Trail of 100 Giants
- Location: Giant Sequoia National Monument, Tulare County. From Highway 65 in Ducor (31 miles north of Highway 99 and 12 miles south of Highway 190) head east on Avenue 56/Fountain Springs Avenue. In 7.6 miles, bear right onto Hot Springs Road. Follow it 20 miles and make a hairpin left turn onto M-50. Follow M-50 for 12 miles (be careful for cows, which graze freely in this area and may wander onto the road) to a 4-way junction and turn left on M-90 (Western Divide Highway). The parking area will be on the right in 2.5 miles. From Lake Isabella, head north from Kernville on Sierra Way/Mountain Highway 99 for 24 miles. Continue on to M-50 and follow it 6.6 miles to M-90. Turn right and follow M-90 2.5 miles to the parking area. The parking fee is $5 per vehicle (check or exact change cash). Interagency passes such as America the Beautiful are also accepted. Check road conditions before making the trip. Call 559-539-2607 or 760-376-871 for the latest information.
- Agency: Giant Sequoia National Monument/Sequoia National Forest, Tule River Ranger District
- Distance: 1.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 100 feet
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Best season: June – October (closed November – May)
- Recommended gear: insect repellent
- Dogs: Allowed on leash
- Cell phone reception: None
- Water: None
- Restrooms: Vault style toilets at trail head
- Camping/backpacking: Redwood Meadow Campground and Holey Meadow Campground (farther south on M-90)
- More information: Trip descriptions here, here, here and here
- Rating: 7
This is the quintessential short nature trail of the Sequoia National Monument, providing up-close looks at many of the impressive trees. The shade and high elevation make it a popular getaway from the Central Valley’s summer heat. Despite being a considerable drive from the L.A. area, it’s one of the more accessible hikes in the Sequoias, especially if you are camping nearby. Combined with another hike in the area such as Packsaddle Cave or the Doyle Trail, the Trail of 100 Giants can even be part of an ambitious day trip from L.A.
This hike consists of two short loops: the Trail of 100 Giants and the Trail of the Fallen Giants. The latter gets its name from two adjoined sequoias that fell in 2011, probably due to having excess weight from the previous winter’s snow. From the parking area, cross the street and begin hiking through the Long Meadow Grove. The paved trail is wheelchair accessible and family friendly yet despite its popularity it still feels pleasantly remote. You’ll also see white fir, ponderosa and sugar pines, although they are dwarfed by the sequoias – the largest of which is 20 feet in diameter at its base and over 200 feet high. The average age of these trees is said to be between 500 and 1,500 years old. Almost immediately you’ll come to a large tree with a hollow base, creating a “cave” that makes for some fun exploring. The trail continues to a junction where the first loop begins. The left fork heads gradually uphill, crossing a mountain stream on a footbridge while the right fork passes by a skunk cabbage meadow. The two trails merge at the start of the 0.5 mile Fallen Giant Loop.
When the Fallen Giant Loop passes by its namesake, one can only imagine the amount of snow that it took to bring the enormous tree down. The round, grayish trunk at first seems as if it could be a giant granite boulder while the tree’s root system, upended, looks like an abstract sculpture. The Falling Giant Loop returns back to the Trail of 100 Giants, which you will follow back to the starting point.
Text and photography copyright 2017 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.