Visiting Sequoia National Park is an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience you should not miss!
- Stop by the Visitor Center
- Become a Junior Ranger
- Picnic at Hospital Rock while Visiting Sequoia National Park
- Hike Moro Rock
- Explore Crescent Meadow
- Drive Through the Tunnel Log
- Learn at the Giant Forest Museum
- Marvel at the General Sherman
- Soak up the Views Hiking Tokopah Falls
- Adventure in Crystal Cave
- Drive into King's Canyon National Park
With its towering giant trees, Sequoia National Park is a popular family attraction. However, there's more to see and do than just look at the trees!
Hello! It’s Laurel with Mile Marker Memories and I am so excited to share a bit with you about one of my family’s favorite National Parks! Sequoia National Park is a gem for all ages to explore! Here are my top ten best things to do when visiting Sequoia National Park with kids!
Standing beneath the shade of an ageless Sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park is a view you will never forget. The towering trees that begin from the tiniest pinecones will leave children of all ages mesmerized. There is so much to see and do in Sequoia National Park. Here are the top ten best things to do when visiting Sequoia National Park with kids.
Sequoia National Park is located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California. Although known for the mesmerizing Sequoia trees that grow on the western side of the Sierra Nevada, the park covers over 631 square miles and has over 800 miles of trails. In addition to the beautiful groves, meadows, and views, Sequoia National Park has a rich cultural history, as it was once home to many Native Americans.
Stop by the Visitor Center
The Foothill Visitor Center is located just after the southern Ash Mountain Entrance (entry is $35). Make sure you stop for a family photo by the entrance sign on your way in! We always stop at the visitor center when visiting Sequoia National Park (or any National Park). Kids can pick up their Junior Ranger book, stamp their National Park Passport, and grab the souvenir park brochure. All National Park visitor centers have restrooms and filtered water bottle filling stations. In addition, you can ask any questions you may have and check in on current closures. In our post-COVID travel world, knowing what is open and available is key to a great day!
Become a Junior Ranger
Becoming a Junior Ranger is a must-do when we visit any National Park. To start, pick up a complimentary booklet at any visitor center or entrance booth. Your child will learn about the park by completing activities throughout your visit. This makes for a great restaurant activity as well! At the end of your visit, stop by a visitor center to show the completed activities, take the Junior Ranger oath and receive your complimentary badge. These complimentary badges are a great souvenir.
Picnic at Hospital Rock while Visiting Sequoia National Park
Across the road, ancient petroglyphs can be viewed on the rocks, and the old “kitchen” can be seen – a flat rock with grinding holes for turning acorns into flour. This location was once the hub of a Native American village, and the Kaweah River flows along the entire location.
Hospital Rock is a great picnic stop for several reasons. There is ample shade in the picnic area and they have flush toilets. In addition, they have BBQ and water facilities if you are looking to create a heavier meal. Outdoor exhibits in the area teach you about the Native American history of the region.
The trails along the river are fun to explore and offer beautiful views. However, this is not a place to let your children run wild and swim. Poison oak surrounds the area, so staying on the trail is essential. The river can flow heavily and the rocks around the river are slippery. Sadly, drowning (mostly due to slips) is the leading cause of death in Sequoia. This is a beautiful place to explore, but do so from afar and on the trail!
Packing a picnic to bring in the park with you is a great option when visiting Sequoia National Park with kids. This way, meals, and snacks can work into your timeline, versus driving around in search of food. Dining options in Sequoia are limited, but you can pick up picnic items at the Lodgepole Café if you are unable to pack ahead. Always remember to lock your food in the bear lockers the park provides near parking lots. You do not want your picnic to become a bear’s lunch while you are exploring!
Hike Moro Rock
The views from this hike up a massive granite rock are exceptional, and this is a great hike to do with older kids. You climb over 400 stairs as you head over 300 feet uphill. There are guardrails along the stairs, and the views of the surrounding forest and mountains are exceptional. Our seven-year-old loved this hike, but my mama's heart was a little nervous with him on the narrow, steep trail as we climbed. You know your kids best, so make the call if this hike is for your family when visiting Sequoia National Park with kids!
Explore Crescent Meadow
John Muir called this the “gem of the Sierras” and I could not agree more. This is an exceptional stop for families with kids of all ages. There are several trails throughout the area that surround the wetland. Crescent Meadow gives kids the opportunity to take an up-close look at the timeless Sequoias. Vibrant greenery surrounds you as you wander through the meadow and forest areas.
