Sequoia National Park in California's Sierra Nevada mountains is a land of superlatives: It was the second national park to be designated in the U.S., boasts the tallest mountain in the continental U.S., and is home to the largest tree on earth.
Mount Whitney's granite peak rises 14,505 feet above sea level and can be reached from the Giant Forest by expert hikers taking the arduous High Sierra trail. "General Sherman," a sequoia tree in the Giant Forest, is the world's most voluminous living tree specimen, standing 275 feet high with a base circumference of over 100 feet.
The park's lower elevations feature spectacular waterfalls and more than 200 known caves of beautiful stalactites and naturally polished marble. Most of the park is secluded wilderness and backcountry, and can be reached only by hiking or horseback riding.
—B. Stanton, NPCA
If You Go
You must secure your food and any other scented items from black bears, which have been known to break into cars in search of snacks. The Sierra Interagency Black Bear Group has a list of approved food storage containers on their website: www.sierrawildbear.gov
Air pollution is among the most serious threats to national parks. The National Park Service has established the NPS air quality webcam network to show “live” digital images of more than a dozen parks. Click here to see current air conditions at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.