Crescent Meadow Hike Sequoia Tharps Log Chimney Tree Sequoia Hike

For those traveling to the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, Crescent Meadow offers a gentle hike that is great for children and adults. The trail features a variety of scenery, a tree to climb inside, and another that was made into a house. The basic distance of the hike to see Tharp’s Log and the Chimney Tree is 1.6 miles, but that can be extended in several ways to see more of the area.

Head east from the south end of the parking lot at the end of Crescent Meadow Road. For 0.1 miles, the paved path is shared with hikers setting out on the High Sierra Trail. They may be going just one mile to Eagle View or 60 miles to Mount Whitney. When the trail splits, just after a pair of footbridges, take the trail to the left, which passes along the southern edge of the Crescent Meadow.

Crescent Meadow Sequoia
Crescent Meadow

The trail will come to a junction with a dirt track heading to the left toward Chimney Tree. The paved trail continues to Tharp’s Log to the right. Either direction is viable, depending on which attraction you would like to see first.

Following the trail to the right, it will pass beneath several giant sequoias before arriving at another meadow, Log Meadow, and the one time habitation of Hale Tharp.

Crescent Meadow Sequoia
Tharp’s Log

Tharp was first lead to the meadow by Yukut guides in 1858. By 1861, he had built a home into the fallen Sequoia where he resided every summer, ranching his livestock in the Giant Forest meadows until 1890 when the land became a national park.The home, built into a hollow horizontal Sequoia, is well preserved and a fascinating sight. Take a peak inside at Tharp’s rustic tree house, which still contains his old bed, table, and bench.

Beyond Tharp’s log, one could turn right to loop back to the start around Log Meadow (for a 1.8-mile hike), or turn left toward Chimney Tree and Crescent Meadow. Turning left, takes hikers deeper into a Sequoia forest where woodland creatures may be visible along the trail. The Chimney Tree is just off the trail on a well-marked path. Step inside this standing burnt out Sequoia for a unique perspective on these enormous trees.

Crescent Meadow Sequoia
Sitting inside Chimney Tree

The soft protective bark of the Sequoias allow them to survive a hundred wildfires over the course of their lifespan 2,000 year or more. Contemplate this longevity and return to the trailhead by taking the dirt trail back along the east side of the meadow to rejoin the original trail, or take a longer stroll up and around Crescent Meadow back to the parking lot. The trailhead also offers a small picnic area.

Other hikes start from the Crescent Meadow Parking Area, including Sugar Pine Trail and Bobcat Point Trail Loop, which explores Indian mortars and a picturesque ridge overlooking the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River. Dogs and mountain bikes are prohibited on trails in Sequoia National Park. A park entrance fee is taken to reach the trailhead, but no permit is required to hike around Crescent Meadow, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: Take Generals Highway to Crescent Meadow Road, which is just south of the Giant Forest Museum. Drive east past the turnoff for Moro Rock (A short and amazing hike). After three miles, the road ends at the Crescent Meadow Parking Area. Along the way, travelers can drive beneath Tunnel Log, a Sequoia that fell over the road.

Trailhead address: Crescent Meadow Road, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.5548, -118.7490 (36° 33′ 17.2″N 118° 44′ 56.4″W)

Elevation Profile
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Trail Map

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These photos were taken in April of 2009 and May of 2013. Click to enlarge.
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Tagged with · Giant Forest · National Parks · Sequoia Groves
Distance: 1.6 miles · Elevation change: 150 feet

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7 Comments on Crescent Meadow Loop to Chimney Tree and Tharp’s Log in Sequoia National Park

  1. Adrienne Faye wrote:

    Hi, I need an address for Crescent Meadow Picnic Area so I can program my navigation system to drive there. Can you please give me the best possible address to get there? Thanks
    Adrienne Faye

    • hikespeak wrote:

      Trailhead address: Crescent Meadow Road, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
      Trailhead coordinates: 36.554884, -118.749207 (36° 33′ 17.58″N 118° 44′ 57.14″W)

  2. Carmen Valenzuela wrote:

    Are dogs allowed in Crecent Meadow hike?

  3. […] do this — too steep for my preggers self — but Chris did, and the views were spectacular), Crescent Meadow, and so much more. Chris even went for a run in the morning and came across a bear (he was trying […]

  4. Peter Thomas wrote:

    I plan to shuttle from The Whitney portal to Crescent Meadows on a small street legal motorcycle. I will park it for seven days. Will it be safe in the trailhead parking lot?