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Camping in Sequoia National Park

In June, Andrew and I joined our good friend Shannon, her sister, and nephew on a weekend camping trip in Sequoia National Park. I hadn't been to the park since I was little, and didn't really remember it at all. Honestly, we had been so busy, I was so worn out and wasn't overly excited for another weekend away. But we ended up having the best time! The park was beautiful, and we were able to fit in a couple amazing hikes in our short amount of time there. We definitely made the most of the short trip. 

The upper campgrounds were full, so we stayed at the Potwisha Campground, which is much lower at only 2,100 feet elevation. Each day we drove up further into the park where the majority of the sights are. The campground was really nice, and although it was about a 45 minute drive up into the park, it wasn't too bad. Although, next time I definitely want to stay at Lodgepole.

On Saturday morning, we were up early for breakfast and then started our drive up to see the Giant Sequoias. We decided to start our day with General Sherman, the largest known living tree in the world. It was massive! As were were leaving, there were loads of tour buses, so I was glad we got there early. As we were walking on the paths near General Sherman, we met a really nice man who actually lives in San Francisco. He told us about his favorite hike in the park, and we chatted a bit before heading our separate ways. We were thankful to have met him, because we ended up doing the hike he recommended on Sunday, but more on that in a minute. 

After checking out the "big tree," Shannon's sister and nephew heading back to camp for nap time, while Shannon, Andrew and I went for a hike! At the recommendation of my Dad, we decided to hike to Heather Lake. The trail head was near General Sherman and it was an "easy 6 mile hike." Famous last words, Dad! 

Well, the "easy" hike was actually straight up for a nearly 2,000 feet elevation gain...and it was over 8 miles! But, it was beautiful! We all really enjoyed the hike, it was a nice trail and very scenic. After about 3 miles, we came to the most breathtaking view. It's called The Watchtower, and is quite amazing. Next time we visit the park, I hope to walk up the river from Lodgepole campground and get a good view from below. Andrew was dancing around on the edge like it was no big deal and I had a minor panic attack and had to eat my lunch about 5 feet away. I don't do well with cliffs/drop offs, which is surprising considering my hiking/climbing background. Anyway, after stopping for lunch and taking a few photos, we continued on. 

Check out this photo from my friend Kasey for the opposite view! This is down on those rocks by the river! Too bad we weren't there at the same time, just a couple weeks off! 
I took this picture because it reminded me of this photo from Pinterest!

Andrew has to swim when given the opportunity! Someday, I'll figure out how to add a gif to this blog, but for now, I'll just tell you that I made a fun one of him doing back flips off a rock in the middle of the lake! But alas, I can't upload it! 

The long drive back down to camp!
Sunday morning we were up early again and packed up our camp. Andrew and I decided to go our own way and do a longer hike before heading back towards San Francisco. After talking to the man we met Saturday, we decided we'd go ahead and do the hike he recommended on the High Sierra Trail from Crescent Meadow. As we were driving up into the main area of the park, we saw a group of people looking into a meadow, so we of course stopped to check it out. And there was a bear! So cool, we were able to stand and watch him for about 10 minutes. I didn't think I'd have time to switch to my zoom lens, but I still got a couple great pictures. It was pretty perfect to have the Giant Sequoia tree in the background. 

Mr. Bear

After checking out the bear and hugging a few trees, we hopped on the shuttle to get to Crescent Meadow (on weekends during the summer you can't drive there). Once we arrive to Crescent Meadow, we got started on the High Sierra Trail. After about a half mile, the trail opens up and you have the most stunning view of the mountains to the east, including Mt. Whitney, Triple Divide, Black Kaweah and Table Mountain to name a few. The view was amazing, best hiking views outside Yosemite that we've seen.  

We really enjoyed this hike, and we so happy our new San Francisco friend recommended it. It was just an out and back, relatively easy hike, but the views were just stunning. And we were lucky to be there when the wildflowers were in full bloom. I took so many pictures, I couldn't help myself. We'd like to plan a backpacking trip in this area next year, one of many backpacking trips hopefully. 

You can see Mt. Whitney, 60 miles in the distance! 
Alta Peak
We passed a couple on the trail who had just seen a bear with her two cubs in the meadow, but by the time we got back they were gone. 
A picture to show the scale of the Giant Sequoias compared to your average tree. 
The ground was carpeted with these pink wildflowers, it was amazing! 


  1. Such pretty pictures!! Looks like a great weekend. It gives me the bug to go hiking soon!

  2. Geez...I get jealous every time I read about your mountain adventures. I can almost smell the trees through the screen.
    Summertime there is just dreamy. When we visited Sequoia we stayed at a small in on the river that required that hike up the mountain and into the park each day too.
    I'm with you, would be nice to camp on the mountain, but I bet it's quite an ordeal to get a site booked. Probably a year in advance.

  3. oh that is just gorgeous! What a wonderful way to spend even a short weekend trip. I've never been that far west, but I think it would be such a sight to see the giants.

  4. These photos are stunning!! Looks like such a beautiful trip.

  5. I still can't believe that we were in the same place just a few weeks apart!
    Love all of your photos! And it's so neat to see your view looking down at the waterfall/river.
    I need to write down the hikes that you did as well. The only hike we did was to the it would be nice to do some different hikes the next time Sam's family goes up there.


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