The Giant Forest & Museum
Hiking through Giant Forest is easily the best way to see the impressive sights that make Sequoia such a unique place. Trails range from short and easy paved hikes to multi-day backpacking treks through the High Sierra.
Like no other place on Earth, the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park is alive with mystery and wonder. We see it all the time – people think they know what to expect here. They come for the massive trees, but just as often, they leave with something much, much bigger.
The Giant Forest
At the heart of the park, in the shade of towering sequoias and redwood groves, the Giant Forest is home to half of the Earth’s largest and longest-living trees. Named in 1875 by John Muir, the forest is a stand of more than 8,000 colossal sequoia trees – many standing just as Muir found them.
The Largest Tree on Earth
The undisputed King of the Forest, the General Sherman tree is not only the largest living tree in the world, but the largest living organism, by volume, on the planet. A giant sequoia (sequoiadendron giganteum), General Sherman is:
- ~ 2,100 years old
- ~ 2.7 million pounds
- ~ 275 feet tall
- ~ 100 feet wide at its trunk
The Giant Forest Museum
One of the best ways to get to know the Giant Forest and its trees is to visit the Giant Forest Museum. Visitors flock to this park institution to:
- Learn how to identify trees.
- Discover the difference between California coastal redwoods and giant sequoias.
- Explore the ecology and natural history of the park through interactive exhibits.
- Take an educational nature walk on one of the park’s many interpretive forest trails leading out from the museum.
Hours of Operation:
Open daily during the summer months
About one hour north of the park’s Ash Mountain Entrance
Built in 1928, the historic museum building served as Sequoia National Park’s original market, and was designed by renowned architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood (The Ahwahnee® - Yosemite National Park; Grand Canyon Lodge® - North Rim).
Redwoods or Sequoias - what's the difference?
To many, redwoods and sequoias mean the same thing, but even a quick trip to the Giant Forest Museum will help you realize how different they really are. While they are members of the same family, redwoods and sequoias are actually different species, and distinct in many interesting and fascinating ways!