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How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

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Central coast of...
Level Contributor
100 posts
22 reviews
How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

I'll be camping 2 1/2 days with 2 kids (8 & 11). Since we'll arrive mid afternoon on a Friday, I doubt we'll be able to do much by the time we set up camp. Prob just explore the campground & maybe hike to Tokopah Falls if it isn't too long of a hike. For Saturday & Sunday, I'd like to make use of the free shuttle to visit Crescent Meadow, Moro Rock, Giant Forest, Sherman Tree & Congress Trail. I believe the last three places are within walking distance of one another. This is our first visit, so any advice on itinerary is appreciated. Also, we're a bit nervous about hiking near bears. Should we be concerned??

So Cal
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6,552 posts
68 reviews
1. Re: How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

You can actually park at Gen Sherman and walk from there through the Giant Forest to Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock, but the youngest might keel over on the way. :-)

The Visitor Center sells decent trail maps of the area. Very useful to figure out beforehand how best to split up your drive, hike and shuttle.

Since you'll be in a group, and since these are black bears (no matter the color - California has only black bears, and they can be black, brown, red or blonde), you don't need to worry much as long as you're sensible. Black bears are generally not that aggressive, unless there are cubs or food involved. If you see one, keep your distance (especially if there are cubs around - do *not* get between mama and cub!), don't wave food around or leave it unattended, and enjoy the sight. :-)

The park website's info on black bear encounters:


Sequoia National...
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462 posts
2. Re: How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

How long it takes to do each hike kind of depends on the energy and endurance level of your kids, but just as a ballpark estimate I would plan on about 2 hours each for both the Tokopah Falls trail and the Congress trail. Maybe a little longer since you will want to take in the sights, but 2 hours round-trip for each hike sounds about right to me.

You may be able to fit the Tokopah Falls trail in on your first day, particularly if you're camping at Lodgepole since that's where that trail begins. The total distance is 3.4 miles. The Falls are most impressive in spring and early summer, but it's a great hike no matter what.

Just to clarify, Giant Forest is the name for the entire area that contains the sights you mentioned. Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow, and Tunnel Log are all close together, and are located just south of the Giant Forest Museum. The Congress trail starts at the base of the General Sherman tree, and as Jenazz mentioned you can hike from there all the way to the Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow area if you like.

As long as you take basic precautions you don't have to worry about the bears. As Jenazz said, getting between a mama bear and her cubs is a big no-no, and definitely make sure to properly store any food, scented items, and food containers you bring with you, but aside from that just keep your distance and enjoy the encounter. You can always ask a ranger while you're there if you have specific questions or concerns and they would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Central coast of...
Level Contributor
100 posts
22 reviews
3. Re: How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

Thanks for the helpful info. Especially for the clarification that the Giant Forest encompasses Moro Rock, Crescent Meadow, etc. I assumed they were all different areas. Very good to know. :)

Merritt Island...
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4. Re: How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

About how long would it take to hike to the moro rock/crescent meadow area from congress trail?

Los Angeles
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5. Re: How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

It would take awhile to hike from Congress Trail to Moro Rock. Let me try to explain.

You can make Congress Trail into a one way hike by hiking from Congress Trail to the Crescent Meadow/Log Meadow area. I would say it's about 40 minutes to get from where the turn around for the Congress Trail loop is to Crescent Meadow with kids, maybe less (but lots to see along the way). Are you going to let your kids play a bit? Then, from the beginning of Crescent Meadow back to the parking lot, only 20-30 minutes.

But hiking from Crescent Meadow to Moro Rock is maybe 3-4 miles (maybe more), and some of it is exposed and very warm from June until early October. It's a slightly sloping up and down 3-4 miles (maybe more). I would take the shuttle. The shuttle goes in between Crescent Meadow and the Moro Rock area.

Moro Rock hike is short but steep. At least a half an hour up, 20 minutes going down, depending on energy level.

6. Re: How much time to allot for various trails, etc?

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