We arrived at Sequoia National Park, and thanks to our National Parks Annual Pass, entrance was free once again. Our visit here was only a one-night stay, so we toured the paved trails around the Giant Forest main attractions and did a short but really great hike on a trail near our campground. However, there are actually over 800 miles of hiking trails in the Sequoia/Kings Mountain park areas!
The giant Sequoia trees are in a few rarefied areas, because they grow only in a narrow strip of the mountainside between 5,000 and 7,000 feet.
It’s neat when you are driving up and down the mountains here, because you can really see the trees change when you reach the bottom or top of the Sequoia growth areas.
We arrived in the park a bit later than expected, so we scrambled to grab the first campsite we could find at the closest campground that was open. Buckley Flats is a cozy, small campground with only ~28 campsites; although they’re all situated very close to each other.
The only real downside to this campground vs. others in the park is that you have to drive a half mile down a harrowing one-lane road to get there. Best to time your trip when no other vehicles are going the other way. (Good luck with that.) If you arrive alive, the campsites have generally nice views, and very friendly squirrels.
Just FYI: There are black bears all over this park. We saw signs and heard people talking about sightings while we were there, even though we didn’t see any ourselves.
So, if you camp anywhere in Sequoia/Kings Canyon, be sure to use the bear-boxes provided to store your food.
It is amazing that these gargantuan trees grow from such small cones! The bark of the Sequoia trees is really spongy and has evolved to be fire resistant.
The park museum explains this wonderful adaptation that has protected the giants for millennia.
From the campground there is one short 3 mile trail that is a must-see.
Hike the first 1/4 mile to get to a wooden bridge over a beautiful, but deadly river (multiple signs warn you of this fact), and shortly afterward you’ll see a great waterfall and pristine (yet also deadly) shimmering pools.
There is also a plethora of flora and fauna you can’t find on the east coast.
All in all, This is another park where one night is just not enough. We could have hiked for days in these mountains and forests and experienced something new each time. Definitely worth the visit if you’re ever nearby.