SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. May 26, 2021 – Memorial Day weekend is considered the summer “kick-off” for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the parks are expected to be exceptionally busy. Trip planning is essential for a safe and enjoyable visit. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your holiday weekend trip.
NPS App and Trip Planning Tools
Have you tried the new, free, official app for the National Park Service? Rolled out earlier this year, the app provides tools to explore more than 400 national parks nationwide, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Find interactive maps, tours of park places, on-the-ground accessibility information, and more to plan your adventures before and during your trip. Specific park information, including trail maps, can be downloaded in advance so that it will be available when you are offline! Learn more at go.nps.gov/skcapp.
For more information and the latest updates, please visit our website, www.nps.gov/seki. When you are in the parks, you can refer to the map and newspaper that you receive at the entrance station for a wealth of trip planning information.
Traffic and Shuttles
Expect lines at the parks’ entrance stations every day over the weekend. To avoid long wait times, consider arriving at the parks before 9 a.m., or after 3 p.m., and have method of payment ready when you arrive at the gate. Arrive with snacks, water, and a full tank of gas. It is highly recommended to purchase your pass online prior to visiting at www.recreation.gov/pass.
The early summer season for the Sequoia Shuttle begins today, Wednesday, May 26. As the parks continue to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, a limited number of shuttle routes will be in operation at the start of the season, and the number of riders will be restricted to allow for social distancing. More routes may be added and capacity may be increased later this year. Masks are required for all shuttle riders. For information about which routes are running, visit go.nps.gov/sequoiashuttle.
All parking areas are expected to be crowded throughout the weekend. When parking lots near the General Sherman Tree are full, we advise visitors to use the shuttle. Again, it is advisable to arrive early, or to enjoy the parks in the late afternoon and early evening.
Campgrounds and Services
Campgrounds require advance reservations for the summer 2021 season. Campsites may be reserved up to one month in advance. Do not plan to camp if you do not have a reservation. Campsites are limited to six people and two cars per site, and group sites are not available at this time. There are currently no public showers available in the parks.
RVs and trailers longer than 22 feet are advised to enter through the Big Stump Entrance Station in Kings Canyon National Park, as they are not allowed on the Generals Highway between Hospital Rock and Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park due to windy roads.
To make reservations, explore campsite availability, or modify an existing reservation, search for “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks” on recreation.gov, or call them using the numbers listed under their “Contact Us” section. For more information about campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, visit go.nps.gov/seki-campground-info.
The following campgrounds are currently closed: Dorst Campground in Lodgepole, Atwell Campground in Mineral King, and Moraine and Canyon View Campgrounds in Cedar Grove.
Food is available for purchase at the Wuksachi Lodge and the Grant Grove Market. There is no food or lodging currently available in Cedar Grove. For more information about food, retail, and lodging, visit www.visitsequoia.com/.
The parks need your help to prevent unwanted wildfires. All campground fires are required to be in contained, pre-existing rings. Gather only dead and down wood, and do not cut limbs from trees. Campfires must be thoroughly extinguished by dousing with water and stirring before you leave them or go to sleep. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. For more information on fire in the parks, visit go.nps.gov/sekifire.
COVID-19 remains a threat to the health and well-being of visitors and park employees. While the threat in California has been reduced, visitors are still asked to be respectful of each other and park employees, socially distance where possible, and if you have not been vaccinated, to wear a mask in areas where it is not possible to socially distance, such as narrow or crowded trails (for example, Moro Rock). Indoor spaces in the parks continue to operate at limited capacity to allow for social distancing and masks are required for unvaccinated visitors.
River and Lake Safety
Great caution should be exercised near rivers and lakes in the parks, especially at this time of year. Snow melt causes rivers to be swift, cold, and dangerous. Attempting to swim or even recreating at the edge of rivers and lakes can result in life-or-death situations. Rocks along the edge can be extremely slippery, and banks above flows can collapse. Most people who have ended up in water-related emergencies were not attempting to swim. Please maintain space from the edge and be especially mindful of children in your group.
It is very important that visitors store food properly and not approach bears of any size. Bears can grab unattended food or easily break into cars that have food in them. They become bold and sometimes aggressive in attempts to get more. All food and anything with a scent must be stored and out of sight, and trash must be disposed of in bear-resistant cans and dumpsters.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks wish you a fun and safe holiday weekend!