Sequoia National Park is one of the top national parks in the country to visit with kids. The giant trees make it an enchanting place, even for the most well-traveled adults. Pair the park’s mammoth sequoias with its lovely California summer weather, clear night skies, easy paved hikes, and numerous creeks and rivers, and it’s a difficult destination to top for families. Hiking, fishing, stargazing, bouldering, and swimming are just some of the popular things to do in Sequoia National Park with kids.
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There are plenty of family-friendly places to stay in Sequoia for every budget and style. So whether you want to rough it outdoors in a tent, kick back in a rustic cabin, or settle into a beautiful lodge, there’s a perfect place to spend the night. This Sequoia Lodging Guide covers every single lodging option inside the national park and categorizes lodging by area.
Without further ado, here are some of the very best things to do in Sequoia National Park with kids.
Popular Things to Do in Sequoia National Park with Kids
1. The Giant Forest Museum
Kids are curious, and The Giant Forest Museum is a great place to start your visit to provide context to what they will soon be exploring. Kids will learn about the trees, how Sequoia became a national park, and why protecting the giant sequoias is essential.
They’ll also learn about the human history of the area. Their favorite part of this attraction will undoubtedly be the interpretive trails that run from the museum to Round Meadow and Hazelwood.
2. The General Sherman Tree
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss when exploring Sequoia National Park with kids, it’s the General Sherman Tree. Of all the trees in the world, it’s the largest by volume and one of the oldest.
Named after American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, this giant is 275 feet tall (84 meters) and over 2,000 years old. It’s easy to get to, awe-inspiring to look at, and the best example to show kids just how spectacular these trees really are!
3. General Grant Tree
If seeing the General Sherman Tree sparks an interest in seeing more enormous Sequoia trees, don’t miss the second largest tree in the world, the General Grant Tree.
At 267 feet tall (81.5 meters) and around 1,600 years old, this tree is named after Ulysses S. Grant and is found in the Grant Grove area of adjacent Kings Canyon National Park.
4. Crystal Cave
Crystal Cave is another can’t-miss thing to do in Sequoia National Park with kids. The only way to visit is via a guided tour led by a Park Ranger who knows their way around the fragile environment. Inside this marble cavern, you’ll walk a half-mile loop where you’ll see impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and underground streams.
Note: Crystal Cave is currently closed due to road damage caused by the KNP Complex Fire. According to the National Park Service website, It should re-open in 2023.
5. Hospital Rock
Hospital Rock is both a fascinating geological feature and a working archaeological site. You can find this colossal quartzite rock just off the Generals Highway.
Archaeological work done in the area has unearthed evidence of human activity dating back to 1350 A.D. We now know that this site was once a thriving Native American community.
On-site, there’s a little trail that leads to a scenic waterfall, exhibits portraying what life was like in the area in ancient times, and a lovely picnic area.
However, the thing that most intrigues the kids will likely be the old Native American rock paintings covering the large rock walls. Of course, they learned about human history at the museum, but kids can immerse themselves in living history at Hospital Rock and get a good idea of what it would have been like to live in that village so long ago.
6. Drive through Tunnel Log
Tunnel Log is one of the most famous attractions in Sequoia National Park, and kids understandably love being able to drive through a fallen sequoia tree. Just be forewarned that for large vehicles, it’s a tight fit! Walking or driving through gives scale to how big these trees truly are.
7. Tunnel Rock
Unlike Tunnel Log, you can’t drive through Tunnel Rock anymore (though you once could!), but it provides some great photo ops!
Situated along the Generals Highway, this iconic attraction is another favorite with kids. It’s essentially a large granite boulder that fell to create a tunnel over the Generals Highway until the road was rerouted in the 1990s.
Where to Hike in Sequoia National Park with Kids
8. Big Trees Trail
The Big Trees Trail is less than a mile return, well-maintained, and easy to navigate. It’s the perfect trail to get kids used to hiking.
The path sits along the Generals Highway and passes under a canopy of giant sequoias next to a beautiful meadow. Along the way, you’ll find benches and interpretive panels describing various natural aspects of the area.
9. Moro Rock
Moro Rock can be a relatively strenuous trail for little legs, but it’s fairly short, and if you mention the 350+-step staircase leading to the top, it usually piques excitement. There are handrails lining the path to the top, but young children should still be closely supervised given the steep dropoffs on either side.
From Moro Rock, the views are spectacular. You can see canyon, river, valley, and much of the national park below.
10. Crescent Meadow Loop
The Crescent Meadow Loop is another easy trail perfect for all ages. The main attraction for kids along this trail is the hollowed giant Sequoia known as Tharp’s Log that they can enter. Once used as a shelter, today, it makes for a fun discovery.
As you make your way along the path, you’ll enjoy the beautiful scenery and have the opportunity to enjoy a mid-hike lunch or picnic. In the early morning, you can often spot deer and bears in the meadow.
11. Tokopah Falls Trail
A trip to Tokopah Falls is sure to be a highlight of a family trip to Sequoia, and one of the best things about the experience is the easy 4-mile roundtrip trail with minimal incline.
The route departs from Lodgepole Campground and features stunning scenery along a river with granite cliffs, alpine meadows, and pine forest. It ends at a flat area near the impressive falls. At 1,200 feet (366 meters), Tokopah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Sequoia National Park.
12. Congress Loop Trail
The Congress Loop Trail is another short and easy hiking trail that is perfect for doing with kids. Along this trail, you’ll pass areas full of more giant sequoias and ultimately reach a contrasting area of barren hillside.
It’s only 2.7 miles long and is a great place to take a relaxing stroll through a pristine natural area where you’ll have the chance to see some wildlife and spot many species of birds.
From Sequoia National Park to Yosemite
In conjunction with visiting Sequoia, many families also tack on a visit to neighboring Yosemite National Park. If this is your plan, this Yosemite Lodging Guide highlights various accommodation options inside and outside the park.
About the author: Jenna is the founder of Up and Away Magazine, where she curates road trip itineraries and lodging guides to America’s most beautiful outdoor spaces. Up and Away Magazine aims to inspire others to opt outside in a way that is practical, accessible, and suitable for all budgets. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys hiking, climbing, and backpacking.