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California Sequoia National Park
California Sequoia National Park - Lodgepole Campground is at an elevation of 6700 feet. It is a few miles north of the Giant Forest in the Tokopah Canyon along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River. Lodgepole offers the largest campground in the Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park area with a visitor center that offers wilderness permits. There is a post office, laundry facilities, pay showers, and pay telephones as well as a market and gift shop, a small grill restaurant, and a deli. The new shuttle service from the Lodgepole Visitor Center market and campground has stops at Wuksachi Lodge, the Sherman Tree Trail, Giant Forest Museum, as well as the Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow trailheads.
Above: Picture of Jason and Ben standing in front of almost 3,000 year old General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park in the eastern part of California. You will find The General Sherman tree growing in the Giant Forest. Five out of the ten largest trees in the world are located in the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park.
The Giant Forest was named by John Muir, explorer and conservationist. The Giant Forest is comprised of its sequoia grove and meadows. The world's largest tree, General Sherman, is part of the Giant Forest. Standing in front of this gargantuan sequoia getting your picture taken is tradition and everybody participates. Congress Trail is a two mile paved walk with an elevation gain of only 200 feet looping through the heart of the Giant Forest Grove.
Above: Picture of deer peaking around some rocks and trees. We saw this guy while on a short hike around to Tharp's Log.
Above: Sequoias are fast growers with a long lifespan, more than thousands of years old most of them.
Above: Picture taken while hiking the High Sierra Trail.
Driving Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road to their respective trailheads you can drive through Tunnel Log, a fallen sequoia that was tunneled through. There is also a shuttle that travels the 3-mile, dead-end road to the trailheads. This road is extremely narrow and windy. When it is time to pass an oncoming vehicle backing up to a pull out or maybe even further might be necessary. We highly suggest taking the shuttle to these trailheads during the shuttle season.
On the edge of Crescent Meadow sits Tharp's Log, the park's oldest cabin. This noble den was built from a fallen, fire-hollowed sequoia log in the 1860s. John Muir called Crescent Meadow the "gem of the Sierra". It is an open grassy area and the hike around the meadow takes about an hour. Keep your eyes and ears out for the locals such as rattlesnake and deer.
Above: Picture of Tharp's Log which is a fallen and hollowed out giant sequoia tree. Hale Tharp is described as the first non-native american to set foot in the Giant Forest in 1852.
Jason's thoughts - Our sons favorite campground this trip, offering big camping spots, many bathrooms, nice elevation changes, and close to the river (50 feet in some cases). Big antlered deer walked through the camp during the early evening, bear were sited, and showers are available for $3.50 for 8 minutes with men and women shower areas being combined with men and women bathrooms so no husband/wife sharing like we like to do. Plenty of firewood on the ground here.
Kelly's thoughts - Lodgepole was a nice break for coffee and showers. Other than that I prefer the more remote areas of camping. Across from our campsite there were some guys that left their car headlights on for hours and hours during the middle of the night. As well, some people were packing up and leaving at 6:00 a.m. and those bear boxes are loud opening and closing the doors. Walking around Crescent Meadow was quiet, relaxing, and cool. I kept thinking I was going to see a bear sitting in the meadow eating berries or something. This is because of the first time I saw a bear in the wild (Yellowstone National Park in 1978). Nope, just a couple of deer and a rattlesnake that was mad as heck, coiled and rattling.
Travel Info - Lodgepole does have some oversize parking at the visitor center and in their overflow parking lot. There is a two-hour shuttle ride from the city of Visalia to Giant Forest for a fee. Location of Sequoia National Park. Click for more camping and hiking information of Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park.
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