Normally we always stop at park visitor centers first to get the lay of the land and make sure we have all of the information about the park. But this time it didn’t quite work out that way. Even though Giant Forest Museum was designed to introduce visitors to the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, it wasn’t our first stop, it was our last.
The Giant Forest Museum is a gorgeous Visitor Center inside a historic building.
At the museum, you can:
- View interactive museum exhibits on giant sequoias, discover the difference between California coastal redwoods and giant sequoias, and learn how to identify trees.
- Get information about Giant Forest, Big Trees Trail, the General Sherman Tree, Moro Rock, Tunnel Log, Crescent Meadow, and Tharp’s Log.
- Learn about the park’s high sierra meadows and human history.
- Visit the park store with books, maps, gifts, souvenirs, and more.
- Set out on one of several interpretive forest trails that connect the Museum and the Big Trees Trail around Round Meadow.
The Historic Giant Forest Market Building
Giant Forest Museum is located in the historic 1928 Giant Forest Market building, the site of Sequoia National Park’s original market. The building was designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood who also designed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel in Yosemite Valley — formerly called the Ahwahnee Hotel.
The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its renovation and conversion to a museum and visitor center was completed in 2001.
Know Before You Go
- Giant Forest Museum is located on the Generals Highway, 16 miles north of the Sequoia National Park Ash Mountain Entrance.
- The museum is open daily, year-round but hours vary based on the time of year. Off-season wilderness permits can be obtained from an outside drop box at any time.
- Giant Forest parking lots accommodate up to 240 vehicles. Small, accessible parking lots and shuttle stops are provided at the Museum and Round Meadow.
- Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are basically treated as the same park — even the National Park Service combined both parks into one website.
- The parks are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Occasionally, winter storms will close roads leading into the parks until they can be plowed.
- Admission fees are good for seven days and both parks. They are $35.00/vehicle, $30.00/motorcycle, $20.00/individual entry on foot or bicycle, $15.00/person for a non-commercial group.
- There are five free admission days: the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the first day of National Park Week, the National Park Service Birthday, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.
- Visitor centers, ranger stations, and a museum offer opportunities to explore the nature and history of these parks, watch park films, and get trip-planning information. Park stores within visitor centers offer books and other products related to the park.
- Cell service is not available in most areas. You may get service in Grant Grove and at the Foothills Visitor Center. WiFi is available at the Foothills Visitor Center, the Grant Grove Visitor Center, and in the lobby of Wuksachi Lodge.
- Pets are not permitted on any trails at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In campgrounds and picnic areas, pets must be kept on a leash of no more than six feet at all times.