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 Tree. A new parking lot and trail to the Sherman Tree accessed via the Wolverton Road are now open. Handicapped accessible parking is available close to the Sherman Tree on the Generals Highway.
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 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. Due to rot in the log, cars can no longer drive on it, but it remains an interesting historic feature. The Auto Log is located 0.9 miles from Giant Forest Village on the Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road.
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 taller vehicles.
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.