The giant Sequoia trees, also known as the Sierra Redwoods, are massive trees that have been classified as some of the biggest living things on Earth. These trees are huge. They can be hundreds of feet tall, and some of the largest are over 100 feet around the base. Even further up the tree can still be almost 20 feet circumference, dwarfing anything standing below it, making you feel as you have almost entered another realm. These trees can be found in several areas. The most popular area to see is a National Park called Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Other areas to visit these Redwoods are Yosemite National Park, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Calaveras Big Trees State Park all in the state of California.
How do giant Sequoia trees get so big?
The giant Sequoia trees need lots of water to grow that big and vigorous. The Sierra Snowpack is all the snow that accumulates in the winter in that area, and as the weather warms and the snow melts, it offers plenty of water for all the giants to drink. Their roots are shallow and spread wide, allowing the tree to pick up the most water, so walking around the trees can hurt them. Packing the soil around the shallow roots can prevent the soil from draining well, and the trees will not get the water they need to survive. Another reason for their massive size is that they can live to be 3,000 years old. They have tough bark full of tannins which are compounds that protect against pests and even fires. All these components combined allow for optimal growth and longevity of these giants.
The Sequoia tree known as General Sherman is one of the biggest and most popular trees for visitors. Standing beside this massive creation, a human looks like the size of a tiny little squirrel that could live on or in the tree. General Sherman is known as the largest single living stem tree on the entire Earth. The ground circumference is over 100 feet, and the first branch up is at 130 feet up the tree. Named after the civil war general, the General Sherman tree is the staple used to compare other trees too. Make sure to see General Sherman and stand in its towering awe as it will leave you feeling tiny and amazed.
The Tunnel Log
To give you an idea of how big these trees are, there is a “tunnel log” carved in one of the trees you can drive your car under. In 1937, one of these massive trees fell across the Crescent Meadow Road. Too large to move, they decided to carve out part of the tree so vehicles could pass under and continue on the road. The tunnel is 17 feet wide and 8 feet high, and a bypass for vehicle taller than that has been created to get around. The Crescent Meadow Road is located in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and is a favorite among tourists. Don’t forget your camera!
Where can you lay your head and dream about the giant Sequoia trees? Four lodges are available near the Sequoia trees and forests. The John Muir Lodge and the Wuksachi Lodge are the only two that are open all year long. The Wuksachi has many more rooms available, plus a restaurant, cocktail lounge, and ski shop. The John Muir has fewer rooms, but also a restaurant and is close to the National Park’s visitor’s center and only about a half mile from a sequoia grove. The Grant Grove Cabins are another attractive option and offer more privacy for you and your friends or family. Six types of the cabin are available, some of which are available year-round but the others have limited availability in the winter. They are also only a half mile from the visitor’s center and some other amenities. The Cedar Grove Lodge has 21 rooms and is found deep in Kings Canyon. A short walk away is the visitor’s center, restaurant, gift shop, and other amenities. The lodge does have a counter-service restaurant, and also a gift shop. Come and stay among the towering trees in the forests of California.
Camping in the Forests
Camping is popular, and there are 14 different campgrounds among the different parks to pick from. Three are open year round, and they are the Azalea campground, the Potwisha, and the South Fork campground. Most of the campsites are first-come, first-served. There are no RV hookups, and generators have specific hours in which they can be run, which enhances the experience of staying in the quiet forest. In the summer months, the campsites are usually full, but you can make reservations to hold your place among the giant Sequoia trees.
Towering Sequoias, Dramatic Landscape
The giant Sequoia trees are famous throughout the nation, and many people flock to see these living giants among us. Gazing at such a dramatic landscape of towering trees and mountains makes you feel like you’re in a different world. Studying the remarkable creations of nature and learning about the sequoias and surrounding area in the visitor’s center is an invaluable experience. These trees have spread their shallow roots and survive without competition in a zone they have claimed as their home for thousands of years. General Sherman still stands tall and proud, looking over its many friends and descendants, waiting for you to come and stand in the shade of its branches.