5 Things You Should Know before Visiting Sequoia National Park

A few words (tips and all) on what you should know before visiting Sequoia National Park

Last updated: May 10, 2024

Visit Sequoia National Park | Roads and Destinations
Things you should know before visiting Sequoia National Park

5 Things You Should Know before Visiting Sequoia National Park

Located in the heart of California, Sequoia National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the state. Known for its giant sequoia trees and stunning views, the park has been attracting visitors from all over the world for over a century. Thousands of people visit this UNESCO biosphere reserve to admire its incredible scenery, have epic camping experiences, or spend time with their loved ones in nature.

Yet in order to have the best trip possible, you need to learn a few things about Sequoia National Park and its rocky hikes, get informed on what to pack and what to do and not to do. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should know before visiting Sequoia National Park.


1. Start Your Visit to Sequoia National Park Early

Whether you plan to embark on an exciting, week-long camping adventure or explore Sequoia National Park over the weekend, make sure to arrive early in the morning. First, you avoid traffic on your way to the park. Second, an early visit enables you to explore the place without crowds that start appearing around noon. Third, you need to be prepared for a long drive (or short, depending where you are driving from) not only to the park, but also inside it.

Owing to extreme elevations and narrow winding roads, the drive from the base of the mountains (entrance to Sequoia National Park) to the top where most of the sites are located can take up to an hour or longer. So on average you lose 2 hours on the road (1 hour driving up and 1 hour driving down).

Starting your visit to Sequoia National Park early in the morning gives you a few advantages: less time stuck in the traffic on the way up and more time exploring the area in depth without crowds. It’s certainly one of the first things you should strive for when visiting Sequoia National Park, especially if it’s your first time.

Where to Stay in Sequoia and Kings Canyon - Roads and Destinations
Arrive early | Things to know before visiting Sequoia National Park

2. Do Your Research Prior to Visiting Sequoia National Park

With so many beautiful places and things to do, Sequoia National Park is not the place you can explore in one or two days. A thorough research will narrow down your options and help you get the most out of your trip.

Before visiting Sequoia National Park, make a list of places you want to visit and activities you want to do. Moreover, check for potential road closures and weather forecasts. Due to seasonal constructions and deep California snow during the winter season, some of the roads and park facilities can be closed.

Visit Sequoia National Park | Roads and Destinations
Do your research | Things to know before visiting Sequoia National Park

3. Get a Hard Copy Map

The third most important thing to know before visiting Sequoia National Park is technical or rather non-technical and non-wireless. We’re so used to relying on Google Maps or Apple Maps when traveling to a new place. A hard copy map hardly ever makes it into our backpacks nowadays.

In Sequoia National Park at the elevation of 7,000 feet, the Internet connection is very unreliable, though. A good old hard copy map that you can get at the entrance to the national park comes in handy. Don’t throw it away right away. Without wasting your time by making you run from one spot to another in an attempt to get at least one bar on your phone, this “antique GPS” along with some road signs takes you to your destination in an old-fashioned manner.

Visit Sequoia National Park, Outdoor Adventures in California - Roads and Destinations | Roads and Destinations
Get a map | Things to know before visiting Sequoia National Park

4. Pack Your Food 

Although Sequoia National Park is a big mountainous area with a variety of accommodation options such as historic lodges, camping grounds, nearby towns, it doesn’t cease to surprise with its relatively large dining choices. From lodge dining rooms to counter service cafes, the park won’t let you starve yourself.

You can enjoy a big breakfast buffet, hot soups, and exclusive sandwiches at the Peaks Restaurant in Wuksachi Lodge even when you hike in the forest. Yet in my opinion, a picnic in nature outweighs all other options and enhances your Sequoia National Park experience tenfold.

Just remember to pack your food (takeout option can also work) and bring it with you when visiting Sequoia National Park. Once in the park find a spot with the most scenic view and enjoy your lunch surrounded by giant sequoias and mountains.

TIP: Use bear resistant food containers and never leave any food or trash behind. Sequoia National Park is home to black bears. Keeping the animals away from human food is not only a sure way to protect yourself from the bears in the wild, but also to keep the beasts from being shot or removed from the park.

Hiking Moro Rock - Roads and Destinations
Pack your food | Things to know before visiting Sequoia National Park

5. Keep Yourself Warm

Due to the high elevation, the weather conditions change drastically between different areas of Sequoia National Park. The higher you go, the colder it gets. If you’re planning to go all the way to the top of the mountains, make sure to bring extra layers. You enjoy your visit to Sequoia National Park more when you don’t need to think about how cold you are.

Visit Sequoia National Park | Roads and Destinations
Dress according to the weather | Things to know before visiting Sequoia National Park

Final Thoughts on Visiting Sequoia National Park

A visit to Sequoia National Park is quite an experience. It’s an adventure designed to be shared with others while enjoying the beauty of the place. Without proper planning, however, this trip can turn into a complete disaster. Before setting off on a journey, try to use these 5 tips to help you avoid disappointments and enhance your positive experiences in Sequoia National Park.


  1. Lisa Schwarz
    December 22, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    I just went to LA and have never heard about this one, damn… :/

    • Zhanna
      December 24, 2017 / 11:20 am

      It’s 3 hours drive from Los Angeles. Hopefully, you can make it next time 🙂

  2. Federica Di Nardo
    December 23, 2017 / 7:00 am

    This place *_*


    • Zhanna
      December 24, 2017 / 11:17 am

      Indeed 🙂

  3. Agness of eTramping
    December 23, 2017 / 7:19 am

    This national park seems so charming and exceptional, Zhanna. Excellent and very practical tips!

    • Zhanna
      December 24, 2017 / 11:16 am

      It is really beautiful. Thank you, Agness!

  4. Len Parent
    December 23, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    These photos are BEAUTIFUL! Merry Christmas girl!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Much love, Len


    • Zhanna
      December 24, 2017 / 11:15 am

      Thank you, Len! Merry Christmas!

  5. Susie @ Mile High Dreamers
    December 26, 2017 / 4:19 pm

    These are all great tips! Starting your day early is SO key to having a great day. You end up missing all the crowds and feel like you’ve got so much space to yourself. Also, packing your own picnic is great too! You’ve got us itching to get outside (but we’ll probably wait until it’s above 8 degrees here haha).

    • Zhanna
      December 28, 2017 / 7:12 am

      Hehe, definitely Susie!

  6. Katya
    December 30, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    There are a thousand of places worth visiting in Cali. I totally agree with all of this. Most especially planning early, you have to be ahead of the game to enjoy it.

    • Zhanna
      January 5, 2018 / 8:42 am

      Ahead of the game is definitely where you want to be, Katya. 🙂

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