Do you know the difference between the largest and tallest trees in the world?
I had assumed that the largest and tallest were the same until I started doing more research. The redwoods are the tallest, and along the pacific coast of norther California. The sequoias are the largest, based on the mass of their trunks (yup that's the math portion) and located about an hour and a half southeast of Fresno along the Sierra Neveda Mountains. In learning this difference, I realized what I had always imagined seeing were actually the Sequoias. (Don't worry, my tree-obsessed self will still seek the redwoods, too!)
This trip was a replan from 2020. Original plans were to road trip, camp in the national park, and then drive to the coast before roadtripping all the way back. When we finally felt it was time to start replanning, we revamped as well. This time we flew into Fresno, got a rental car and drove to an airBNB in Three Rivers for several days. Then we would drive to the coast and stay near Monterey Bay for some coast experience before flying back out of San José.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are actually two national parks next to each other. We chose to stay in Three Rivers, which is the town closest to the Sequoia entrance. We arrived late and adjusted to the two hour time difference with getting ready for bed. I forgot to take photos of this gorgeous AirBNB, but I did get the beautiful morning view we had each morning from the back patio.
Even though we were 9 minutes away from the park entrance, the first half an hour in the park is nothing but switch backs and beautiful views. This was amazing to see! It was also rough on family members who are prone to motion sickness.
Once we made it to the top, the Sequoias started showing up all around before you even get to the parking lot! It had been something I had looked forward to for so long, my body ugly cried knowing we finally made it to see these beautiful giants.
Once we made it to the Giant Forest Museum, we headed on the Big Trees Trail.
After walking around a giant fallen tree, I nearly screamed because I thought I saw a bear. That is NOT a bear, but just another fallen tree.
We then drove and parked to walk the Sherman Tree Trail. The guides were super helpful! While yes there was some crowds at the base of Sherman, overall it significantly less than what I anticipated. I was expecting it to be like at the Grand Canyon, and this was the only part that seemed a little crowded and we still had plenty of room.
After seeing the General Sherman Tree and a few other big trees right in the same area, one of the friendly park rangers strongly recommended taking the scenic Congress Trail. It was already on my list of wanting to do, however the boys had left their bags in the car and we were unsure how long everyone's patience would last. Thankfully they did!
This trail was absolutely stunning and one of my favorite! It was great to see the giants up close, and we ran into the friendly park ranger who was more than happy to answer all the many questions from our kids. He also recommended taking the bus from General Sherman back up to the parking lot. Our legs appreciated that advice!
Then we headed back down the mountain, and back to our AirBNB for the night.That's it for the first day among the largest trees! You can watch the video from this day below. More posts and videos to come from this trip, so be sure to come back! (or follow on social media @skipandleapadventures .