There are several highlights to explore, but the entire area is stunning. Bears can be seen in the morning and wildflowers are abundant in spring. Many areas are accessible for strollers and wheelchairs which makes this area a must-do for those with toddlers when visiting Sequoia National Park.
Highlights include Tharp’s Log (an old Pioneer’s home that was made in a hollowed-out Sequoia Tree), Chimney Tree (a burnt-out Sequoia you can actually step inside of), and the giant Sequoia tree that creates a bridge over the meadow (you can climb up and use to cross the meadow). Crescent Meadow is a DO NOT MISS when visiting Sequoia National Park with kids!
Drive Through the Tunnel Log
On your way to and from Crescent Meadow, make sure to drive through the infamous Tunnel Log, a fallen Sequoia turned tunnel. Kids love this stop because when else can you drive through a giant tree? Not to mention your surrounding views are exceptional! This area is a must-do to explore when visiting Sequoia National Park in the summer!
Learn at the Giant Forest Museum
The Giant Forest Museum is a great way to introduce the beauty of Sequoia National Park to kids of every age. Through interactive exhibits, kids will learn about the different trees, ecology, and history of Sequoia National Park. This is also a great place to work on their Junior Ranger booklet, ask questions and use facilities. After your visit, take a stroll on the surrounding 1-mile self-guided and accessible Big Trees trail.
Marvel at the General Sherman
The General Sherman is over 3000 years old and taller than the Statue of Liberty. It is the largest tree in the world at over 275 feet tall and 36 feet in diameter at the base. The General Sherman Tree trail starts at a large parking area and is about ½ mile downhill to the tree and then ½ mile back uphill. Hiking in Sequoia requires a bit more time due to the high elevation, so use the benches for rest, take your time and enjoy the sights.
There is a wheelchair-accessible trail to the tree from a separate parking area off General’s Highway shortly before the turnoff for the General Sherman Tree. However, you must have a disability placard to use the parking lot. During summer, the park shuttles can drop you at the accessible trail. This is a great option, as parking can get crowded during peak times.
Soak up the Views Hiking Tokopah Falls
The Tokopah Falls Trail is a great hike for the whole family. This trail leaves from the Lodgepole Campground and is 1.7 miles out to the stunning Tokopah Falls. Wildlife is abundant on this trail and makes for some incredible memories when visiting Sequoia National Park. We saw two black bear families on this trail and our son was mesmerized. I highly recommend hitting this trail early as it can get crowded in the afternoon.
The walk along the Kaweah River has so many places to sit and take in the view. We encountered people picnicking, sunbathing, fishing and swimming as we headed towards the falls. Please use caution and know current weather conditions before entering the river. Although hiking through lush forest, the last ¼ mile towards the falls is spent crossing through granite boulders that have piled up at the base of the falls. The trail is a great way to see the beauty of the Sierra Nevada. Don’t forget bug spray as hiking along the river does bring the bugs out!
Adventure in Crystal Cave
Although Sequoia National Park has over 200 caves, Crystal Cave is the only cave that you can book a guided tour to explore. Tours take you through the half-mile loop to explore the unique formations in this marble cavern. There are a variety of tour options for families of all ages, however, strollers and baby carriers are not allowed in the cave. Temperatures drop to 50°, so plan to bring a jacket on your tour. Tickets need to be purchased at least 36 hours before your visit but booking opens 6 months in advance due to high demand.
Sequoia National Park is filled with wonderful adventures and lifelong memories for families. Children of all ages will find joy amongst the beautiful giants. These top ten best things to do when visiting Sequoia National Park with kids will keep your family craving more! When you finish your adventure in Sequoia, consider driving into the neighboring King’s Canyon National Park to explore.
Drive into King's Canyon National Park
Sequoia National Park is neighbor to King’s Canyon National Park, home of many other stunning views and giant Sequoias. A short 45-minute drive will take you to the heart of King’s Canyon National Park, Grant Grove Village. Here you can explore the village visitor center, grab some ice cream from the market and take in the views of Hume Lake from Panoramic Point.
In Grant Grove, an accessible, paved .3-mile loop will take you to the General Grant Tree, the second-largest living tree, named our nation’s Christmas Tree by Calvin Coolidge. Kids will love exploring the area. Along the loop, you will find interpretive panels with information about the natural history of the area. You can also walk through a fallen Sequoia which our son wanted to do over and over again!