This sequoia grove off Generals Hwy is astounding. The paved half-mile General Grant Tree Trail is an interpretive walk that visits a number of mature sequoias, including the 27-story General Grant Tree. This giant holds triple honors as the world’s second-largest living tree, a memorial to US soldiers killed in war and the nation’s official Christmas tree since 1926. The nearby Fallen Monarch, a massive, fire-hollowed trunk you can walk through, has been a cabin, hotel, saloon and stables.
To escape the bustling crowds, follow the more secluded 1.5-mile North Grove Loop, which passes wildflower patches and bubbling creeks as it gently winds underneath a canopy of stately sequoias, evergreen pines and aromatic incense cedars.
The magnificence of this ancient sequoia grove was nationally recognized in 1890 when Congress first designated it General Grant National Park. It took another half-century for this tiny parcel to be absorbed into the much larger Kings Canyon National Park, established in 1940 to prevent damming of the Kings River. Information booklets are available at the trail for $1.50 (use the honesty box), the main trail takes roughly 30 minutes, with plenty of time to read information boards.