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The Three Best Accessible Trails in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

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National Parks are one of the friendliest vacations for seniors with limited mobility. Sequoia National Park has some of the best trails and walks for those traveling with mobility aids.

The three best trails in Sequoia National Park that are the most handicapable are General Grant Grove, The General Sherman Trail, and the Big Trees Trail.

Great trip for seniors with limited mobility. Two females in winter clothing standing in front of the fallen Sequoia in Sequoia National Park

Ally and I posing in front of a fallen tree in the Sequoia National Park

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Vacations for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Many of the National Parks spend their funding towards making their grounds and most popular attractions accessible for disabled travelers with paved trails. Handicapable paved trails also make it easier for families with small children to explore the national parks.

Also, all parks, monuments, and historical sites recognized by the National Park Service allow disabled guests free entrance with the lifetime Access Pass. For those able-bodied guests over the age of 65, a small fee is added to the lifetime pass.

Another plus about making trails handicapable is that this easier, shorter hike is also family friendly and assists seniors with limited mobility.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Recently, my family visited and stayed in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and we found three of the best handi-accessible trails in the parks. Each of these trails was relatively easy to navigate, were paved, and the elevation was not significant.

The following guide will try to assist you in your travel plans to find the best walks and trails in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

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General Grant Grove

Almost immediately after driving through Big Stump Entrance, you can have the first accessible walk-in Sequoia national park. On this 1/3rd-mile trail, you get to see the Fallen Monarch and General Grant, the Nation’s Christmas tree.

When approaching the trail, you have two choices to start the loop, go left towards the cabin or right towards the Fallen Monarch.

The incline towards the cabin is quite steep, and the other guests with mobility issues got out of their chairs and pushed the chairs up in the slope. Seeing this, our family decided to go right and start our easy walk out slow, knowing that we would have a significant decline to navigate at the end of the trail.

One of the best trails in sequoia national park. A few Sequoias, some up close and a large boulder in Sequoia National Park

Beautiful scenery everywhere in the General Grant Grove.

Fallen Monarch

The first stop that we saw was the Fallen Monarch. Visitors are allowed to walk through the fallen tree, taking photos and exploring the inside of the enormous tree.

When walking through the tree, make sure to watch your step because there is a lot of trip hazard within the tree and very dim lighting.

Mallory in a white jacket and yoga pants hanging in the Monarch Sequoia in Sequoia National Park.

Just casually hanging out in the fallen Monarch Sequoia.

General Grant Tree Trail

In 1926, President Coolidge proclaimed that General Grant was America’s first Christmas tree. Each December on the Second Sunday, carolers participate in the Annual Trek to the tree and visitors enjoy the festive season.

General Grant, the third largest Sequoia, has a steep trail that goes around the tree, making it hard for those with mobility issues to climb. However, there is a large seating area and plenty of shade where you can admire the tree from the front.

Don’t worry if you cannot see the fire scar – you will be able to see General Sherman’s fire scar later in your trip.

The steep trail goes around all of General Grant to see it’s fire scar and you can hike to see some of the other sequoias. There is another fallen tree that you can crouch down inside of, but it is not as impressed as the Monarch Tree.

Plan to spend 1-2 hours on the trail with good weather permitting.

The bottom half of General Grant and the sign stating its the nation's christmas tree in Sequoia National Park

General Grant – the Nationals Christmas Tree.

General Sherman

There are two ways to access the General Sherman trail, through an accessible route and through a steep half mile winding trail from Wolverton Road that will be easy to go down, but going up will be torturous!

Luckily, for us, we went during shoulder season, so the handicap parking was open (to the general public also), but handicap parking is open all year round if you have your temporary tag with you.

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During the busy season, there is a shuttle that runs visitors back and forth from Wolverton Road to the smaller parking lot and vice versa.

General Sherman is the world’s largest tree by volume. Standing at a tall 275 feet tall, the top of General Sherman is dead, but he is still growing out wide.

You can make an entire loop around General Sherman seeing its fire scar and seeing the large limb that fell from him in a winter storm during 2006.

Inside the Giant forest in Sequoia National Park.

Walking down the paths of The Giant Forest you will see many beautiful redwoods.

There is a lot to take in in this area of the park. Even though General Sherman is a large, and tall, tree, there are so many trees around that are just as magnificent.

In this forest, please be mindful of the boardwalk and fences preventing you from trampling on the Sequoia’s delicate root system and damaging the tree.

We did manage to walk uphill just before we hit some steps so that we could get a higher look at General Sherman. At this viewpoint, there is a diagram of  General Sherman’s base.

Plan to spend 2 hours on the trail with good weather permitting.

Mallory in front of Genera Sherman in Sequoia National Park.

The best way to capture this photo is to grab a wide lens and make sure the photographer lays down on the ground and isn’t afraid of getting dirty.

Big Trees Trail

Our final trail in Sequoia National Park during our three-day trip to was the Big Trees Trail. We were able to park in the handicap parking right at the trailhead.
The Big Trees Trail was by far the most handicapable because there weren’t any stairs or incline to navigate. There are some areas where the asphalt turned to the boardwalk but was easy to manage.

The Big Trees Trail is a 2/3 mile loop and is the second largest Big Trees forest. General Sherman is technically within the Big Tree Forest.

This trail is fantastic because there is a small meadow that is at a slightly lower elevation than the Sequoias. All of the trees form a circle around the pasture because they cannot grow in that area.

Big tree loop in Sequoia National Park

The Big Tree loop in Sequoia National Park is amazing! A fun loop to enjoy nature.

There are a couple of fallen trees that you can explore and many more trees to be impressed by.

Before this meadow and forest were incorporated into the Sequoia National Park, there were some cabins in the area that were then pulverized once a Sequoia fell on them.

If I learned anything from this trip – is be wary of the large tree! Once it decides its time to come down, you do not want to be anywhere near it.

Two trees with different bases in Sequoia National Park

Throughout the trail, there are educational signs to learn about different significant events that happened in the forest

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Even though these two parks are more known for their backcountry hiking, there are ways to enjoy the beauty of the giant Sequoias without extreme hiking.

I vote Sequoia and Kings Canyon and one of the best vacations for seniors with limited mobility. Grab your National Parks Pass today and start exploring.

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Charlene Maugeri

Thursday 15th of March 2018

This is such a great and exhaustive list! You're really done your research and this will be such a great resource for many people in similar situations to you. I'm so glad you've found so many great walks. And your pictures are gorgeous!


Thursday 15th of March 2018

Thank you so much! Everyone is surprised to find out that National Parks are typically handicapable, you might not be able to do everything, but you can still see lots of beauty. And for Free - Check out


Sunday 11th of March 2018

First off your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I know my family would love to visit Sequoia King Canyon, mainly because we've talked about, but after reading your post I know even more that we need to get there. I'm so glad that they thought to make paths accessible, that's awesome. I have been on trails that are in no way accessible, so this makes me happy that everyone can enjoy.


Monday 12th of March 2018

Thank you so much! I always take a million photos so I appreciate you letting me know you enjoy them! Sequoia and Kings Canyon is perfect for families alike and if anyone is in a stroller at least you know you can push them around.

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