During the high-visitation summer season, there is a daily limit on the number of people that may enter the wilderness of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks from any given trailhead for overnight use. The wilderness permit quota season began Friday, May 28, and will continue through September 18.
Wilderness permits can be reserved through recreation.gov up to six months in advance of your entry date. A limited number of first-come, first-served permits will be available daily at permit issuing stations in Cedar Grove, Grant Grove, Lodgepole, Ash Mountain, and Mineral King. Reservations are the only way to be assured of a wilderness permit. The parks anticipate extremely high demand for walk-up permits this summer, especially for popular trails and weekend and holiday start dates. If you don’t have a reservation, have alternate plans in case your first or second choice of entry points is unavailable.
All permits (reservation or walk-up) must be picked up in person at the nearest permit issuing station to your trailhead between 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. To prevent the spread of disease at permit issuing stations, please maintain six feet of distance between your party, other visitors, and rangers.
If you are getting a walk-up permit during quota season, you will be charged a fee, which supports trail work, wilderness visitor education, and other projects with a direct visitor benefit. The fee is $15 for the permit, and an additional $5 per person. Credit cards are preferred for fee payments, and exact change is required for other forms of payment. If you got your permit through recreation.gov, you will have already paid the fee online.
A limited number of food storage containers (“bear cans”) are available to rent at the Kings Canyon Visitor Center in Grant Grove, Giant Forest Museum in the Lodgepole area, and the Foothills Visitor Center in Ash Mountain. There are currently no container rentals available in Cedar Grove. Due to high demand nationally, it is recommended that you purchase or rent an allowed container well in advance of your trip.
Wilderness travelers should be prepared for sub-freezing temperatures, snow and ice hazards, and the possibility of altitude-related illness on all high-elevation trails. The parks urge visitors to take the inherent risks of traveling to these areas very seriously.
Multiple search and rescue operations have already occurred this year in the Mount Whitney area alone. You are responsible for your own safety. Depending upon weather or other factors, there is no guarantee that rescuers will be able to reach you. Know your limits, and be prepared to turn back.
For more wilderness information, visit https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/wilderness.htm, or contact the wilderness office at [email protected] or 559-565-3766.