On this Page: General The Sequoia Places to Stay Places to Eat The Weather General Information Sequoia National Park is one of the older parks in the country. It joins with Kings Canyon national Park and Sequoia National Forest. It is known for its groves of large Sequoia trees, some aged at over 2000 years. This is a spectacular place to visit, and the granite has the first-rate "climbability" that one expects to find in the Sierra region. Most visitors, however, are not climbers but rather come to view the wildlife and explore the extensive forests. There are enormous expanses of forest, most of which is accessible only by backcountry backpacking. This attributes to the area a feeling of remoteness that often is missing from parks. The Sequoia trees, of course, are probably the park's main attraction. There are a few other activities aside from the climbing and the big trees that make this park special. During our visit we were able to sign up for the cave tour. It is one of the more popular things to do, so sign up early or wait for a week day to have a smaller tour group. Though the park service does a good job of hiding (or ignoring) the native American artifacts in the area, we were able to get some information on the first visitors to the park. The Sequoia The sequoias are unimaginably huge: even standing right in front of them it's hard to comprehend how enormous they are. In fact, in the nineteenth century a cross-section of one was sent to the Chicago World's Fair, where it was promptly denounced as a hoax. Photographs don't do them justice, unless you have someone stand next to one, and even then it just doesn't look right. Besides that, they don't really fit in the viewfinder anyway, so if you go, buy a few postcards while you're there so as to put your photos into perspective. Generally, they are somewhat shorter than the redwood but possess a larger girth. They grow in groves, which can be quite extensive: 55 acres or so, containing several hundred to several thousand trees. There are about 75 of these groves scattered around the park. Some of these trees are as much as 3000 years old, and the largest ones will be over 30 feet in diameter (measured at four feet above the ground) and about 300 feet high. A Sequoia will grow to full height very quickly and spend the remainder of its days getting fat. The bark can be up to a foot thick, and is full of tannin, a natural insect repellent that also gives the trees their characteristic odor and copper-brown coloration. The thick bark protects them from fires and the tannin helps ward off disease, factors which explain their long life and large size. Being around for so long allows many minor misfortunes to befall them: they get their heads blown off by lightning and generally experience a number of fires over the years, but nothing seems to really bother them. In fact, several fire-growth-fire cycles actually allow the formation of a tunnel through one of them that a person can walk through upright most of the way. As is all too often the case, their biggest threat is probably humans. There are also a number of ongoing studies to establish the effect of pollution on the forest. If you stand at the base of a Sequoia in the evening and look up into the tree as the light hits the upper branches, it is as if you are looking into a forest, since the boughs are about as big around as the average tree. They are home to many birds and bats. Places to Stay There are several campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon to stay at. Two of these campgrounds take reservations on www.nps.gov. We did this since it would be a long drive and we wanted to know there would be a place for us when we arrived. We stayed at Lodgepole Campground and were very happy with it. If you are going to rock climb and do not wish to pay for a camground, you can camp for free in the parking area for Crystal Rock. Places to Eat Since we were camping we should have eaten at our campsite every night but since there was a restaurant only 5 miles down the road, we ate there often. Prices were between $10 and $20 but the food was fantastic. The Weather The weather...well it depends. When we drove into the park in June, it was 103 degrees Fahrenheit. As we drove up into the mountains we found it to be a comfortable 74 degrees. We spent most of our time high in the mountains for obvious reasons. We had a cool breeze the entire time and the sun shone. In the evenings it did get cool and we were glad to have a fleece jacket in our bags.