Your Trip to Gorgeous Sequoia National Park | MangoRV Guide

Your Trip to Gorgeous Sequoia National Park | MangoRV Guide

Have you ever thought of visiting Sequoia National? If not, you should. Just rent an RV to check out
some of the world’s largest trees and all the other delights of this wondrous park.

Where is the Sequoia National Park located?

Sequoia National Park is a world-renowned American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada. The
park is situated east of Visalia, California. It is also contiguous with the KCNP or Kings Canyon National
Park. Both of these national parks are administered by the National Park Service. The Sequoia National
Park was designated the ‘Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve’ by UNESCO in 1976.

History of the Sequoia National Park


As far as national parks go, not only is this park one of the most RV friendly places around, but it also has
a very interesting history and culture to go with the scenery.

U.S President Benjamin Harrison signed the legislation that led to the establishment of what is now
America's second national park. This park was created on September 25, 1890, to protect the massive
sequoia trees from the destructive effects of unabated logging.

As a matter of fact, the Sequoia National Park was the very first national park in the United States that
had been formed for the specific reason of protecting a living organism: The “Sequoiadendron
giganteum.”


One week after this legislation was inked, the General Grant National Park was also created, and
Sequoia was thus enlarged to include the surrounding areas as well.

Early access to this giant forest was not easy since there were no roads and people could not see these
great Sequoia trees. The task of making this awesome place visible to the general public fell on Captain
Charles Young. At that time, he was the only African American serving as a duly commissioned officer in
the U.S. Army. Under his able leadership and guidance, the road into the Sequoia grove was completed
in August 1903. And for the first time in history, these big trees were fully accessible to everyone.

The increasing popularity of automobile travel eventually led to the construction of the ‘Generals
Highway', and it was inaugurated in 1926. However, opening up the Giant Forest led to a massive surge
of visitors. The park's Ash Mountain entrance went on to become the main gateway to Sequoia National
Park. But, even as far back as 1927, the park experienced a lot of traffic at its main check-in station.
Increasingly better access to the giant forest had a lot of positive points as it also led to the integration
of different amenities for the visitors.
Image Description: Steps leading to top of Moro Rock Trail at Sequoia National Park

One of the first projects that were undertaken by the new National Park Service included the
construction of a series of steps that led to the large summit of Moro Rock. Even though these steps
were created in 1917 when the population of the country was very small, they still became the favorite
destination for tens of thousands of people. Many tourists came from all over the world to Moro Rock
and enjoyed the indescribable thrill of reaching its summit as close as they could.

However, this was only the beginning. The construction of the backcountry trail also became a top
priority. It was in 1932 that the new High Sierra Trail was completed. This trail was connected to the
Giant Forest as well as Mt. Whitney, the single highest mountain in the contiguous U.S. In the 1930s the
Civilian Conservation Corps worked very hard in the Sequoia National Forest Park to steadily improve
the campgrounds, buildings, trails, and other facilities available here.

The Main Attraction of This Park

Image description: Giant Forest’s Big Trees trail - Image by Alison Taggart-Barone.

Sequoia trees are some of the single largest and oldest trees in the world. These massive trees can easily
live up to 3,000 or more years, thanks to something known as “Tannin.” This is a chemical that grows in
their bark and helps to protect these gentle giants against boring insects, rot, and even fire. These truly
magnificent trees can easily grow up to as tall as any suburban 26-story building, and they average
between 180 to 270 feet in height.

The single most famous resident of the Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree. Just
observing this tree up close is a visual treat. It stretches a truly humongous 275 feet tall, and it is over 36
feet in diameter. In terms of overall volume, this is the single largest tree in the world.

The Best Time to Visit National Park Sequoia California


The best time and season to visit Sequoia National Park is the June through August period when the
weather is at its most stable.

The park itself is open 24/7, all year-round. However, there are a few budding challenges during certain
seasons. For instance, when it snows in December, it is difficult for an RV to get around in the park.

In mid-winter, you will definitely need snow chains or snow tires to safely navigate the park roads. From
early September, the Sequoia National park substantially reduces its ranger-led programs, even as the park management curtails certain facilities by a few hours each day. Apart from that, at least some parts
of the park, such as the Cedar Grove and Mineral King areas, are entirely closed due to access related
issues.

Transportation

In the summer season, the Sequoia Shuttle service offers trips from the neighboring towns of Visalia as
well as Three Rivers. The shuttles proceed up Highway 198 all the way to the Giant Forest Museum in
Sequoia National Park. Your typical round-trip ride will cost $20 per person. The park entrance fee is also
included in this fee. However, it is important to understand that the shuttle can only pick up the riders
at exclusively designated stops only. If you are in an RV, you will have to follow the shuttle to get to
your destination and pay your entrance fee at the main gate.

There are other RV friendly routes to this park that include the following:

  • Sequoia National Park: Ash Mountain Entrance

Highway 198 leads straight to National Park Sequoia California. However, once you cross the entrance
station, you will have to be careful since the road becomes very narrow and winding beyond a certain
point. Any vehicles longer than 24 feet are not advised to travel the route between the Potwisha
Campground and the Foothills Visitor Center.

This limit also applies to trailers too and even in case of a small RV van, it is advisable to refrain from
using this route, unless you are skilled and experienced drivers who know their way around long winding
mountainous terrain.

  • Big Stump Entrance

Highway 180 eases its way into Kings Canyon National Park from the west side via Fresno. Since it is not
so steep or narrow, the Highway 180’s northern entrance is the preferred route for RVs longer than 22
feet. This route is wider, less steep and straighter than its highway 198 counterpart.

