Sequoia National Park: A Timeless Natural Wonder
Posted on Aug 18, 2023
Sequoia National Park
Nestled just 230 miles away from the bustling cityscape of Los Angeles, Sequoia National Park remains a timeless wonder that continues to captivate visitors with its breathtaking landscapes and natural marvels. Spanning a vast 400,000 acres, this park boasts an astonishing vertical range of 13,000 feet, showcasing its diverse ecosystems and awe-inspiring beauty.
The towering Mt. Whitney stands as the loftiest peak in the contiguous 48 states, offering intrepid hikers the opportunity to conquer its heights and be rewarded with panoramic vistas that stretch for miles. The Sherman Tree, a colossal giant sequoia, reigns as the world’s largest single-stem tree, its majestic presence spanning the length of a football field. A living testament to time, this ancient giant is estimated to be around 2,700 years old.
Sequoia National Park, in all its splendor, is accessible without ever leaving the comfort of your rental RV. The vistas that unfold before your eyes are beyond words, evoking a sense of wonder that transcends the ordinary. For those who seek a blend of adventure and convenience, the park offers a range of hiking options that cater to varying levels of fitness.
Moderate half-day hikes, covering approximately six miles, allow you to immerse yourself in the park’s beauty while still leaving time to unwind in the evening.
What sets Sequoia National Park apart is its tranquil allure, far removed from the bustling crowds often associated with other national parks like Yosemite. Here, you can bask in nature’s splendor without the usual hustle and bustle, allowing for a deeper connection with the natural world.
Where to start?
Let’s begin at the beginning, from the parking lot of 1st Choice RV, in Irvine, after you are finished renting out yout RV or motorhome. Take Interstate 5 northeast towards Bakersfield, 131 miles away. Your drive takes you through the Los Padres National Forest and the rim of the Central Valley. If you need a rest stop, Mt. Frazer has services and a rest area.
Stop in Bakersfield
Bakersfield is a good halfway stop, to stretch your legs or stay overnight. Five RV camps provide you with choices of where to stay. Believe it or not, Bakersfield is the third most important country music destination in the US.
If you’re a movie buff, you must visit the Kern Valley Museum. See the artifacts and photos of western movies such as “Stage Coach.” A partial list of films shot in and around Bakersfield include “The Grapes of Wrath,”
Journeying to Sequoia’s Majesty
As you continue your journey, Sequoia National Park awaits a mere 150 miles from Bakersfield. Traverse the winding path known as “The Grapevine,” a road that winds its way through the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains. Upon reaching Route 198, veer right to enter the park’s embrace, greeted by a selection of five RV parks nestled within its borders.
The Sierra Madre Mountains
The Sierra Madre Mountains, the longest mountain chain in the US, were formed 10,000,000 years ago. They are composed of salt and pepper granite of quartz, feldspar and mica. The mountains contain the southern-most glaciers in the country. The many caves are composed of marble. Indians explored the mountains 20,000 years ago.
- Morro Rock, a giant granite dome on the mountain ridge, can be reached via a four hundred step stairway. From the top, you can see the park and the Great Western Divide.
- Crescent Meadow, described by John Muir, as “The Gem of the Sierras,” is sequoia-rimmed and offers stunning views of Mt.Whitney. Combine your hike with a visit to the nearby GiantForestMuseum.
- Tokopah Falls Trail is a 1.7 walk along the KaweahRiver to views of gorgeous granite canyons and the 1,200 feet waterfall.
- Chrystal Cave, the only openly commercial cave in the park, is 2.42 miles long and home to beautiful calcite formations. The temperature is a constant 48 degrees; the marble makes it seem cooler. Guided tours only.
- The Trail of 100 Giants is a popular and moderate hike featuring off-the-beaten-path splendor. The trail is kid friendly and handicapped accessible.
- HeatherLake via the Lakes Trail is not for the timid. The trail is carved out of the rock and requires extreme concentration. Take food and water and take your time. The reward of this dizzying trail is unbelievable Alpine scenery and peace and quiet.
- The Middle Fork Trail is a moderate hike of 11 miles round trip. You will hike from foothills to the giant sequoias. This trail is especially attractive in spring.
- The Congress Trail is an easy 2.2 mile loop walk that begins at the awesome General Sherman Tree.
A Reminder of Caution
We end on a note of caution. Wild animals are called wild for a reason. A two mile walk in wilderness can kill you—if you’re not prepared. This writer once set out on a two-hour hike, stepped into a yellow jacket nest, got stung over 200 times and spent three nights alone without food or water. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared.”
Sequoia National Park, with its towering giants, tranquil meadows, and untamed landscapes, promises an unforgettable journey. Venture forth with curiosity, respect for nature’s wonders, and a readiness to uncover the hidden gems that await at every turn. Get ready to start your journey, and come visit us at 1st Choice RV to rent your RV!