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Sequoia National Park

Get the Giant Forest to Yourself on the Big Trees Trail

In winter, one of Sequoia National Park's most popular spots gets a much-needed dose of solitude

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 1.4 miles (lollipop-loop)
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Wait until summer and you’ll have a better shot at winning the lottery than getting the Giant Forest to yourself. But in January through March, this grove of sequoias sees less than one tenth of the visitors it will in July and August.

Stage a trip and cross your fingers for snow—not only will it keep the last of the tourists away, it will add another layer of quiet and beauty. From the Giant Forest Museum (36.5653, -118.7736), head .35 mile east to reach the trailhead for the Big Trees Loop. There, hike past 20-story-tall trees, circling Round Meadow on the .7-mile circuit. Thirteen of Earth’s 50 largest sequoias live in this grove, so plan on a slower pace than usual—and maybe a post-hike neck massage.

Tag us @backpackermag and #hikeoftheweek on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook if you do this Hike of the Week.