The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Sequoia National Park Itinerary


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Sequoia National Park is a stunning 404,000-acre National Park in the Sierra Nevada. Unlike its more famous northern neighbor, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia is much less crowded destination compared to Yosemite for those curious about the beauty of the Sierras. While famous for its giant sequoia trees, there’s tons to do in this national park. With 2 to 3 days in Sequoia National Park, you can hike through the massive trees, visit the 1,200-foot waterfall, enjoy a stunning sunset, and spend a day splashing in the lake. Check out our complete Sequoia National Park itinerary for tips on how to spend your time!

How Many Days in Sequoia National Park?

When planning a trip to Sequoia National Park, one of the first questions that comes up is how many days to spend in Sequoia. While it would take several days to visit every corner of the park, 2 days in Sequoia National Park is plenty of time to see all the major sites, such as the largest tree in the world and a gorgeous marble cavern.

For those who want to spend a day splashing in the mountain lake and driving through one of the deepest canyons in North America, you’ll want 3 days in Sequoia National Park. No matter how many days you spend, you’re going to fall in love with the massive trees and striking blues and greens that make up this incredible park.

Trees in Sequoia National PArk
Beautiful Sequoia National Park

Getting To and Around Sequoia National Park

Those driving south to Sequoia National Park will take Highway 180 to the Big Stump Entrance while those driving north via Highway 198 will use the Ash Mountain Entrance. No matter which way you enter, you’ll have to pay the entrance fees, which vary depending on your length of stay and the type of vehicle you’re driving.

Once inside, it’s pretty easy to get around the park as there’s really only one made road through the park (Generals Highway) with a few side routes that take you to different viewpoints and trailheads.

While there are shuttles within the park, I highly recommend driving your own car or renting a car for your trip to Sequoia. The roads don’t get overly crowded, so you can easily park and drive around from site to site. Plus, having your own car will allow you to get to some of the more hard-to-reach destinations.

If you need to rent a car for this trip you can check out Rentalcars.com which aggregates prices across several different companies. Alternatively, if you prefer camping, you can rent an RV or campervan from Outdoorsy.

Sequoia National Park entrance sign
Sequoia National Park entrance sign

2 to 3 Days in Sequoia National Park Itinerary

Whether you’ve chosen to spend 2 days in Sequoia National Park or 3, there are plenty of sites and activities in the park to fill your day. Between short hikes to stunning viewpoints and ancient pictographs from early Indigenous tribes, this Sequoia National Park itinerary covers all the best things to do in 2-3 days.

Day 1 – Tunnel Rock, Crescent Meadow, Congress Trail, and More

The first day of our Sequoia National Park itinerary takes you to some of the most famous landmarks of the park. You’ll get a chance to learn about the Indigenous people that lived there thousands of years ago, stand at the base of the tallest rock in the world, and drive through a tunnel carved out of a giant sequoia tree.

Tunnel Rock

When entering Sequoia National Park via Generals Highway, your first stop will be Tunnel Rock.

A fallen granite boulder balances above the road and though vehicles can no longer drive under the rock, it’s still a great photo op as visitors are welcome to walk under or climb atop the rock! Dug in 1930, this tunnel continues to be a top attraction on any Sequoia National Park itinerary.

Tunnel Rock, Sequoia National Park
Tunnel Rock

Hospital Rock

Another famous Sequoia rock is Hospital Rock. So named for the dramatic red streaks that paint the surface of the rock, the area surrounding Hospital Rock was home to hundreds of Indigenous people as far back as 1350 A.D.

In addition to outdoor exhibits that educate visitors on life for the Indigenous tribes of the area, you can see the ancient pictographs that cover Hospital Rock.

Crescent Meadow

No Sequoia itinerary would be complete without a few hikes. After viewing Tunnel Rock and Hospital Rock, head over to Crescent Meadow to the trailhead for the Crescent and Log Meadows Trail. This 1.8-mile loop is a fairly easy trail that takes about 44 minutes to complete.

