FRESNO COUNTY (KFSN) -- Shaver Lake is a great place to spend the afternoon but with Marvel Studios filming Captain Marvel here, it is no longer a hidden gem. But did you know that just down the road you can see some giant sequoia trees for free -- and if you're lucky you'll be the only one there.
From Shaver Lake head east on Dinkey Creek Road. Along the way, you can stop at Dinkey Creek to see the historic bridge. From there it's a quick 15-minute drive east on McKinley Grove Road brings you to a picnic area and trailhead.
A little more than an hour and a half drive from Fresno you'll find giant sequoia trees. As tall as 230 feet, as old as 2,000 years.
Alex Olow with the Sierra National Forest said, "It's a gem in the Sierra because it is a little-known place. The majority of people that come to the area to see the giant sequoia trees are going to be going to the Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite National Park where we have two beautiful groves here in the Sierra National Forest."
There are no entrance fees to the park. On our visit, we were the only ones on the quarter-mile loop.
"This is an actual little interpretive trail. It shows off some of the beautiful tree specimens that we have here," Olow said.
Branches from a mature sequoia are about as big around as a normal pine tree. But to get to that point- -one of these seeds has to more or less win the lottery.
"Say a million seeds fall on the ground today. Maybe one percent of that is going to grow to be something of this nature," said Olow.
For such a giant tree, the root system is incredibly shallow. Along the trail, you can see a fallen sequoia that already has life sprouting from it.
"So it'll eventually become part of the landscape," Olow said.
But for the most part, not a lot can stop these trees. The giant sequoias are disease resistant-- even fire resistant.
"As time goes on you can see where the bark is kind of is regenerating," said Olow.
The trail takes about 10 minutes to complete but feel free to take your time.
"These trees, they're really neat. People should really come out and experience them. Just walking around and taking in the quietness of the forest. It's well worth the trip that's for sure," said Olow.
So for those looking for giant sequoia trees without the crowds and prices of a national park, McKinley Grove might just be the hidden gem for you.
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Hidden Adventures: McKinley Grove