Sequoia National Park: Forest Bathing At Its Finest
Have you heard the term shinrin-yoku? It means “forest bathing” or “to take in the forest atmosphere” and it was developed in Japan in the 1980s as a preventative form of health care. There’s now robust scientific literature from Japan and South Korea on the health benefits of this practice, and it resonates with me so much. Spending time in the trees is always so humbling and calming; it feels a lot like coming home to myself. While I’m dying to forest bathe in Japan, we’ve got our own gem here in southern California - Sequoia National Park.
Sequoia is home to some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world, and offers 800 miles of protected hiking trails to take it all in. Fall is the best time to visit, but most attractions are open May - October. I went at the end of April and we experienced extremely thick fog the whole time, which was cool in its own way, but I’d go more toward summer to have a better chance at clear skies and warmer weather.
Start planning your road trip with these 3 incredible ways to take in the beauty of Sequoia National Forest + details on the super cute lodge we stayed at in Three Rivers!
General Sherman Tree In Giant Forest
If you came to Sequoia to see the huge trees, you may as well start in Giant Forest. Just as the name sounds, this is the area in the park that is most dense with sequoias and redwoods, and home to the largest living tree (by volume), General Sherman.
Touching the tree is not permitted, and more than likely if you go on a weekend there will be a mass of crowds and probably even a guided talk through the forest.
We listened in on said tour long enough to learn about the fire scars at the trunk of some of the trees, and decided to venture off on a random trail to meditate inside of a tree away from the crowds. It was such a beautiful experience to literally be in the earth’s grounding energy and ancient wisdom.
Visit A Cavern
(Images by Local Adventurer)
The geology of the this part of the Sierras is vast, rugged and diverse, but some of the best treasures are hidden underground! There’s a few cavern systems to tour in the summer months in Sequoia National Park. Check out Crystal Cave, an underground attraction with naturally polished marble and ornate stalactites (the icicle looking rocks hanging from the ceiling!) Purchase tickets ahead of time here.
Or if you’re looking for a more adventurous way to experience a cavern in the middle of the woods, check out the privately owned Boyden Cavern (10/10 will be going back for this). They offer canyoneering and rappelling tours!
Take In The View At Moro Rock
Moro Rock is a large granite protrusion that rises above the park and offers uninterrupted panorama views as far as the eye can see.
The “trail” there is short but steep - a quarter mile and 350 steps up to the top. Along the walk you’ll see deep canyons formed by rivers, the huge granites signature of the Sierra Nevada and of course the bed of tall sequoias and redwoods.
One of the highlights of our trip to Sequoia was the cute lodge we stayed at in Three Rivers, just outside the park entrance. We were able to bring our pups, and it opened right onto a beautiful part of the river, where we spent our mornings drinking coffee and pulling tarot cards.
The space offers 12 rooms that accommodate varying group sizes, and the rooms are clean, spacious and equipped with everything you need for coffee + a delicious breakfast basket with muffins & fruit before a full day of adventuring.
Taking a long California Road Trip? Check out some nearby hidden gems on Route 395!