Make sure to stop by Tunnel Log on your way to the trailhead for the opportunity to drive through a fallen tree. Halfway through your hike, you’ll pass Tharp’s Log. This cabin was built in 1861 by Hale Tharp out of a giant sequoia tree.

Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park
Crescent Meadow

Morro Rock

You’ll see the towering Morro Rock throughout your 2 days in Sequoia National Park, but to get the most out of your visit, make sure you head to the viewing area atop the rock.

A stone staircase climbs 350 steps up from the parking lot to the top of Morro Rock where you can get a sweeping view of the surrounding nature.

Congress Trail

Keep heading north through Sequoia National Park and you’ll hit the start of Congress Trail, a 3-mile paved loop that takes you to the base of General Sherman Tree.

While Congress Trail takes about 1.5 hours to complete, those who are looking for less hiking in their Sequoia itinerary can take the half-mile walk from the parking lot to General Sherman. The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the world, standing at 275 feet tall and 36 feet wide.

Continue along the trail to see many other large sequoia clusters in the heart of the Giant Forest.

Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park
Congress Trail

Sunset Rock

End the first day of your Sequoia National Park itinerary by getting a stunning view of the sunset at the aptly names Sunset Rock. It’s about a mile out on a flat trail to the viewpoint, which takes just over 20 minutes to complete and is well worth it.

Once you get out there, you’ll end at a large, flat rock where you can settle for a picnic and a view of the orange skies that cover the park during sunset. 

Sunset Rock trail in Sequoia National Park, California
Sunset Rock Trail

Day 2 – Beetle Rock, Big Trees Trail, and Tokopah Falls

During day 2 of your Sequoia itinerary, you’ll see more giant sequoia trees, explore the marble cavern, and hike to Sequoia National Park’s famous waterfall. Plus, if you’re up to it, there’s a great sunrise view waiting for you!

Beetle Rock

Beetle Rock is an easy quarter-mile walk on a paved trail from the Giant Forest Museum and a wonderful place to start the day. If you’re an early riser, start day two of you Sequoia itinerary by watching sunrise at Beetle Rock.

It likely won’t be crowded thanks to the early hour, so you’ll have the spot to yourself while you watch the morning sun paint the sky. If early rising isn’t your thing, it’s still worth a quick visit for the stunning viewpoint of the park.

Giant Forest Museum

Walking back from Beetle Rock will drop you right at the front of the Giant Forest Museum. Open from 10am-4pm Friday through Monday, the Giant Forest Museum is totally free and tells the long and storied history of the sequoias.

From understanding the giant sequoia trees to learning the history of the Sequoia National Park, the Giant Forest Museum is a great place to deepen your knowledge of the area.

The Giant Forest Museum
The Giant Forest Museum

Big Trees Trail

Just north of the Giant Forest Museum, you’ll find the trailhead for the Big Trees Trail. This 1.3-mile trail is an easy, paved, flat loop that takes about half an hour to complete. In addition to taking you by some gorgeous giant sequoia trees, the Big Trees Trail is full of educational displays that tell you more about the history and science of these incredible trees.

There are benches and picnic tables along the trail, so pack a picnic lunch and spend some time eating alongside the trees during day 2 of your Sequoia itinerary!

Crystal Cave

When people think of a Sequoia National Park itinerary, they think about the giant trees and stunning views. But one of the park’s most unique attractions is the Crystal Cave.

This marble cavern is full of picturesque stalagmites reaching covering the roof. Due to the fragile nature of these formations, tours are required to visit. You can buy tickets for the 50-minute through Sequoia Parks Conservatory, but make sure to book ahead, because tickets sell out quickly!

Due to nearby fires, the cave is closed for 2022, but is expected to reopen in early 2023.

Crystal Cave in Sequoia NP
Crystal Cave

Tokopah Falls

To wrap out your first 2 days in Sequoia National Park, head over to Tokopah Falls. This 1,200-foot mountain waterfall can only be viewed via a short hike, but it’s well worth the effort.

