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
- Distance: 11.3
Location: 36.584899, -118.749536
Head southwest from the parking area.
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).
Location: 36.581026, -118.750325
Location: 36.577554, -118.75198
At the 3-way junction, continue straight, heading south.
Location: 36.574756, -118.750609
Take a right on Alta Trail.
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.
Location: 36.573481, -118.750392
Turn left, heading north.
Location: 36.574127, -118.750797
Turn right. Ahead, the route winds to the southeast.
Location: 36.567434, -118.745009
Continue on the trail as you pass through the Circle Meadow Area.
Location: 36.570218, -118.738689
Cross Crescent Creek and then head south on the trail.
Location: 36.561148, -118.736066
Cross a branch of Crescent Creek. Next, follow the trail into Log Meadow.
Location: 36.559207, -118.738856
Turn right on Log Meadow Loop Trail at the 3-way junction.
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.
Location: 36.560627, -118.742592
Turn right (northwest) on Crescent Loop Trail.
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.
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).
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.
Location: 36.563781, -118.753206
Bear right at the Y-junction.
Location: 36.565009, -118.75283
Continue straight at the 3-way junction, heading northwest.
Location: 36.573449, -118.753704
Continue straight at the 5-way junction to return to the trailhead.
Location: 36.577968, -118.752109
Continue straight at the 3-way junction. From here, it's 0.2 mile back to the parking lot.