Giant Forest Loop

This 7-mile hike rolls through groves of the largest trees on planet earth.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
11 km
Ascent
441 m
Descent
441 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2.1 km
High Point
2.2 km
Gradient
Giant Forest Loop Map

"You'll be massaging the kinks out of your neck after gaping upward at some of the world's largest sequoias," according to Backpacker Magazine. Indeed, these towering trees are truly a sight to behold, and this 7-mile loop puts the best and biggest sequoias in the world on full display.

Description

The route begins with the popular Congress Grove Trail. "The Congress Trail is a popular paved loop that starts at the General Sherman Tree, the largest in the world, and goes about a mile south to an impressive collection of immense sequoias, a few of which look just as big as the Sherman Tree, and some unusual clusters of sequoia," according to RedwoodHikes.com. Since trail is easily the best place to enjoy spectacular groves of Sequoias in Sequoia National Park, it is exceedingly popular.

While the entire Congress Grove (split into the House and the Senate) is spectacular, the towering General Sherman Tree is the focal point of, arguably, the entire national park. "The General Sherman Tree is the world's largest tree, measured by volume," according to the NPS. "It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Sequoia trunks remain wide high up. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) in diameter."

Once you depart the Congress Grove Trail and head for the more remote (respectively) reaches of the Giant Forest Loop, the crowds will thin out significantly. Even though you'll leave the crowds behind, the towering sequoias will be your constant companions for many miles. In the farthest reaches of the loop, you'll pass other notable sights, including Tharp's Log Cabin and Crescent Meadow.

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area