The 4-mile out-and-back hike takes almost 2 hours to complete (one hour each way) and takes you right to the base of these stunning falls. The largest falls in the park, Tokopah Falls are a necessary part of any Sequoia itinerary.

Tokopah Falls in Sequoia National Park
Tokopah Falls

Day 3 – Hume Lake, Boyden Canyon, and Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

For those spending 3 days in Sequoia, the last day of your itinerary will take you further north where you can enjoy a picturesque mountain lake and even visit Kings Canyon National Park for a visit to another marble cavern, a drive through one of North America’s deepest canyons, and more!

Hume Lake

If you’re spending 3 days in Sequoia National Park, Hume Lake is a great destination for your last day. Surrounded by emerald pines, this crystalline lake is surrounded by sandy shores that make for a wonderful lake day.

Fish for rainbow trout, take out a canoe, bike the nearby trails, or try your hand at the Ponderosa ropes course. However you choose to spend the day, you can kill a full day resting on the beach, playing in the water, and enjoying the famous California sunshine.

Hume Lake
Hume Lake

Grant’s Grove Village

The western portion of Kings Canyon National Park is made up of Grant’s Grove. You can eat, shop, and get to know the area a bit more at Grant’s Grove Village. From the parking lot, you can access a 1/3-mile paved loop that takes you through many stunning trees, including the General Grant Tree.

Also known as the Nation’s Christmas Tree, this tree is around 1,650 years old and is the second-largest sequoia tree in the world.

Boyden Canyon

Whether you got a chance to tour Crystal Cave or not, Boyden Canyon is a great addition to your Sequoia itinerary. This spectacular marble cavern showcases incredible stalactites, stalagmites, and more that lie deep below the 2,000-foot-high walls of the famous Kings Gate and Windy Cliffs.

The tours last about 45-60 minutes and take you through the cavern. They cost $16-22 USD depending on the time of year you’re visiting, but be sure to book in advance as they often sell out. While worth a visit any time, make sure you put this on your itinerary if you’re visiting before the reopening of Crystal Cave! 

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

From Hume Lake, drive up the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway into Kings Canyon National Park. Sequoia’s northern neighbor, Kings Canyon makes a great addition to your Sequoia National Park itinerary. Your entry pass for Sequoia will get you into Kings Canyon as well.

The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is a 2 to 3-hour round-trip drive that takes you to Kings Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in North America. 

Scenery near Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
Scenery near Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

Where to Stay near Sequoia National Park

Plantation Bed & Breakfast – This lovely bed and breakfast offers a range of comfortable rooms within driving distance of the entrance of Sequoia NP. There is a seasonal pool and hot tub for guests to enjoy. Click here to check availability

Sequoia Resort – This resort offers a range of houses that can accommodate different group sizes including larger families. Each house has self-catering facilities as well as outdoor dining and a BBQ. It is also pet friendly! Click here to check availability

Private Rental – There are a range of private rentals to choose from near Sequoia National Park such as this romantic riverfront studio that can be a great option if you want to self-cater primarily during your trip. Click here to browse other private rentals

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options near Sequoia National Park!

Hike on Morro Rock
Hike on Morro Rock

Whether you spend 2 or 3 days in Sequoia National Park, there’s tons to do and see in your Sequoia itinerary. From towering trees to mountain waterfalls, it’s truly a magical destination that shows off what makes the Sierra Nevada such a special place.

Are you planning to visit Sequoia National Park? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Sarah is a writer for The World Was Here First who has spent over a decade traveling the world and writing stories inspired by the people and places she encounters along the way. She is an avid adventurer who is always seeking new opportunities to expand her worldview and, thus, her writing.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the itinerary suggestions. I would like to visit in 2022, but still need to plan for it. It’s been on my bucket list! Your very detailed description of the trails, what to expect and best times will be very helpful.

    Reply

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