SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, CALIFORNIA –Celebrate the Fourth of July and the rest of summer at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Before you arrive, check the parks’ website at www.nps.gov/seki for updates, including:
- First-come, first-serve camping at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is expected to be very limited and fill early over the holiday weekend and regularly on weekends during the summer. To learn more, visit: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm.
- New to the Campground Reservation System: Standard campsites (1-6) people may be available in Sunset Campground in Kings Canyon National Park from July 1, 2016 – September 6, 2016. Sites not already reserved will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis for one night only. To reserve a campsite in the parks this summer, visit www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.
- Moraine Campground in Kings Canyon National Park (Cedar Grove area) is temporarily closed. The parks’ staff has been in the process of removing a large number of dead trees caused by insect infestation and several years of drought. Moraine Campground is targeted to open sometime in early July.
- Permits are required for overnight trips in wilderness—www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/wilderness_permits.htm.
Parking / Shuttles:Parking will be very limited in the parks during the Fourth of July holiday weekend and during the summer season. Come early to avoid long lines and to secure a parking space. Consider using a shuttle inside the parks or taking a shuttle into the park from a local community.
- For example, parking in the most popular area of Sequoia National Park (Giant Forest) usually fills by 10 a.m. each day on a holiday weekend. Consider parking at Wuksachi Lodge (overflow lot), Lodgepole Campground (overflow lot), Dorst Creek (amphitheater parking), or Wolverton Picnic Area and taking the shuttle to other sites.
- Parking is extremely limited in Kings Canyon National Park’s Grant Grove area this summer due to restaurant construction. Park your car in the Big Stump Picnic Area or leave it at your hotel or campground if staying in the parks.
- Sequoia Shuttle: The Sequoia Shuttle operates seven days a week, both inside and from outside Sequoia National Park, through September 11, 2016. A round-trip ride from outside the parks costs $15.00 and covers the park entrance fee. All shuttle buses are wheelchair-accessible and stroller-accessible. Visit www.sequoiashuttle.com or call 1-877-BUS-HIKE. Once at the Giant Forest Museum, you can ride the free in-park shuttles—www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/parktransit.htm.
- Big Trees Transit: Through September 5, 2016, Big Trees Transit offers shuttles from the cities of Fresno and Sanger to Kings Canyon National Park. The shuttle serves the Grant Grove area—including the Grant Grove Market, John Muir Lodge, Grant Tree Trail, and Big Stump Picnic Area. Reservations required to ride from outside the park—1-800-325-RIDE (7433)—www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/parktransit.htm.
River Safety: Don’t let their beauty fool you…rivers can be deadly! Drowning is the #1 cause of death at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Most drownings happen from May through August.
- Even when temps in the Central Valley are hot, river water is extremely cold, as it comes from melting snow in the mountains. Cold water quickly induces hypothermia–which dramatically reduces your ability to react in an emergency.
- Many drowning victims have fallen in accidentally on slippery rocks at the river’s edge or have been carried away by currents, which are especially strong in spring.
- Never swim or play by the river alone.
- Watch children carefully–drowning occurs without a sound.
- Stop by a park visitor center to inquire about river conditions before going in the water and heed the advice for your safety.
Crystal Cave: Buy a ticket to Crystal Cave in advance at www.recreation.gov. Purchasing tickets at least 30 days in advance is advised. Tours sell out during peak season. The cave is expected to be open through November, weather-permitting. The cave is managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy—www.explorecrystalcave.com.
Lodging (Inside and Outside the Parks): www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/lodging.htm
- Aug. 25-28, 2016 – National Park Service Birthday Weekend
- Sep. 24, 2016 – National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11, 2016 – Veterans Day
- Dec. 11, 2016 – Celebration of the Nation’s Christmas Tree (Free entrance at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks only)