Day Trip to Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park is pretty much right in our backyard.  We spent a lot of time last year exploring all that we could in both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park but hadn’t had a chance to get back up there for quite some time.

For those of you that don’t know Sequoia and Kings Canyon lie side by side and are located in the Southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley.

Sunday we decided to take a day trip up to the Sequoia side of the park and explore around the Giant Forest.  There are still quite a few trails on that side that we have not explored and wanted to take advantage of the fact that there are less visitors in the winter months.  I really wanted to hike Crescent Meadow and check out Tharp Log.  The only problem was, we didn’t think the road to Crescent Meadow was open and the hike from the parking lot at the bottom of the hill was more of a hike than we wanted to do after a winter of not enough exercise.

We decided to drive that way anyway figuring that if the road was closed we could quickly pick another trail closer to the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain.  When we got to Moro Road, we lucked out.  Not only was it open up to Moro Rock but all the way up to Crescent Meadow!  The road also takes you by the Tunnel Log and the Auto Log, which are both worth checking out!   You can read all about all these attractions here.

The Crescent Meadow Trail is a loop that is about 1.5 miles long and a really easy hike.  Perfect for us after a lazy winter.  The signs to Tharp Log were a little deceiving at first and we thought it was an 8 mile hike when really it was .8 miles.  Lacy still wasn’t too sure about it.  It wouldn’t be the first time I told her it was a 5 mile hike and not told her that was only the distance there and not back!  I don’t think we would have survived a 16 mile hike this trip.  We are too out of shape and the snow on the ground made it a little bit more of an effort in some places.

As soon as we entered the park I stopped to take a picture of the view and realized I had left my memory card in my laptop at home.  I grabbed my point and shoot camera out of my purse and took that on the hike with us instead.  It was bitter sweet.  I didn’t have to pack my large camera on the hike, but the picture quality greatly suffered.

Crescent Meadow sign in the snow

Crescent Meadow sign in the snow

Crescent Meadow in the winter

Crescent Meadow in the winter

Tharp Log is a cool site to check out.  It is a log that was turned into a house by Hale Tharp, where he lived each summer while he raised his livestock in the meadow.  He lived there until the land was turned into a national park in 1890.  It’s amazing to be able to take a short hike and find such great history.  It does make me sad that people feel the need to scratch their names and initials into all the wood though.

Sign for Tharp Log

Sign for Tharp Log

Me at Tharp Log

Me at Tharp Log

The inside of Tharp Log

The inside of Tharp Log

Tharp Log

Tharp Log

Lacy was a mountain goat in a previous life

Lacy was a mountain goat in a previous life

Look how tiny I am!!

Look how tiny I am!!

The Chimney Tree is a burnt out Sequoia tree that you can climb inside.  I really wish I would have thought to take pictures from the inside of the tree.

Lacy inside Chimney Tree

Lacy inside Chimney Tree

Lacy in Chimney Tree

Lacy in Chimney Tree

Lacy inside Chimney Tree

Lacy inside Chimney Tree

Top of Chimney Tree

Top of Chimney Tree

Me & Lacy in front of Chimney Tree

Me & Lacy in front of Chimney Tree

The Buttress Tree fell without warning in 1959.  It was a clear day with no wind when it fell.

Lacy at the end of Buttress Tree

Lacy at the end of Buttress Tree

Me next to Buttress Tree

Me next to Buttress Tree

Lacy and her new friend she found in the Visitor Center at Lodgepole

Lacy and her new friend she found in the Visitor Center at Lodgepole

Lacy playing with puppets in the gift shop

Lacy playing with puppets in the gift shop

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