  • Lookout Point Entrance to the Mineral King Area
Image description: Mineral King is a subalpine glacial valley located at Sequoia Nat

If the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park is your destination, it would be a good idea to look for
the central junction of Mineral King Road with that of Highway 19. It comes roughly two miles before
the Ash Mountain Entrance. This road is however extremely narrow and winding, and it would be a good
idea to park your RV in or near Three Rivers before hitting the camping grounds near the Lookout Point
Entrance. If you want you can also download detailed driving maps of this park.

It is imperative to note that GPS and route-finding units might end up giving very inaccurate directions in
this particular area. Here, you have to double-check all of your routes while using the park map. It is also
a very good idea to keep a close lookout for road signs. Eshom Road, in particular, maybe somewhat
difficult to navigate, even in a small 4x4 vehicle, especially during the rainy season.

Camping at Sequoia National Park


There are plenty of RV friendly campsites available if you are interested in camping in Sequoia National
Park:

  • Dorst Creek Campground

Dorst Creek campground is the ideal campsite for a large family or group of friends, or even people
traveling in RVs and trailers. The site is divided into four large sections that are evenly spread out all
around and above the banks of the Dorst Creek. This site is very popular due to its paved roads that
make driving an RV to its slot very easy. The site has its own picnic tables and plenty of potable water. It
allows campfires and pets, and there are flush toilets present. However, this site does not have any
arrangements for septic tanks.

  • Potwisha Campground

This campsite gets pretty hot in the summer, and this makes it a great location for sunbathing by the
bank of the Kaweah River that forks near this spot. It is the perfect place where you can cool down and
while away the time bathing in the river in those hot, dry summer days.

Potwisha is located in the lower Sierra Foothills region, which means that the campground stays open all
winter long. It is located only a few short miles from the main Sequoia National Park entrance. It allows
up to 6 guests per site and has flush toilets, potable water and picnic tables.

  • Azalea Campground

This camp is located in the Grant Grove area. The Azalea Campground is considered to be one of the
most scenic and beautiful campgrounds in the park. It is perfectly located for hikes and exploration of
the giant sequoias.

The various camping sites at the Azalea campground are spread around massive rocks nestling at the
base of towering pines. The trees are widely spaced, so they offer plenty of light while offering enough
shadow to park your camp chair in the shade. All of the sites have been designed to ensure that there is
plenty of distance in between the various sites. This makes the Azalea campground the perfect place for
people who value their privacy and want to get away from it all.

There is a walking trail that leads from the campground straight to the world-famous General Grant
Tree, which is one of the largest Sequoia trees in the area.

The site is open all the year-round, and like most of the other RV campsites at Sequoia National Park, it
operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are a total of 110 campsites. It includes various
facilities such as flush toilets and running water. However, there are no hookups or dump stations
present there.

There is a small village nearby where there is a store with a selection of groceries, showers, a restaurant,
and hot coffee. All in all, this camping ground is one of the best places for RV camping in Sequoia
National Park.

If you want a break from your RV and are looking for other places to stay in the park, you can always
check-in at any one of the hotels present in the vicinity.

Seasonal Activities in Sequoia National Park



  • Summer
Summer is a busy season at the park due to the wide number of activities that you can enjoy with your
friends and family.

  1. You can spend the day exploring the Giant Forest.
  2. Check out the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
  3. Take a few selfies with the General Sherman Tree.
  4. Go hiking in the park and check out its many great splendors such as the Moro Rock, the Crystal Cave and the Tunnel Log.
  • Fall
  1. Go fishing! The water temperature is warm, and the river is at its lowest ebb, so you can stay shin-deep in the water all day long and roast your catch on the campfire at night.
  2. The Big Tree Trail is ideal for the elderly since its wheelchair friendly and not too difficult. The balmy fall weather makes it an enjoyable trek.
  3. Create great memories while catching the Sunset at the Beetle or Sunset Rocks.
  • Winter
  1. Snowshoe races are a fun way of exploring the countryside or checking out the giant forest while it is wreathed in white.
  2. The park has over 800 miles of cross country skiing trails, making this place an artic paradise for the skiing enthusiast.
  3. There are plenty of opportunities for sledging and snowball fights for the young ones too.
  • Spring
  1. As the winter loses its grip on the park, the warmer days bring their own opportunities. Horseback riding is a popular pastime in the spring season at the park.
  2. The rising waters of the spring thaw are ideal for fly fishing.
  3. The crisp, clean air is a great way to enjoy your nights gazing at the stars.
  4. The more daring adventurers also like to indulge in a spot of spelunking.
  5. The longer days mean plenty of more chances to explore this park.

Checklist for Your Visit to the Sequoia Trees Park


What you bring to the park depends on the season as well as any activities in Sequoia you have planned.

  • Backpack

If you plan on hiking around all day long, you will need a backpack.

  • Binoculars

It may not be possible to get up close to the location of wildlife, in which case you can always observe
them with your field glasses while visiting Sequoia National Forest Park.

  • Comfortable Walking Shoes

You will need comfortable trekking shoes irrespective of the season or activity.

Apart from the above, you will also need some other stuff such as the following:

  • Plenty of layered clothes
  • First aid kit in case of any emergency
  • Willkie talkies if you plan on separating from the group
  • A water bottle since you must remain hydrated at all times, even in mid-winter.

Conclusion


We hope this guide to Sequoia National Park will be helpful in planning your future RV trip to the land of
the giants. Hope you have a nice and safe trip.

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