Hidden Adventure: Exploring Sequoia National Park on Sequoia Shuttle

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KFSN) -- Every year, millions make their way to the Sequoia National Park to explore everything from the oldest Sequoia trees on earth to a crystal caves and several hikes with breathtaking views.

John and Becky Wimer made their way from Pittsburg.

"We are just amazed with how big these Sequoias are and the fact that they've been on earth for thousands of years," they said. "We have really enjoyed being out there, and something about being out in nature makes you feel refreshed, and we love our time here."

Most people drive into the park but since 2007, a partnership between Visalia and the Sequoia National Park has helped thousands of people enjoy a smooth experience all around for only $20. It's a way to avoid sky-high gas prices and comes with other benefits as well.

"Parking tends to be hectic inside the park, so using the shuttle helps from creating congestion and letting the wildlife be," says Visalia Transit Community Outreach Coordinator Marla Bermudez.

So how do the shuttles work?

First, you call the Visalia Shuttle Service to make your reservation.

You choose the date, pickup location from the options and departure and return times.

We made our reservation from the Visalia Transit Center.

The fully-loaded shuttle had Visalia students on a field trip and a family from Southern California, who chose the shuttle service for their first-ever visit to the National Park.

"It's nice to enjoy the ride," the family said. "Everything is just for $20, entrance fee and everything like hop on and off."

The shuttle then stops at two pickup sites in Three Rivers. After that, it heads up to the visitor center, where it stops for a 15-minute break.

A huge perk is skipping the long entrance line and fee.

Clint Miller was a chaperon for his daughter, Giana and says although he is a local, the shuttle experience was a first.

"When parking, trying to find a spot, it's always packed up here, so getting in and out like this is pretty cool," he said.

The shuttle makes its final stop at the Giant Forest Museum. From this point, you choose how the rest of your evening will go by using the free internal shuttle service, which features larger buses with two route options.

Marc Blackburn with the Sequoia National Park has spent 28 years working at majestic parks across the state. His passion is interacting with excited visitors and helping make their adventure a bit easier.

He encourages people to ask about the routes and use the shuttles.

They run in 15 to 20-minute loops, seven days a week, helping you check out multiple places quicker, including Moro Rock for a stunning sight or the iconic General Sherman Tree. The largest known living tree by volume, and the rest of the giants, survived a close call during last year's destructive KNP Complex Fire.

"They are just so big and beautiful," says Samuel and Kindall Akers.

After a fun evening, you get on the shuttle at your return time and it will drop you off at the location where it picked you up initially, wrapping up an adventure you can cross off your bucket list with memories to last a lifetime.

The shuttle service started running on the 26th of May and will go until Labor Day.

Marc said Memorial Weekend was packed and set the expectation for the rest of summer.

He says it was an exciting view to see so many people since the park was shut down for two years.
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