Visitors to Sequoia National Park Can See the 2,000-year-old General Sherman Tree Once Again Following Fires
Travelers are once again able to marvel at the breathtaking General Sherman tree in person as California's Sequoia National Park continued to reopen over the weekend following devastating wildfires earlier this year.
The opening of the Giant Forest comes about a month after the park first started welcoming visitors back on a limited basis, according to the National Park Service. Before Sunday, the Giant Forest had been closed since mid-September when the KNP Complex Fire swept through the area, burning more than 88,000 acres.
The famed General Sherman tree, which stands at 275 feet tall and is estimated to be more than 2,000 years old, is the world's largest living tree by volume, according to the NPS. To protect it from the flames, firefighters were forced to wrap it in aluminum-based burn-resistant material at the time.
"We have been working hard to restore access to the Giant Forest as quickly as we responsibly can, and we thank everyone for their patience and flexibility with the limited access that we're currently able to provide," Clay Jordan, the superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, said in a statement "As we continue to mitigate risks, get employees back into their homes, and contend with the obstacles posed by the winter season, we hope we can continue to get closer to a level of access that's normal for this time of year."
While many trails in the Giant Forest were not affected by the fires, some that were have been re-opened with posted warnings, while some remain closed.
Initially, the forest will be open four days per week from 8 a.m. until sunset, temporarily increasing to seven days per week between Christmas and the New Year, according to the NPS. Access to the Giant Forest is open from Friday, Dec. 17, through Monday, Dec. 20, and Friday, Dec. 24, through Monday, Jan. 3.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.