Snowshoeing from the Giant Forest Museum to Crescent Meadows in the Sequoia National Park
Distance: around 6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: around 550 feet
This trail takes you through the Giant Forest in the Sequoia National Park. You’ll hike past giant sequoia trees, the largest one is taller than a 26 story building! But it is rare for a sequoia tree to grow taller than 300 feet.
Did you know that sequoia trees are also the widest in the world and that their bark can grow up to 3 feet thick?! This tree also requires a very specific climate to grow and they only naturally grow in a 260 mile strip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains between 5,000 ft to 7,000 ft. These sequoia trees are also the world's largest living organism and keep growing for their entire lives!
That’s one pretty cool tree. Anyways, back to snowshoeing.
In the summer, this trail is a road, but in the winter, it’s unplowed which makes it the perfect trail to follow, and perfect for a beginner snowshoer or someone looking for a stroll through the woods.
The trail starts from the Giant Forest Museum, park across the road from the museum. Look for a road closed sign, that’s where the trail starts.
The first little bit of the trail is plowed, but you hike past the road closed sign and then you’ll see two gates where the road is unplowed. Start there. Walk around or hop over the gate, put on your snowshoes and get hiking.
Usually, in this section of the hike you’ll see other footprints maybe even backcountry skis. And although you can do this whole trail without snowshoes, I highly recommend having them and gaiters. The snowshoes will help prevent you from sinking into the snow and make it easier to walk in. Although your legs will be a bit sore afterward (you are adding a couple of pounds to your feet after all), it will still be easier than to not have snowshoes. And as for the gaiters, they will help prevent snow from getting into your shoes and making your feet wet. In the winter keeping your feet dry is so important, you don’t want hypothermia!
About 1.5 miles in, you’ll get to the tree tunnel. In the summer, you can drive through it. Most of the footprints will stop at the tree. But to get to Crescent Meadows, keep going. Go through the tunnel and keep walking.
It’s fairly easy to follow because the road is wide and it’s easy to see where it goes. Especially if you’re not carrying an InReach or other satellite map device, it can be very easy to get lost in the winter. Always carry a map. I carry my Garmin Explorer + InReach, but that isn’t required to hike this trail. If you don’t have an InReach, bring a Sequoia Kings Canyon Map.
At the tunnel, you’re about halfway there. Another 1.5 more miles to Crescent Meadows. At about 2.5 miles in, we stopped for a stretch. We started to really feel it in our legs and hips from the snowshoes.
Then you’ll see this sign! Congratulations you made it. If you’re looking to get to the High Sierra Sign, just keep going past this sign.
When I hiked this trail, it was foggy and visibility was getting low (safety first). But on a clear bluebird day, if you’re looking to add to the adventure, hike to Eagle View. It will add another 2 miles round trip to your hike, but it will open up to an expansive view of the Great Western Divide covered under a blanket of snow. When you reach the trailhead sign, hike to your right. This portion of the trail is also fairly level. This section is also the start of the High Sierra Trail!
I bought snowshoes and wore MSR Evo snowshoes. They were affordable and rated for rolling terrain.