Although not as frequented as its neighbor Yosemite, Sequoia National Park boasts marble caves, alpine wilderness, and some of the largest trees on Earth. The park offers an abundance of outdoor activities for visitors, including hiking, backpacking, and climbing- you can easily spend numerous days exploring the area. However, if you’re limited to one day, seeing most of the park’s highlights is still feasible. Here’s a comprehensive guide to visiting Sequoia National Park in one day:
• Established: September 25, 1890
• Size: 404,064 acres
• Annual visitors: 1 million
A park pass is required to enter Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and is valid for seven days. Purchase your pass at any park entrance station or click here to purchase your pass online. Fees are as follows:
• Vehicle pass: $35
• Individual entry pass (single person traveling on foot or by bicycle): $20
• Motorcycle pass: $30
Tip: If you’re planning on visiting multiple national parks within a single year, I recommend purchasing the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. This pass covers entrance fees at all U.S. national parks and is good for one year from the month of purchase. Click here for more details.
Where to stay:
Staying in Sequoia National Park: Make sure to book your reservation in advance as the park only offers a handful of lodging options. Here are a few top-rated accommodations to check out:
• Wuksachi Lodge: visitsequoia.com/lodging/wuksachi-lodge
• John Muir Lodge: visitsequoia.com/lodging/john-muir-lodge
• Buckeye Tree Lodge: buckeyetreelodge.com
Staying near Sequoia National Park: While lodge and hotel options are limited in Sequoia, there are ample Airbnb rentals located near the park. Search for an Airbnb in these nearby locations:
Distance from Sequoia: 6 miles / 10-minute drive
Average nightly price: $119
Distance from Sequoia: 18 miles / 25-minute drive
Average nightly price: $97
Distance from Sequoia: 28 miles / 40-minute drive
Average nightly price: $86
Distance from Sequoia: 35 miles / 50-minute drive
Average nightly price: $101
Camping in Sequoia National Park: Click here for detailed camping information.
Car: The most optimal way to get around Sequoia is by car. Several of the main attractions and trailheads have their own parking lots, and driving a car offers access to scenic turnouts. Keep in mind that the roads in this park are narrow and windy.
Shuttle: If you’re planning on visiting during summer, I recommend parking your car and using the park’s free shuttle service as parking lots fill up quickly. Summer shuttles are typically in service from May to September, and run throughout the Giant Forest and Lodgepole areas. Contingent upon the weather, Sequoia offers winter shuttles that run between the Giant Forest Museum and Wuksachi Lodge. Click here for more information on the park’s shuttle service and shuttle stops.
When to visit:
Average high: 56°
Average low: 33°
Average high: 75°
Average low: 48°
Average high: 61°
Average low: 38°
Average high: 44°
Average low: 25°
Note that there may be road closures due to winter snow. Click on this link for more information.
Things to do:
General Sherman Tree: With its 275-ft height and 102-ft trunk circumference, General Sherman Tree has been recognized as the largest tree (by volume) in the world. Despite the heavy foot traffic at this attraction, the sheer size of the tree makes it undoubtedly worth a visit. The trail to the tree is 0.5 miles, and is handicap accessible.
Crystal Cave: Crystal Cave is a marble cavern that houses heaps of stalagmite and stalactite formations. This popular attraction serves as a cavernous oasis in the middle of the national park, making it an ideal place to take a break from viewing the sequoias. Don’t forget to pack a jacket as temperatures inside the cave average 48 degrees.
Note that Crystal Cave is only accessible through guided tours. You must purchase your tickets online prior to your visit.
Moro Rock: Challenge yourself by climbing the Moro Rock Trail, which includes over 350 steep and narrow steps. Upon reaching the top of Moro Rock’s granite dome, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Great Western Divide and the San Joaquin Valley- both offer incredible alpine scenery.
Crescent Meadow: A 1.5-mile loop trail will take you along the path of Crescent Meadow where ferns, flowers, sequoias, and tall grasses are present. If you have time to spare, Tharp’s Log is located a mile from the meadow.
Tunnel Log: Tunnel Log offers a fun photo op for those passing through Crescent Meadow Road. The tunnel opening measures 17 feet wide and 8 feet high. If you drive a larger vehicle, don’t fret- stop by for photos and then take the bypass located nearby.