National Park Landmarks
From Tharp's Log to Native American pictographs, historical sights and attractions are everywhere in Sequoia National Park.
America’s second oldest National Park, Sequoia represents a rich history that tells the story of a timeless landscape, and the people who helped preserve it.
Western Mono Native Americans settled parts of Sequoia seasonally, traveling over the mountains on trade routes and leaving evidence of their passage in pictographs and cultural objects found throughout the park today.
In the 1860s, European settlers, like Hale Tharp, arrived. Ranching cattle in the meadows, Tharp hollowed a cabin from a fallen sequoia in the Giant Forest. The oldest park structure open to visitors, Tharp’s Cabin is one mile northeast of Crescent Meadow.
Naturalist John Muir helped popularize the park’s ecological significance, and the Giant Forest was incorporated into a National Park in 1890. Additional portions of the Sierras have since been annexed, giving the park its present size of 404,063 acres.
Historic Trees in Sequoia
Ancient and awe-inspiring, trees are the roots of the park’s history. To give early visitors a sense of how large the giant sequoias are, a roadway was cut into a giant tree called Auto Log, which pedestrians can explore today. Nearby Tunnel Log was hollowed out to allow vehicles through – perhaps the only place you can drive through a giant sequoia tree! Both are a few miles from the General's Highway via the Crescent Meadow road.
A stroll in Grant Grove tells the history of the Sequoias, including Kings Canyon's famous General Grant Tree. Interpretive signs along the trails are packed with fascinating details and park history.
The iconic landscape of the High Sierra was shaped by a subduction zone that forced deep volcanic rock above the Earth’s crust, forming the signature granite peaks we know today.
We see the remnants of this process in granitic combinations of quartz, feldspar, and mica striated through the faces of Moro Rock and others like it across the park. This process also resulted in cave formations found underneath Sequoia, like Crystal Cave, where you can explore these powerful geologic forces up close.