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.