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National parks may protect some of the best-known natural landmarks, but national forests have just as remarkable landscapes. The U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture, manages 154 national forests including nearby Sequoia National Forest.  Unlike their National Park neighbors, these properties have multiple uses including lumber, grazing, minerals and recreation. Many activities that are restricted in national parks are allowed in national forests such as off road vehicles, dogs on leashes are allowed on trails, hunting and other activities. And while many visitors assume that you can only see giant sequoia trees in the national parks, Sequoia National Forest has groves of these massive trees as well. In fact, the 6th largest giant sequoia can be found here: the Boole Tree is the 6th largest tree in the world.

National monuments, another type of land use, protect a specific natural, cultural or historic feature. Sequoia National Monument was designated by President Bill Clinton in April 2000 and encompasses 328,315 acres.  Since 1906, 120 national monuments have been created, and they can be managed by any of seven different agencies -- either individually or jointly.

National Park, National Forest, and National Monument land all co-mingle in the Sierra Nevada mountains. National Forest land is broken into 2 sections: north and south. The northern section intersects with Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and includes areas like Hume Lake, areas of the Kings River and Boyden Cavern, to name a few. National Forest and National Monument lands are connected to the south of Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

So, no matter where you explore in the southern Sierra Nevada, you will be amazed at the beauty that you will encounter.

Here are things to can see and do in the northern Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Monument:

Giant sequoias: 13 groves of giant sequoias can be found including

Indian Basin Grove

Converse Basin Grove

Boole Tree: one of the largest giant sequoia trees.

Boyden Cavern: operated by a private concessionaire, Boyden Cavern features stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone pendants and shields, and even a cave bear (formation.)

Hume Lake: Hume Lake is an 87-acre lake formed by a unique multiple arch dam, constructed in 1908 originally built to support commercial logging. Today the lake area is a destination where visitors can enjoy fishing, non-motorized boating, hiking, mountain biking, and camping during the summer months. An interpretive 2.8 mile trail follows the shoreline of the lake. 

Here are things you can see and do in southern Sequoia National Forest:

Belknap Grove:

Accessible year round, the Belknap Grove (and nearby McIntyre Grove, Wheel Meadow Grove, and Bear Creek Grove) is fairly easy to get to by car on paved roads. The grove is about 4,666 acres and there are several trails that go through it. Forest Trail connects Belknap and Quaking Aspen campgrounds. This area is accessible year round though you may encounter snow and ice in the winter.

Trail of 100 Giants:

This is a popular destination for visitors wishing to see giant sequoias. This is one of the premier groves in our area. The paved trail has several loop options and is recommended for strollers and wheelchairs. The 1.3 miles trail has interpretive signage describing these amazing giants. 

The Trail of 100 Giants is located on Western Divide Highway across from the Redwood Meadow Campground and is about a 90 minute drive from Springville.

Balch Park: Though operated by the County of Tulare, Balch Park is a local favorite for recreation. Two ponds in the park are stocked during the summer season and are open to fishing. Balch Park is open for the season from May 15 - November 15, depending on weather. 

Sequoia National Forest Hiking
There's an app for that
A Day In The National Forest

More time saving and trip enhancing tips:

In today's digital world, specialized apps can make your journey much easier. Using the National Forest app to navigate trails and top sites is a traveler's best resource. To learn more about the app and digital tools we recommend to make the most of your trip to Sequoia National Forest, click here or click on the "There's An App For That" image above.

©2020 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141