California Travel Articles
Grant Grove houses the General Grant Tree, which is the Nation's Christmas Tree and our only living national shrine, commemorating those Americans who lost their lives in war. This giant sequoia and its neighbors were initially protected in the 4 square-mile General Grant National Park; General Grant and Yosemite were created by the same legislation on October 1, 1890, one week after Sequoia was established. In 1940, General Grant was absorbed into the newly designated Kings Canyon National Park. Big Stump Basin was added in 1958 and allows visitors in the Grant Grove area to compare the remnants of destroyed sequoias with nearby giants.
- General Grant Tree:
The General Grant is the third largest tree in the world and the Nation's Christmas Tree. It has been designated a National Shrine, the only living memorial to Americans who died in war. Signs describe many of the features along this 1/3 mile, paved trail, including the historic Gamlin Cabin and the Fallen Monarch. You may also buy a more detailed trail booklet at the trailhead or visitor center book store. The trail begins 1 mile northwest of the visitor center.
Big Stump Basin:
Imagine yourself in a noisy, bustling logging camp as you ponder huge sequoia stumps and other remains of Smith Comstock's lumbering operation. As you walk this 1-mile loop through regenerating sequoia forest, shrubland and meadow, watch for birds and wildflowers. An alternate trail leads across the highway and past the Sawed Tree, a sequoia that survived being cut most of the way through over a century ago. Big Stump Basin is located 2 1/2 miles southwest of the visitor center on Hwy. 180.
Treat yourself to a spectacular vista of the high Sierra. Identify peaks from Mt. Goddard in northern Kings Canyon Park to Eagle Scout Peak in Sequoia Park. Mt. Whitney cannot be viewed from the roads on the west side of the Sierra due to the height of the Great Western Divide. The 2.3 mile road to Panoramic Point is not recommended for trailers and RV's. The viewpoint is a 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot. This road is closed to vehicle traffic in the winter, when it is available as a cross-country ski route.
Hume Lake was built as a mill pond, and to supply water for a flume that floated rough-cut sequoia lumber from Converse Basin to the planing mill at Sanger, 54 miles away. The lake is in Sequoia National Forest. During the summer, it offers fishing, swimming, boat rental (available through Hume Lake Christian Camps) and a Forest Service campground, as well as gas, groceries and a small laundry. Hume Lake is 12 miles north of Grant Grove.
North Grove Loop:
This lightly traveled, 1 1/2 mile trail provides an opportunity for a close look at the big trees. Enjoy a quiet walk past meadows and creeks, through mixed conifer and sequoia forest. The trailhead is at the Grant Tree parking area, 1 mile northwest of the visitor center.
Sequoia Lake Overlook/Dead Giant Loop:
The Dead Giant is an unusually large sequoia which shows signs of man-caused death. If you look closely, you will find axe marks girdling the tree, severing the cambium layer. With this living layer cut, nutrients could no longer move up the tree and the giant died. Also along this trail, you can enjoy a picturesque view of a historic mill pond and reflect on the differences between management of National Forest and National Park land. This 2.2 mile trail begins at the lower end of the Grant Tree parking area.
Sequoia Lake is a private lake; no public fishing or swimming is available. Hume Lake is the closest lake to Grant Grove for fishing and swimming.
Buena Vista Peak:
The 2 mile round-trip hike up this granite peak begins just south of the Kings Canyon Overlook on the Generals Highway, 6 miles southeast of Grant Grove. From the top of Buena Vista Peak, a 360-degree view looks out over the majestic sequoias in Redwood Canyon, Buck Rock Fire Tower, and beyond to a splendid panorama of the high Sierra.
Redwood Canyon is one of the largest of all sequoia groves, and contains the Hart Tree, one of the 20 largest sequoias. Sixteen miles of trail are available for short walks, day hikes and overnight backpacking trips. As you hike through sequoia/mixed conifer forest, meadow and shrubland, you will see sign of many fires, some recent, some ancient. The National Park Service and cooperating universities learned through observation and experiment at Redwood Canyon that fire is a critical factor in the health and vigor of sequoia forests. Beginning in 1969, prescribed fires have burned portions of this forest to allow giant sequoias to reproduce, to reduce fuel and to restore the forest to the condition it was 100 years ago. The trailhead for this area is 2 miles down a rough dirt road 5 miles south of Grant Grove. This road is closed to vehicle traffic in the winter.
This was the world's largest sequoia grove, until virtually every mature tree was cut down early in the 1900's. The Boole Tree was spared, along with a few other less accessible giants. Boole is the world's eighth largest sequoia. Converse Basin also contains the Muir Snag, the oldest known giant sequoia. This tree, which was over 3000 years old when it died, was discovered by and named for John Muir. Converse Basin is accessible by a graded dirt road off Highway 180, 6 miles north of Grant Grove. A 2-mile round trip loop trail leads to the Boole Tree from a parking area at the end of the road.
Information provided by:
National Park Service