A single phrase may be all it takes to spark a vacation dream, and all the wonders and joys that follow are what make it a dream vacation. In this case, the imagination and wanderlust are sparked with mention of the giant sequoias of California, and the towns that surround these precious giants are what make it a real vacation.
This story was created in partnership with Discover the Sequoias. Photos provided by Discover the Sequoias.
When you discover the sequoias, you’ll also find that so much more surrounds them, from the facts of the forest you can learn about in national parks to the art inspired by this unique location to the flavors of the many other plants that thrive in the region. It’s worth spending an extended period of time here because there are two national parks, one national monument, one national forest, and nine towns to explore—all inspired by one kind of tree!
Discover the Sequoias & Their Parks
Here, in the heart of California, giant sequoia trees reach unbelievable heights. The forests reach out wide, as well—stretching across two national parks, one national monument, and through a national forest.
Though you don’t need to worry too much about the lines between the adjacent Sequoia National Forest, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Giant Sequoia National Monument (the trees don’t), it’s worth noting a few differences as you set out to explore. The numerous, far-reaching lands protecting these renowned trees just make it easier to spread out, slow down, and enjoy exploring the land of giants.
Sequoia National Park
This park is home to the General Sherman Tree, the largest living tree by volume in the world. You can visit it via a short hike, or explore further in the park on hikes like the steep climb to Moro Rock, which looms over the entrance of the park.
Kings Canyon National Park
This park is adjacent to (to the north) of Sequoia National Park and accessible via the Generals Highway and is actually named for a glacially carved valley that’s over a mile deep.
Sequoia National Forest
This forest is also accessible via the national park, though the forest is free to enter. In addition to the trees (of course), you’ll also find the stunning Hume Lake near Kings Canyon.
Giant Sequoia National Monument
This 328,000-acre monument is actually in two parts, protecting even more of the forest in addition to the national parks and forest further to the west and south. A favorite trail among the countless miles you could follow is the Trail of 100 Giants, a paved 1.3-mile trail among trees up to 1,500 years old.
Discover the Arts of the Sequoias’ Region
From the murals of Exeter to the Fox Theatre in Visalia to the Botanical Gardens of Woodlake and countless locally owned shops in between, you’ll find inspiration abounds amongst the residents neighboring the named trees. Stroll the main streets of these welcoming communities to get a sense of connection between gown and trees—and take a handcrafted souvenir by a local artist home with you.
Flavors as Big as the Sequoias
All this awe and exploration will surely pique your appetite. This is one of the largest agricultural regions in California, and local farmers grow more than 120 crops here. Savor local flavors and support local businesses all in one scrumptious bite! Find the perfect bite wherever you find yourself, then top it off with a classic treat from Reimers Candies in Three Rivers or Staffords Chocolates in Porterville. Inspired to visit the giant sequoias and more? Check out our itinerary here.