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Watching Wildlife in Sequoia National Park

Located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains just east of Visalia, California is the Sequoia National Park. Established in 1890 to protect the 404,064 acres of forest that are contained within the park, many people don’t realize this national park is home to the highest point in the contiguous United States: Mount Whitney. The mount rises 14,505-feet above sea level.

Sequoia National Park is situated south of Kings Canyon National Park, and both are managed by the National Park Service.

The park is named for the giant sequoia trees that litter the land. The oldest tree on earth, the General Sherman Tree, can be viewed within the park. The tree is located in the Giant Forest, which contains five of the ten largest trees in the entire world. The parks giant forests are considered part of the old-growth forests that are shared by both of the parks. Thanks to their early conservation efforts, the parks preserved a landscape that resemble what it looked like before the European settlers arrived.

Of all of the magnificent trees in the park, there are also some amazing wildlife viewing opportunities available at your fingertips. The most high-profile mammal in the park is the black bear, which has learned to adapt and thrive. In order to avoid domesticating the bear, refrain from feeing the black bears during your time there.

As you move down into the foothills of the park, you can find lowland mammals, like the fox, bobcat, skunk, woodrat, gopher, and quail. As you move into denser parts of the forest you can catch mule deer, black bears, mountain lions, birds, and chipmunks frolicking among the ancient trees.

The Sequoia National Park’s Top Animals

  • Coyotes
  • Badgers
  • Black bears
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Deer
  • Foxes
  • Cougars
  • Woodpeckers
  • Turtles
  • Owls
  • Snakes
  • Wolverines
  • Beavers
  • Frogs
  • Muskrats
    • The muskrat is a medium-sized semiaquatic rodent that is found in wetlands over a variety of climates. These water rodents are often referred to as “rats” since they are able to adapt to a variety of food sources and climates.

Viewing Locations

Tokopah Valley Trail: Down in the valley, check out foothill animals like bobcats, squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, and so forth. Look for muskrats in ponds, pools, and river ways as you make your way through the park.
Moro Rock Trail: A great spot to find rock-dwelling animals like bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
Black Rock Pass Loop: This pass is great for catching a glimpse of bighorn sheep and mountain goats as they prance from rock to rock.
Crescent Meadow Trail: You can catch everything from black bears to owls and deer on this hike.
Log Meadow Loop: Also part of the Crescent Meadow Trail, this loop is another catch-all option for those looking to get in as much wildlife viewing as possible.

When Should You Go?

The best time of year to visit this park is from the beginning of June through the end of September. The park is open 24-7, however, the cold winds, snowy conditions, and icy rain storms can make it unsafe to navigate the park starting at the end of October. If you are experienced with hiking and exploring in the wintertime, then the park can be rewarding and filled with less visitors. Animals can generally be seen in the park year round. Catch migratory animals and birds passing through during the spring and fall months.