A press release from the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
The Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park will reopen to the public on a limited schedule beginning on Saturday, December 11. This area has been closed to public access since mid-September due to the KNP Complex Fire, which has burned more than 88,000 acres, mostly within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
In keeping with the concept of phased reopening, the Giant Forest will initially be open four days per week, 8 a.m. through sunset, with seven-day access in the period between Christmas and the new year, weather and conditions permitting. The parks will assess the need to resume a limited operating schedule after the holidays in January.
This reopening weekend has been affected by a series of winter storms, and may be further affected as conditions are assessed over the weekend. The Generals Highway between the Sequoia entrance and Giant Forest is subject to closure at any time in the event of inclement weather, rock or debris fall, or other hazardous conditions. These risks are heightened by fire impacts along the roadway. For the most current road conditions, including information about tire chain controls, call the parks’ information line at (559) 565 -3341, press 1, and then press 1 again. Details and maps of what will open or remain closed can be found online at go.nps.gov/SEKIconditions.
The schedule for access to the Giant Forest is as follows. This schedule may change at any time due to weather or other conditions.
Saturday, December 11 – Sunday, December 12: OPEN (only two days due to forecasted winter weather)
Monday, December 13 – Thursday, December 16: CLOSED
Friday, December 17 – Monday, December 20: OPEN
Tuesday, December 21 – Thursday, December 23: CLOSED
Thursday, December 24 – Monday, January 3: OPEN
There is currently no potable water or food available in Giant Forest. Visitors should plan to bring all the water and food that they will need during their visit. With winter storms in the forecast, tire chains may be required at any time. All vehicles must carry tire chains in chain control areas, including 4WD and AWD vehicles.
“We have been working hard to restore access to the Giant Forest as quickly as we responsibly can, and we thank everyone for their patience and flexibility with the limited access that we’re currently able to provide,” said Clay Jordan, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “As we continue to mitigate risks, get employees back into their homes, and contend with the obstacles posed by the winter season, we hope we can continue to get closer to a level of access that’s normal for this time of year.”
The Giant Forest is an extremely popular area, home to the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest living tree by volume. This reopening extends from Hospital Rock to just above the intersection with Wolverton Road. The Giant Forest Museum will be open for visitor information and retail services. Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road is closed to vehicles but open for pedestrian access to Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow. Lodgepole and the road between the parks remains closed. Visitors should plan for these areas to remain closed at least into spring of 2022. The Sequoia Shuttle will be operating in the Giant Forest during the holidays from December 24 through January 2.
Many trails in the Giant Forest, including the Congress Trail, were not affected by the fire. Some trails that were affected will be open with posted warnings, while the most severely affected trails will be closed. Wilderness permits are available by self-issue at this time of year. Wilderness travelers are advised that the highway to Giant Forest will be gated and locked at Hospital Rock on the days that the Giant Forest is closed, and should plan accordingly.
Sunday, December 12 is a fee-free day in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
The foothills of Sequoia National Park remain open 7-days per week between the entrance station and Hospital Rock, as does Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. However, it is always advisable to check weather and current road information before visiting the parks during winter months.