Giant Forest

Sequoia National Park

Man looking up at a giant redwood in Sequoia National Park.

©Tomasz Zajda/EyeEm/Getty Images

This 3-sq-mile grove protects the park’s most gargantuan tree specimens. Among them is the world’s biggest, the General Sherman tree, rocketing 275ft into the sky. Pay your respects via a short descent from the Wolverton Rd parking lot, or join the Congress Trail, a paved 2-mile pathway that takes in General Sherman, the Washington Tree (the world’s second-biggest sequoia) and the see-through Telescope Tree. The 5-mile Trail of the Sequoias helps you lose the crowds.

The top destination in the park, Giant Forest was named by John Muir in 1875. At one point over 300 buildings, including campgrounds and a lodge, encroached upon the sequoias' delicate root systems. In 1997, recognizing this adverse impact, the park began to remove structures and resite parking lots. It also introduced a convenient, free seasonal visitor shuttle, significantly cutting traffic congestion and reducing the potential harm to these majestic trees.