If your vacation in California includes exploring King’s Canyon National Park, be sure to visit General Grant Tree, thought to be the second-largest sequoia in the world and named for General Ulysses S. Grant of the nation’s Union Army. Considered a national shrine, it is a symbol for those who have lost their lives in war. Enjoy a picnic in the serene surroundings in view of this natural treasure.
Take photos of your family members beside the tree to get a sense of its sheer size. It rises to a height of 267 feet (81 meters) and has one of the largest base circumferences of any sequoia anywhere in the world. Chat with guides and fellow visitors about its age, which is disputed. Some claim it has been around for 3,000 years, while others estimate closer to 1,600 years.
Learn how President Calvin Coolidge declared the site the Nation’s Christmas Tree. It was named after the Union Army’s General Grant in 1867 soon after the end of the Civil War.
Go on a relaxed walk along the General Grant Tree Trail, a short, flat accessible loop suitable for the entire family. It leads through a dense woodland of sequoias and should take about 15 minutes to complete. Pay a fee for a guide at the trailhead. Pass through a gap in the fallen sequoia known as the Fallen Goliath.
Walk inside the Fallen Monarch tree that has been used as a small hotel and saloon nearly a century ago. Reach the 150-year-old Gamlin Cabin, which was built by settler Israel Gamlin and later became the area’s first park ranger station.
Find the General Grant Tree a little north of Grant Grove Village, in King’s Canyon National Park. From the village, drive north for 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) to get here in just a few minutes. You can also walk here in about a half hour. While in this part of the park, see other nearby highlights such as Park Ridge, Sequoia Lake and the Kings Canyon Panoramic Point.