California Vacation 2011: The Giant Sequoias

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It obviously wouldn’t be a trip to Sequoia National Park without seeing the famed giant sequoias!

When Jason and I visited Yosemite last summer, we took the drive to the Mariposa Grove a Giant Sequoias. Honestly, the trees didn’t really do anything for us. They were just trees – big trees, but still just trees. I think both of us were ready to be underwhelmed once again. We were wrong.

The giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park are pretty incredible. We caught our first glimpse of these trees on our initial drive into the park. We continued beyond the construction into the Giant Forest. And there they were! It was indescribable to be driving in what looked like a normal forest and then BAM, there’s a massively huge tree right in front of you. To see these giant trees interspersed among “regular” trees was pretty cool (although the regular trees were not exactly small).

Before we made our stop to see Tokopah Falls, we visited the Grant Grove to see the General Grant Tree. The General Grant Tree is the third largest sequoia tree in the world and is estimated to be more than 3,000 years old. It is the Nation’s Christmas Tree, a designation bestowed upon it by President Coolidge in 1926.

General Grant Tree

General Grant Tree

General Grant Tree

The photos don’t come close to doing justice to the size of these trees.

As we entered the park for the last time on our final day, we once again drove through the Giant Forest on our way to the parking area for the Giant Forest Museum and Moro Rock.

Giant Forest

Giant Forest

Giant Forest

Giant Forest

I loved the Giant Forest!

After we checked out Moro Rock (I’ll share that fun story next time), we had one more thing to see before we were done with SEKI: the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree (by volume) in the world!

General Sherman Tree

General Sherman Tree

No wonder we were more impressed with the sequoias this time around. In SEKI, we saw the first and third largest trees (out of the 30 largest Giant Sequoias, 13 are in SEKI). The Grizzly Giant, which we saw in the Mariposa Grove, is #26 on the list. Yeah…

I am so glad that we visited Sequoia/Kings Canyon if for nothing more than to see these trees. They totally changed our impression of the giant sequoias, and they are something that everyone should see at some point in their lives.

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