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Backpacker Magazine – May 2010

Forest: Giant Forest Loop, CA

See giant sequoias, including General Sherman, on this great family hike.

by: Laura Fay, Maps by Kris Wagner and Kim Phillips


You’ll be massaging the kinks out of your neck after gaping upward at some of the world’s largest sequoias. Tourists head back to the gift shop after snapping portraits at the super-sized General Sherman tree, but this is where the fun—and this seven-mile loop—begin. Got a day? Tour the wide meadows and enormous forests. Got two? Go east on the 13-mile Alta Trail and summit 11,204-foot Mt. Alta. INFO No permits for dayhikes. (559) 565-3341; nps.gov/seki. Trip data: backpacker.com/hikes/599824

1. General Sherman tree
0343349E 4049926N; mile .3
Earth’s bulkiest single organism is 275 feet tall, 100 feet around.

2. Senate Group
0343367E 4049126N; mile 1.1
Weave right on the Alta Trail, then left on Trail of the Sequoias. Overnighting? Take Alta east 3.6 miles to Mehrten Meadow.

3. Tharp’s Log
0344297E 4047510N; mile 3.9
Go right at T-junction and pass a hollowed-out sequoia made into a seasonal shelter in 1858 by cattleman Hale Tharp.

4. Junction
0343240E 4049485N; mile 6.2
Stay straight at three-way intersection. It’s .2 mile to trailhead.

Tree Time
Find more forest hikes.



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