Sequoia National Park

By: natisha

America's second oldest national park, the Sequoia National Park is a unique and unspoiled ecosystem having some of the most amazing views in the world. Towering sequoia trees, lofty mountain peaks, magnificent meadows and tumbling water falls make this park one of nature's most brilliant artworks.

The Sequoia is California's first national park and receives more than a million visitors every year. It is most famous for its namesake, the giant redwood sequoias that grow thick and huge. These awe-inspiring trees are over 30 feet wide, 310 feet tall and may live for almost 3,000 years. With their near impossible breadth, going around one of them can literally take your breath away!

However, in spite of its name, sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Park are limited to small pockets. The rest of the area is covered by huge mountains, canyons, lakes and waterfalls.

The Sequoia offers a number of year-round fun activities for visitors and is seldom overcrowded. The park is famous for its hiking trails and picnic spots. The best time to enjoy sensational hiking is during the summer and spring.

You can't make a visit to the Sequoia and miss out on Mount Whitney, can you? Agreed, the trail is overcrowded and you're going to brush shoulders with more people than you like. But an alternative does exist, provided you have the time. The High Sierra Trail which starts at the Crescent Meadow and ends in the John Muir Trail is lengthier by 62 miles. You may take between 8 and 10 days to cover the trail, but if you want to avoid the press of humanity, this is your best bet. At an elevation of approximately 7,800 ft, the subalpine valley of the Mineral King is another rare treat for hikers.

Some of the other adventure activities you can enjoy here are cave tours, fishing and horseback riding.

If your idea of fun in the great parks is wildlife gazing, the Sequoia won't disappoint. Keep your eyes peeled for mountain lions, marmots, bears, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats and ringtails. In the Rae Lakes area, you can sight bighorn sheep. Rattlesnakes are also abundant in the hills nearby; though this is one species you don't want to run into.

The Sequoia National Park is a favorite spot for people who love winter sports. Areas that stand above 6,000 ft are quickly covered in layers of snow. The thick coating of snow forms a nice path for backcountry skiers to reach the groves of giant redwood trees. Private ski trails are more expensive, but also offer routes that are more challenging. A word of caution: the weather conditions here are quite unpredictable. Check the weather forecast before visiting any area that lies above 8,000 ft.

The Sequoia National Park is considered to be one of California's best national parks. The claim is justified as this park features a variety of nature walks, naturalist programs, spots of interest and opportunities for recreational activities that thrill people of all ages and interests, at all times of the year. Can't get better than that, can it?

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