9 150 Round Meadow
* * * 14.9 2580 Sevenmile Loop
* * * 7.3 1360 Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow
* * * 4.2 530 Muir Grove
* * * 2.9 470 Congress Trail
* * 0.3 110 Lost Grove
* * * * * 22.6 3300 Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp
* * * * 13.7 3920 Alta Peak
* * * 12.0 3000 Pear Lake
* * * 4.1 530 Tokopah Falls Trail
* * 14.1 2800 Twin Lakes
* * 9.6 2260 Middle Fork Trail
* * Camp Nelson area (Giant Sequoia National Monument)
* * * * 5.5 2220 Bear Creek Trail
* * 7.7 1780 Nelson Trail
* * 7.4 1390 Freeman Creek Grove
* * 19.3 1600 Black Mountain Grove
* 5.1 820 Red Hill Grove
* 1.0 150 Stagg Tree (Alder Creek Grove)
Other groves
* * * 1.4 120 Trail of 100 Giants
* * * 4.8 1270 Atwell Grove
* * 7.8 1370 East Fork Grove

Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

Mariposa Grove in Yosemite Natonal Park


 

© 2012 David Baselt