LODGEPOLE & GIANT FOREST in Sequoia
The Lodgepole Visitor Center provides information for visitors to
Giant Forest and the northern section of Sequoia National Park, our
country's second oldest National Park. Giant Forest is one of the
main visitor destinations in Sequoia. Four of the world's five largest
sequoias grow here, and scenic meadows dot the area. High ridges
to the east of the area culminate in Mount Silliman and Alta Peak,
both over 11,000'. Popular foot trails lead to glacial lakes, and
a side road winds down to Crystal
Cave, a beautifully decorated marble cavern. It is a must do if you visit. There are some
great hikes in Lodgepole too.
Sequoia Giant Forest
General Sherman Tree: The General Sherman Tree is 274.9' (83.8 meters)
tall, and 102.6' (31.3 meters) in circumference at its base. Other
trees in the world are taller: the tallest tree in the world is
the Coast Redwood, which averages 300' - 350' (91.4 - 106.7 meters)
in height. A cypress near Oaxaca, Mexico has a greater circumference,
162' (49.4 meters). But in volume of wood, the Sherman has no equal.
With 52,500 cubic feet (1486.6 cubic meters) of wood, the General
Sherman Tree earns the title of the World's Largest Living Thing.
The Congress Trail
This 2 mile stroll begins at the Sherman Tree, and follows a paved
trail through the heart of the sequoia forest. It is recommended
for first-time visitors to the Giant Forest, and for visitors with
limited time. Famous sequoias along this trail include the House
and Senate Groups, and the President, Chief Sequoyah, General Lee
and McKinley Trees. An informational trail pamphlet is sold at the
Sherman Tree or at the visitor center book store.
The Big Trees Trail This paved trail begins adjacent to the Giant
Forest Museum, and forms a 1.2-mile loop around Round Meadow. Signs
along the way describe sequoia ecology, and this sequoia-lined meadow
is a good place to view wildflowers during the summer.
Hazelwood Nature Trail The Hazelwood Nature Trail begins
on the south side of the Generals Highway, adjacent to the Giant
Forest Lodge. Along this gentle 1 mile loop, signs tell the story
of man's relationship to the Big Trees.
The Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road
The Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road leaves the General's Highway
from Giant Forest Village and travels for 3 miles through the southwest
portion of the Giant Forest. It dead-ends at a trailhead and picnic
area. This road is not recommended for trailers or RV's. In the
winter, the road is closed to vehicles, but open to cross-country
skiing. Several famous attractions are located along this road.
The Auto Log Early visitors to the Giant Forest often
had difficulty comprehending how big the giant sequoias are. To
help give a sense of their size, a roadway was cut into the top
of this fallen tree. The Auto Log is located 0.9 miles from Giant
Forest Village on the Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road.
Moro Rock The parking area for Moro Rock is 2 miles from
the village. A steep 1/4 mile staircase climbs over 300' (91.4 meters)
to the summit of this granite dome. From the top, you will have
spectacular views of the western half of Sequoia National Park and
the Great Western Divide. This chain of mountains runs north/south
through the center of Sequoia National Park, "dividing"
the watersheds of the Kaweah River to the west and the Kern River
to the east. Also on the eastern side of the divide is Mt. Whitney,
the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Unfortunately, because
many of the snowcapped peaks in the Great Western Divide reach altitudes
of 12,000' (3657 meters) or higher, it is impossible to see over
them to view Mt. Whitney from Moro Rock. The summit of Alta Peak,
a strenuous 7-mile hike from the Wolverton picnic area, is the closest
place from which to see Mt. Whitney.
The Parker Group The Parker Group is considered one of the
finest clusters of sequoias which can be reached by automobile.
It is 2.6 miles from the Giant Forest Village.
The Tunnel Log
Sequoia and Kings Canyon have never had a
drive-through tree. The Wawona Tunnel Tree, the famous "tree
you can drive through", grew in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite
National Park, 100 air-miles north of Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
It fell over during the severe winter of 1968-69. Visitors to Sequoia
National Park can drive through a fallen sequoia, however. In December
1937, an unnamed sequoia 275' (83.8 meters) high and 21' (6.4 meters)
in diameter fell across the Crescent Meadow Road as a result of
"natural causes". The following summer, a Civilian Conservation
Corps crew cut a tunnel through the tree. The tunnel is 8' (2.4
meters) high and 17' (5.2 meters) wide, and there is a bypass for
Crescent Meadow: The Crescent Meadow Road ends at a parking
and trailhead area less than 100 yards (91.4 meters) from the edge
of Crescent Meadow. A popular hike from Crescent Meadow is the 1-mile
stroll to Tharp's Log, a fallen sequoia that provided a rustic summer
home for the Giant Forest's first Caucasian resident, Hale Tharp.
Another easy 1 1/2 mile trail circles the meadow, which is an excellent
place to view wildflowers in the summer. Some lucky visitors to
this and other meadows in the park may also have an opportunity
to see a bear. Because Crescent Meadow is a fragile environment,
please stay on designated trails and walk only on fallen logs for
access into the meadows.
For More Information
Sequoia National Forest
Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park
Three Rivers, CA 93271