Forest: Giant Forest Loop, CA

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


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