Crescent meadow to tharp's log

sequoia national park, ca

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crescent meadow to THarp's Log

QUICK STATS:

Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip (loop)

Elevation Gain: 206 feet

Seasonality: Best Spring through Fall

Trailhead: Access the trailheads at the end of Crescent Meadow Road - use the High Sierra Trailhead or the Crescent Meadow Picnic Area. 

Parking: Approximately 50 parking stalls are available at the Crescent Meadows Picnic Area, but during summer season, you will need to take the Sequoia National Park shuttles to access this area.

Facilities: Pit toilets at trailhead

Difficulty: Easy

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Description:

If you're headed to Sequoia National Park, make sure the Crescent and Log Meadows are on your itinerary. These meadows are an unblemished carpet of grasses and wildflowers, where only the wildlife (and you're sure to see some) stroll through these natural wonders. As you stay on the paved or marked dirt trails, you can walk the perimeters to capture some spectacular views of the vast meadows and named Sequoia trees. At the most north eastern side of the loop, you can visit Tharp's Log - a place Hale Tharp built a dwelling into a fallen Sequoia​ in the 1860s. Nestled at the end of Crescent Meadows Road, these meadows are the gateway to the High Sierra Trail to Mount Whitney (a much more strenuous trail only for the most experienced of hikers).

Trip Planner Details:

This trail is located in Sequoia National Park, approximately 2.6 miles southeast of the Giant Forest Museum. During the busy summer season, you will want to catch a park shuttle from Lodgepole or the Giant Forest Museum to access Crescent Meadows and Moro Rock. Crescent Meadow Road is closed in the winter. During the summers, during non-peak hours, you may be able to find a parking spot at the Crescent Meadows Picnic Area. The nearest restrooms and potable water are at the Crescent Meadows Picnic Area near the trailhead.

There is a park entrance fee of $35 per vehicle to enter Kings/Sequoia National Park. For more information on what else you can do in the park, visit the Sequoia/Kings National Park website.

There are many hikes that you can do in this area that all connect to one another. To see the meadows, you can start at the Crescent Meadow Picnic area and make a clockwise loop or at the High Sierra Trailhead and make a counter clockwise loop. 

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When You Do Your Research:

There are a lot of connecting trails in this area that can be a little bit overwhelming when looking at the map. There are three major trails in the area that you should be aware of. The first is the Sugar Pine Trail, which is a trail to get you from the nearby Moro Rock to the Crescent Meadow Loop as you pass by some interesting scenic areas like Bobcat Point or Bedrock Mortars.

The second major trail is the High Sierra Trail. As mentioned before, this is where backpackers start their 70 mile journey to Mount Whitney. You will see trail markers for the High Sierra Trail and you will be taking the first 0.1 miles of this trail to get onto the trail to see the meadows. 

The third major trail is the Crescent Meadow Loop that will connect with both the Tharp's Log Trail and the Log Meadows Loop, which are secondary trails that give you different vantage points of the Crescent and Log Meadows and will show you different landmarks like Tharp's Log or the Chimney Tree. No matter which secondary trail you take, the loop or out-and-back trail you take will not be much more than 2 miles roundtrip. If you want to weave in and out of all these trails in the area, you are looking at around 3 miles of walking.

Tips From One Who Hiked It:

This can be a great hike if you have little ones hiking with you as the trail is mostly paved, there is minimal elevation gain, and there are still a lot of things to look at along this trail. If you want to add a little bit more of a challenge, you can hike up to Eagle View, just 0.6 miles up the High Sierra Trail from where it forks off from the Tharp's Log trail.