The cool mountain air and smell of fresh pine trees await you as you head to the Mountain Home State Forest area of Sequoia National Forest, just east of Visalia. This is a day of outdoor fun, of blue skies, and of standing in awe of giant sequoia trees, the largest living things on the planet.  

Planning ahead:

Before you head out, pack up some essentials. You are headed to the great outdoors so you need to be prepared. Pack your cooler with lunch, snacks and drinks. Many Visalia restaurants can provide you with box lunches that have all the things you need for a delicious meal - great food, utensils, plates, napkins - so that you are well prepared. Pick up a variety of snacks as well. The local farmers market and Naturally Nuts are great options for some healthy choices.

It is also best to bring your own hygiene products, including items for your own hand washing station would be helpful. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just effective: water, soap, paper towels. If you are feeling creative, here are some other ideas from Pinterest.

Most importantly, take your trash home with you. Leave no trace is an excellent motto to remember when visiting these spectacular areas. 

Ready to head out:

Get an early start to your day. Though not far in miles, the roads through the foothills and mountains require a more leisurely pace. Plan on about 1 ½ hours to reach your destination. If you are headed to the Trail of 100 Giants to the south of Visalia, there are several routes you can follow. One is via highway 198 east to 65 south and then east again on Highway 190. Or you can take a more leisurely route through Yokohl Valley. A less windy route is through California Hot Springs. 

If headed to Hume Lake, to the north of Visalia near Kings Canyon National Park, take Highway 63 north to Highway 180 and enter through the King Canyon National Park entrance. (You will need to pay the National Park entrance fee.)

South of Visalia is Trail of 100 Giants

Trail of 100 Giants is one of the premier groves of giant sequoias, located along the Western Divide Highway (M 107). It offers an easy, accessible walk through the Long Meadow Grove. Along the trail, you'll see impressively large giant sequoia trees, estimated up to 1,500 years old. A 1.3 mile paved trail has several loop options with interpretive signs for some of the highlights. A giant sequoia that fell several years ago, gives an interesting perspective of these amazing trees. 

Kids, and adults, will enjoy being able to go inside the hollowed out center of a standing tree and be amazed at its size. Informational signs along the pathway help visitors to understand more about how these giants grow and why the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains is the only place they grow. Facilities include a paved parking area, restrooms, and a picnic area all located across the road from the trail.

Interesting Sights: If you head up to Trail of 100 giants via California Hot Springs, you can stop at the resort there. It was founded in 1882 as a health retreat centered around its naturally pure hot springs.

North of Visalia, near Kings Canyon National Park, is another area of Sequoia National Forest that can be accessed through Highway 180 and the Big Stump entrance to Kings Canyon National Park. There are lots of things to do in the area from fishing, hiking and exploring the wonders of the forest. Visitors will need to pay the national park entry fee.

Hume Lake

Hume Lake is an 87-acre lake built as a reservoir in 1908. Day visitors in the summer can enjoy fishing, boating, (no motors), hiking an more. In winter, it becomes a winter playground for sledding, snowshoeing and snow mobiles. Here some suggestions for what to do at Hume Lake:

Interesting history: The lake was built to support a large, commercial logging operation, and supplied water to the longest lumber flume transporting logs to the Central Valley. 

The dam is a unique multi-arch reinforced concrete construction, a first of its kind. 

Big Meadow

In the winter, Big Meadow is a destination for snow play. Bring your sled and lots of hot cocoa for a fun family day in the snow. Be sure to wear lots of layers! 

©2024 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141
Visitor Center Hours
Monday - Friday 8am-5pm