The Giant Sequoia trees of California are a site to see. Despite heavy logging efforts, you can still hike through these massive trees on the Boole Tree Loop.
Giant Sequoia National Monument
The park system in central California is incredible. You have Sequoia National Park, the first national park ever designated in the country. Next to it is King Canyon National Park, created in 1940. Surrounding a good portion of these two is the new Giant Sequoia National Monument, designated such by President Clinton in 2000. The three parks form a sanctuary for incredible scenery, including the Giant Sequoias on the Boole Tree Loop hiking trail.
Although directions are included below, I have to mention the drive to Boole Tree is incredible. As you drive through Stump Meadow, you will see some of the biggest stumps in the world and get a real feel for what has been destroyed. The biggest is the Chicago Stump measuring 70 FEET around its perimeter. Sadly, the tree was cut down so it could be displayed in a museum in Chicago in the 1880s when such trees seemed plentiful.
The Boole Tree Loop is only 2.5 miles, but will take a couple of hours since you'll be staring up in the air like an idiot and looking at some incredible views. Since it is a loop, you can go either direction you wish. The first part of the trail will wind through at least 40 Giant Sequoia stumps that will boggle your mind with their size. Passing these, you'll head up to a plateau where you can look down upon valleys in the canyon with Spanish Mountain in the distance. Regardless of which way you go, you'll eventually come upon Boole Tree.
Boole Tree is big, but not as big as many of the stumps you'll see. Boole Tree stands roughly 275 feet high with a perimeter of some 35 feet. It is estimated to be over 2,000 years old and is one of the biggest living trees in the world. Ironically, the tree is named after a lumber mill owner that spared it. To bad he wasn't feeling as gracious with the other Giant Sequoias as all the stumps attest.
The Giant Sequoia National Monument is roughly an hour east of Fresno, California. Highway 180 is the most used entrance to the park from the west coast. Upon entering the park, you'll pass through a ranger station. Drive north from there and hand a left at Grant Grove after traveling just over a mile. Continue until you hit Grant Grove Village. Just after it, you'll see sign for Stump Meadow. Take a left and start driving. After a couple of miles, you'll see a parking lot with a sign.
If you're coming from Los Angeles, the drive will take five hours as will driving from San Francisco. Of course, drive times are dependent on traffic conditions in both cities.
Taking a hike through the Giant Sequoia National Monument is tremendous. It will give you a perspective of Mother Nature that few see.