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Giant Forest Loop Trail

Intermediate
 4.8 (12) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Combine several of the parks best and most well-known trails for a comfortable seven mile hike among the sequoias.


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Map Key

7.5

Miles

12.0

KM

Point to Point

7,345' 2,239 m

High

6,688' 2,039 m

Low

988' 301 m

Up

968' 295 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

28%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Combine Crescent Meadow, Circle Meadow, Congress Trail, General Sherman, Trail Of The Sequoias, and Tharp's Log into one relatively easy hike. Get the full giant forest experience and maybe a little privacy in what is otherwise the busiest section of the park.

Need to Know

There are three creek crossings and a large field of poison oak on the Trail of The Sequoias section of the loop.

The hike can also be started from the General Sherman parking lot but the would entail a steep ascent (240ft) at the end of your hike.

Description

From the Crescent Meadow parking area, head east along Sugar Pine Connector to join the Crescent Meadow Loop heading east. The trail skits the southern edge of the meadow then follows an undulating course through the forest to the north, crossing a small rise and then climbing to a junction with the trail looping Crescent Meadow that heads off to the west.

Continue straight (sort of right) to a second junction where a short spur trail (straight ahead) leads to the Chimney Tree, a huge dead sequoia with a fire hollowed core. After visiting the Chimney Tree, return to the main trail, take a left and follow the Crescent Meadow-Tharps Log Trail as it heads east in the direction of Tharp’s Log. The trail now crosses a small rise separating Crescent and Long Meadows and arrives at Long Meadow and Tharp’s Log.

After admiring Tharp’s innovative home, continue left onto Log Meadow Loop as it arcs around the north end of Long Meadow and arrives at a trail junction. Here our route continues ahead (don't go right) on a connector, ascending steeply for 0.2 miles to a junction with the Trail of the Sequoia.

Turn left (north) on the Trail of the Sequoias. The trail follows an ascending traverse on easy to moderate grades along the hillside through a mixed forest scattered with sequoias of varying ages and sizes. You'll feel like you are in the wilderness on this part of the trail and probably run into few, if any, other hikers.

Pass through the trunk of a fallen sequoia and shortly after, cross the Crescent Creek drainage. Beyond the crossing the trail turns southwest, ascending on moderate grades along the west side of the drainage. In less than half a mile, the trail curves to the northwest and climbs to and crosses the top of a ridge. As you climb, partially obstructed views open to the south.

Descend from the ridge on moderate grades through a mixed forest with numerous giant sequoias. Occasional switchbacks ease the descent. Pass the Chief Sequoyah Tree and arrive at a trail junction. Turn left and follow the trail to the President Tree and a junction with the Congress Trail. Just ahead is the Senate Group, an interesting cluster of sequoias. Turn right and follow the Congress Trail to the intersection with the Alta Trail. The trails merge briefly; head right and then take your next left to follow the eastern side Congress Trail loop. There are a number of huge fire scarred sequoias near the junction and along this section of the path.

Follow the Congress Trail as it first descends and then climbs to the junction with the Sherman Tree. Other trees in the world are taller but in volume of wood the Sherman has no equal; it earns the title of the World's Largest Tree. Within the vicinity of the tree are a number of impressive sequoias that demand your attention. After admiring this massive tree and its neighbors, return to the junction with the Congress Trail.

Follow the wide paved Congress Trail as it ascends gently to the northeast and then swings south, descending on easy grades beneath towering sequoias scattered amid the pine forest. About a mile from the trailhead, you'll reach a junction. To the right is a short spur trail that enables hikers to shortcut the trail and head back to the Sherman Tree. Continue straight ahead. Soon the trail turns southeast and makes a short moderately steep ascent up the hillside, passing a series of striking sequoias along the way. At the junction with the Alta Trail, continue straight and continue on the Circle Meadow Loops.

Near the southern point of the Circle Meadow Loops, take a right on a short connector that links to the Washington Tree Trail. Head south (left) on the Washington Tree Trail and eventually you'll meet Crescent Meadow again. Head south down the western side of Crescent Meadow Trail Loop back to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Deer, woodpeckers, varmint, bears, several sequoia groves, and wildflowers.

Contacts

Shared By:

Dylan Payne

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 12 votes

#465

Overall
  4.8 from 12 votes
5 Star
92%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#81

in California

#465

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5,508 Since Dec 16, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

The Trees!
Jul 6, 2015 near Three R…, CA
MK with The Senate - Sequoia NP
Jan 20, 2016 near Three R…, CA
A couple of bears feeding in the meadow on the way to Tharp's Log. A short and family friendly hike in SNP
Sep 28, 2016 near Three R…, CA
Lots of great spots to stop while on this trail to take amazing photos of the Crescent Meadow!
Dec 17, 2015 near Three R…, CA
High Sierra vista, good spot for a break
Dec 11, 2017 near Three R…, CA
The beautiful (and short) Crescent Meadow Trail is surrounded by sequoia trees and is a nice, leisurely way to tour around the loop.
Dec 17, 2015 near Three R…, CA

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Check-Ins

Nov 17, 2019
Laurie S
Oct 20, 2019
Andrea Feliu
Sep 21, 2019
Tim M
Aug 31, 2019
Sean K
Jul 29, 2019
Joseph Haladyna
Jul 21, 2019
Ted Henson
Jul 20, 2019
Brittany Furnish
Jul 7, 2019
Jose Botran
7mi — 4h 00m