Cresent Medow Rd ends with the loop that leads us to the Moro Rock trailhead parking. Before we reach Moro Rock, we stop at the small 3-4 car pullout. This is the beginning of the micro trail to Hanging Rock. Several hundreds meters uphill and we arrive at the granite ridge with a giant boulder and a fantastic view at the valley below. On the way to Hanging Rock we enjoy a wonderful panorama of Moro Rock.
Our next stop is Moro Rock. This a giant granite monolith dominating the entire park. The trail leading to the top is short (0,9 km) but steep. It takes 100 m of elevation change and climbing 350 steps built in the thirties by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In some places steps are one man wide so you must be careful passing others. There are handrails along the trail but kids must be watched. Moro Rock offers a beautiful view at Great Western Divide, unfortunately a little spoiled with layers of smog from Los Angeles.
Moro Rock loop drive is not accessible for private cars from the end of May till the end September, on weekends and holidays. Free shuttle service is provided instead.
We return to Cresent Medow Rd and reach Tunnel Log. Tunel Log is a fallen sequoia with the hole that allows cars to drive through. This sequoia failed in 1937 and tunnel is one of the main attractions of the park. Picture of your vehicle passing through the Tunnel Log is a must have souvenir from the park.
We depart from sequoias heading to Tharps Log. There is a spacious parking lot at the end of Cresent Meadows Rd, that is a trailhead for 2,5km hike. Tharps Log is a summer cabin built by the rancher named Tharp in the drilled fallen sequoia. This trail is worth your time, because it crosses through extremely charming Cresent Meadow, where bears can be frequently met. Walking along the trail we can see the Cleveland Tree, 34th by height sequoia in the world and Chimney Tree, a giant sequoia with the trunk’s interior burned by the fire. On the way back trail takes you to Log Meadow, another flowered meadow frequently visited by bears. Your trip can be extended, if you decide to hike High Sierra Trail and Trail of Sequoias.
We return to Generals Highway. Now it’s a time to visit Giant Forrest Museum to learn more about sequoias. The sizable parking can be found on the other side of the road. At the front of the museum grows one of the most beautiful trees in the park – The Sentinel. Don’t miss it.
Big Tress Trail begins here. This is a short, only a few kilometer, walk around Round Meadow hosting a few spectacular sequoia specimens.
Two more nice trails await us on the other side of the road. Beetle Rock and Sunset Rock. Both trails take you to the top of the granite copulas with exceptional valley views in the Yosemite like climate. First is 0,4 km, the second 3,2km long. It is worth to take at least the shorter one.
General Sherman Tree
It’s a time for the greatest attraction in the park – General Sherman Tree. General Sherman is the biggest tree in the world as well as the biggest living organism in the world as far as volume is concerned. It is assumed that it is 2100 years old, but some people claim that much more. General Sherman is 84 m high, what is not that much, taking into account that the highest in the world Hyperion is 115,61m high. Its location is confidential. It is only confirmed, that it grows somewhere in the park. Sherman’s circuit is 31,3 m its weight is truly impressive – the tree weights 1200-1300t. The tree still grows. It can be reached by a moderately steep 1,5 km trail. Taking a picture with Sherman requires waiting in the queue. Crowds are all around and waiting time of 20 minutes is not unusual.
Near General Sherman the Congress Trail begins, leading to the biggest sequoias in the park. The trail is 3,2 km long. We can see here Washington Tree, until 2005 the second largest tree in the world. In 2003 it lost a part of the upper branches of the tree and in 2005 it broke under the weight of snow and from the second largest tree in the world it turned into a small leftover. The trails takes you to President Tree (fourth largest sequoia) and Lincoln Tree (fifth largest sequoia). This walk can take around one hour.
Tokopah Falls Trail
We keep moving along Generals Highway towards Grand Grove. The next nice hiking idea is Tokopah Falls Trail. The trail starts at Lodgepole campground just behind Marble Fork bridge and is 2,7 km long one way. It takes us to the beautiful flowing cascades of Tokopah Falls. The entire cascade is 366 meters long. The surrounding area is occupied by the gang of marmots chasing visitors for food, but nicely posing to pictures. The first part of the trail goes through the forest and the second among granite cliffs. We visited the falls during the very dry summer and there was not much water, but usually the water cascade is truly impressive.