Sequoia National Park: The Land of Giants

By Jacob A. Ybarra


Imagine for a moment, a narrow path in the heart of a lush forest, in the distance you can hear the distinct sounds of birds chirping as sunlight beams through the thick branches of pine and fir.  Eventually, you come to the realization that the world around you is growing bigger as towering pillars of redwood begin to surround you on all sides. Gone are the skyscrapers of man, for you are now in the land of giants; you are now in Sequoia.  

 A row of sequoias stand tall along a wooden pathway.  Photo Credit: NPS (National Parks Service)

A row of sequoias stand tall along a wooden pathway.

Photo Credit: NPS (National Parks Service)

Established on September 25, 1890, Sequoia National Park is our nation’s second-oldest national park, and the first park established with the purpose of protecting a living organism, that being the Sequoiadendron giganteum, more commonly known as the giant sequoia tree.  

The park is located in the southern region of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, making it a great destination for a weekend getaway, as it is both affordable and relatively close, being only a short drive from campus.  Both Sequoia and the adjoining Kings Canyon National Park offer visitors with 14 different campsites to choose from if you’re planning to stay overnight, each with vast ranging changes in scenery and amenities.

 Looking up towards the sky, you find yourself surrounded by giant sequoias.  Photo Credit: NPS (National Parks Service)

Looking up towards the sky, you find yourself surrounded by giant sequoias.

Photo Credit: NPS (National Parks Service)


While visiting, I must stress how vital it is to walk through, or at the very least drive through, the Giant Forest, as the written description of these massive trees can hardly give justice to their size and wonder.

One must stop spot within the Giant Forest would have to be the General Sherman tree, which holds the title as the largest living tree in the world, towering 275 feet above the ground and having a 36 foot diameter at its base.  Additionally, nearby to General Sherman lies Tunnel tree, a fallen sequoia carved into a tunnel that allows you to drive underneath, as well as Tharp’s Log, a cabin that dates back to 1861, that was built within a hollowed out fallen sequoia.  

 The General Sherman tree, Sequoia National Park.  Photo Cred: Jacob A. Ybarra

The General Sherman tree, Sequoia National Park.

Photo Cred: Jacob A. Ybarra

Furthermore, the park offers a number of trails that pass gentle streams and roaring waterfalls, as well as more strenuous journeys that take you below the ground through Crystal Cave or high above to Mount Whitney, the highest point within the contiguous United States.

 Resting just past Mist Falls lies Paradise Valley, one of the many gems located within the park.  Photo Cred: NPS (National Parks Service)

Resting just past Mist Falls lies Paradise Valley, one of the many gems located within the park.

Photo Cred: NPS (National Parks Service)

Overall, the land of giants offers visitors breathtaking sites and natural wonders, encompassing all of the beauty that the state of California has to offer, which is why I highly recommended taking the time to visit Sequoia National Park.