Sequoia National Park: Giant Forest Loop

This rolling, 7-mile hike travels through some of the largest trees on earth.
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This rolling, 7-mile hike travels through some of the largest trees on earth.

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

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.3

Waypoints

GNT001

Location: 36.584899, -118.749536

Head southwest from the parking area.

GNT002

Location: 36.581961, -118.750974

General Sherman: Towering 275 feet above the ground, this giant sequoia is the largest tree in the world (by volume).

GNT003

Location: 36.581026, -118.750325

Turn left.

GNT004

Location: 36.577554, -118.75198

At the 3-way junction, continue straight, heading south.

GNT005

Location: 36.574756, -118.750609

Take a right on Alta Trail.

GNT006

Location: 36.574047, -118.752092

As you pass through the Senate Group of sequoias, take a left at the 3-way junction onto Trail of Sequoias.

GNT007

Location: 36.573481, -118.750392

Turn left, heading north.

GNT008

Location: 36.574127, -118.750797

Turn right. Ahead, the route winds to the southeast.

GNT009

Location: 36.567434, -118.745009

Continue on the trail as you pass through the Circle Meadow Area.

GNT010

Location: 36.570218, -118.738689

Cross Crescent Creek and then head south on the trail.

GNT011

Location: 36.561148, -118.736066

Cross a branch of Crescent Creek. Next, follow the trail into Log Meadow.

GNT012

Location: 36.559207, -118.738856

Turn right on Log Meadow Loop Trail at the 3-way junction.

GNT013

Location: 36.560347, -118.739894

Turn right at the T-junction. Ahead, the trail passes Tharp's Log, a giant, hollowed sequoia log that was built into a cabin by Hale Tharp in 1861.

GNT014

Location: 36.560627, -118.742592

Turn right (northwest) on Crescent Loop Trail.

GNT015

Location: 36.559567, -118.747688

Crescent Meadow: Turn right at the T-junction. Optional: To shorten this route, turn left and head south to Crescent Meadow Road and wait for the park shuttle.

GNT016

Location: 36.559595, -118.750142

Bear right at the Y-junction and enter the Giant Forest area (home to some of the world's biggest sequoias).

GNT017

Location: 36.559789, -118.750499

Bear right on Washington Tree Trail and hike northwest. Optional: To shorten the loop, bear left and head west to the Giant Forest Museum for a shuttle pick-up.

GNT018

Location: 36.563781, -118.753206

Bear right at the Y-junction.

GNT019

Location: 36.565009, -118.75283

Continue straight at the 3-way junction, heading northwest.

GNT020

Location: 36.573449, -118.753704

Continue straight at the 5-way junction to return to the trailhead.

GNT021

Location: 36.577968, -118.752109

Continue straight at the 3-way junction. From here, it's 0.2 mile back to the parking lot.