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Sequoia National Park, CA 93262

Sequoia is the second oldest park in the national park system - only Yellowstone predates it. Most people come to see the Sequoia trees, which appear in several groves scattered throughout the park. The trees grow to a height in excess of 300 feet, second in height only to the Redwood trees of Northern California, but considerably larger in girth.

With a little research you learn that the Sequoia tree gets so large because it grows throughout its life and it's virtually impervious to disease. They only topple because of natural disasters, which explains how it's possible to have a tree like the General Sherman tree - a park highlight and said to be the oldest living thing in the world. The General Sherman tree is 36 feet in diameter at its base and you could put a 15-story building under its first branch.

The Sequoias are only at certain elevations in the park - generally between 5,000 and 7,000 feet. There are 75 groves in the park with most of the pictures taken in the "Giant Forest" at about 6,500 feet. Four of the world's five oldest trees are found in this grove and park bean counters - or should we say tree counters - say there are 10,657 trees in this five-square-mile grove.

There are numerous walks and hikes through the trees - a really spectacular opportunity to get up close and personal with these giant treasures. In addition to the Sequoias, there are Ponderosa pine, sugar pine, red fir and foxtail pine, all growing to greater than normal size because of the area's climate. If you like the Great Outdoors, there is no better place to marvel at Nature's beauty.

There are also numerous places to stop and enjoy the views from the park. The roads through Sequoia take you high into the Sierra Nevada range and, on a clear day, the views of nearby mountains, or even down into the San Joaquin Valley, are spectacular. The view from Moro Rock is said to be one of the best.

If you want to make a weekend of it, there are several places in the park, and at the edge of the park where you can spend the evening. There are eight lodging facilities in Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks, as well as several more in the nearby areas of Three Rivers and Lemon Cove.

Several campgrounds in the park offer spaces for RV camping, although some are more primitive and allow only tents. If you're bringing an RV, travel on the park roadways can be a little harrowing at times because roads are steep and narrow in some spots.

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