Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks boast the most amazing trees. (Their backcountry is supposed to be epic as well, but we didn’t visit in season to find out.) Both parks have popular trails through sequoia groves. These are short (1-2 miles) and a mix of paved asphalt and dirt trail.
We spent 2 nights camping in Dorst Creek Campground in Sequoia on our way from Athens to our summer stay in Oregon. Although some aspects of our trip were cut short by some car trouble, staying two nights in the same place afforded us a lot of time to explore. Kelly had heard about a large grove of remote sequoias and wanted to explore it. Little did he know the trail to it actually left from our campground!
After spending the morning watching sunrise and exploring in some of the more crowded groves, we headed back to camp to do this round-trip 4 mile hike to and back from Muir Grove. Unlike the other groves, this hike only has sequoias at the end. Also unlike the other groves, you’ll see far fewer people here. Even though we hiked this trail well into the afternoon, we saw only about 5-10 people. And we had plenty of time in the sequoia grove by ourselves.
The hike itself is nothing spectacular. Although if you love forests, you’ll be quite content. After a quick stream crossing, you’ll enter lots of green and woodsy solitude. The elevation on this hike is moderate (~500 feet) but I remember it feeling surprisingly burdensome. Perhaps it was the late afternoon hiking and the fact we had been on our feet all day, but I was really dragging.
The grove of sequoias at the end of this hike was definitely our favorite of the two parks. It was so refreshing to spend time with the tall giants with no one around. No tourists, no crowds, no pavement. Just giant tall trees. In the midst of the giants, we couldn’t help but notice the small details like the moss growing on bark of redwood trees en route and the tiny sequoia pine cone seeds.