Hike-in Required
ADA accessible
Guided tours
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The largest living thing on earth, this giant sequoia is so enormous that it is almost a challenge to perceive. Consider the branches: the largest branch on this tree has a diameter of 6.8 feet, which is larger than many mature conifers. This fact may not be evident at first because of perspective and distance, however. General Sherman's lowest branch sits at a lofty 130 feet, so things like branch diameters can be hard to estimate. Likewise, the magnitude of the base defies estimation. The facts may tell you that the tree's circumference at the ground is 102 feet, but your mind will simply register that it is gargantuan. General Sherman isn't the oldest; it is estimated to be around 2,000 years old, which maybe isn't much to Methuselah, a 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine. And at nearly 275 feet tall, General Sherman would still be looking up at the 379-foot coast redwood known as Hyperion. Yet there is no tree on earth that can match General Sherman's volume of 52,500 cubic feet.

Stop in and appreciate one of earth's wonders, and you won't regret it. This excellent visitor area has plenty of information about the tree, the species, and the surrounding habitat to help you put the experience in context. A network of paved trails including designated ADA-accessible trails leads to the tree, and you'll be able to link up with several other nearby trails in the park. Because of the easy access, this area becomes quite crowded in peak seasons. You'll find plenty of parking here, but visit early in the day or in the winter to avoid some of the big crowds.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass


Largest living tree (by volume). Easy access. Accessible year round.


Often crowded.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed


Old-growth forest
ADA accessible



Plan to visit this touristy spot at sunrise or around sunset to avoid the crowds. The trail to the General Sherman also connects to the very popular Congress trail, another Sequoia must do.
We visited Sequoia National Park in May 2017, the week before Memorial Day Weekend. Which, imo, if you can manage it, is the best time to visit national parks... before the larger crowds descend.

On our first day we visited General Sherman after the obligatory stop in at the visitor's center to get maps and talk to rangers.

On the second day, we visited him again as part of a two-car hike through. We parked one car at the south side of Giant Forest, and then drove up to the General Sherman parking area. We hiked down and visited all the other big trees in the center, and then took the Trail of the Sequoias down to Tharp's Log, the Chimney Tree, and Squatter's Cabin on the southern side, near Crescent Meadow.

Mind blowing how tall and massive this tree is (and the trees in the area) A very easy route goes around the area. Very crowded on weekends, and full of people taking selfies, and photos of everything. I would recommend making this a pass-by stop if you're out exploring the nearby area. I went backcountry camping the previous 2 days on the John Muir trail out near Merhten Creek and Bear Paw Meadow. I stopped by to check out the tree on my way home.
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