Travel Tips for Exploring Sequoia National Park with Kids
For our big road trip this summer we drove from San Diego to Monterey to attend a wedding, then to Sequoia National Park.
We had a blast at Sequoia National Park with our kids (6 & 4 years old) and wanted to share some tips you all.
We went during the 4th of July weekend and the weather was in the 80's in the Park which was pleasant. However, we stayed in Three Rivers which was much warmer, 100 degrees! We encountered gnarly switchbacks while driving from the Park to our hotel in Three Rivers each day - if you get car sick at all, I would recommend finding a place in the Park. That's our plan for next time. Otherwise, we like keeping ginger ale and ginger cookies handy to combat motion sickness.
This is the map we picked up at the Park. It can be used for reference as I mention places we visited.
(Click map for larger view.)
Since we stayed in Three Rivers, we entered through the "Ash Mountain Entrance" to the Sequoia National Park. We paid for an Auto Pass at the gate ($30) for in and out access to the park for 7 days.
Shortly after, we stopped for the photo of us in front of the Sequoia National Park sign (seen at top of blog post).
From there, we went to Foothills Visitor Center to pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Book. Complete activities inside to receive a Junior Ranger Badge!
We parked at the General Sherman tree trail parking lot to hike the trail to see the most enormous sequoia tree in the world!
Some facts about the hike:
Distance: 1 mile (out and back)
Elevation change: 200 feet
Hiking time: Approx. 30 minutes
The kids picked up some hiking sticks and we were off...
The trail is paved and super easy for the kids. We saw some people struggling on the way back since it's a bit of an incline. Luckily, they offer free shuttles to/from the Giant Forest Museum. We took the shuttle and when we finished at the Giant Forest Museum, we took the shuttle back to the top of the General Sherman Trail - avoiding the uphill hike altogether.
On our way to see the G.S. tree, we came across other massive sequoias. Here's a good one for scale. The kids are about 3 and 3.5 ft tall.
This photo doesn't do this tree justice at all! It is the largest tree by volume, measuring 275 feet tall and 36.5 feet across at the base. General Sherman Tree is believed to be 2,200 years old and weigh 1,385 tons. In a way, it looks totally unreal and supernatural. The only way to truly appreciate the unfathomable, almost unearthly size of this giant sequoia is to see it for yourself.
Along the trail, we found two little Ewoks hiding in this giant sequoia.
Since they are cute, we invited them to come play and explore with us.
For our tutorial on how to make this Ewok hood and other fun Star Wars costumes check out this blog post.
Just kickin' back on a giant fallen sequoia.
Repping our IZZAROO Explore More tees. All of our kid tees have pockets, perfect for treasures they find while exploring. The kids filled them with rocks, leaves, flowers and lots of memories.
Be sure to walk through this fallen sequoia before leaving the General Sherman trail.
From there, we took the free shuttle to the Giant Forest Museum where Zander turned in his activity book and officially became a Junior Ranger!
Still can't get over how gigantic these trees are! This is right outside the Giant Forest Museum.
On our way to see more really big trees. It was an easy/paved 1.3 mile loop around a beautiful open meadow.
Chris, getting swallowed by the huge trees.
The trees weren't the only giant things around.
1 giant rock + 1 giant tree = 1 ginormous rocktree
There were some fun rock caves along the way, too. Zoey and I weren't brave enough to go in.
As we walked along the open meadow we saw...
A bear! Well, maybe not, but we saw this little Ewok/bear. Others we passed along the trail said they saw a bear and her cubs in the meadow but we missed her. All we managed to see was lots of bear scat.
A fallen sequoia with some crazy big roots, filled with spider webs apparently. Chris was the only brave one to venture in.
We let the boys check out this hollowed tree. They planned to walk all the way through until... they saw something that looked like 2 eyes...
They said "no, thanks" and turned back around.
Our last stop in the park was this awesome "tunnel log" which cars can drive through - and so we did! The road leading to it was narrow and was closed all day, only open to shuttles.
Driving back toward Three Rivers we stopped at "Tunnel Rock". It looks more frightening than it really is. The path up is super easy and it doesn't feel as high as it looks.
The kids fell asleep in the car so it was just me who climbed up.
There you have it. I hope you enjoy your trip to Sequoia National Park as much as we did. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below. If you have any tips on any other fun things to do with kids in Sequoia, please share!
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