Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Institute Stage 2 Fire Restrictions
Effective July 28, 2014, the parks are in Stage 2 fire restrictions. See link below for more information. These restrictions will remain in place until further notice. More »
Road Construction Delays Begin on Park Roads for 2014 Season
Expect occasional 15-minute to 1-hour delays at various locations in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks beginning Monday, June 2, weekdays only, between 5 a.m.-3 p.m., including delays to/from the General Sherman Tree, Crystal Cave, and Grant Grove. More »
Vehicle Length Limits in Sequoia National Park (if Entering/Exiting Hwy 198)
Planning to see the "Big Trees" in Sequoia National Park? If you enter/exit via Hwy. 198, please pay close attention to vehicle length advisories for your safety and the safety of others. More »
You May Have Trouble Calling Us
We are experiencing technical problems receiving incoming phone calls. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please send us an email to SEKI_Interpretation@nps.gov or check the "More" link for trip-planning information. More »
Climate at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
The elevation at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National parks ranges from 1,500 feet to 14,494 feet. The park’s climate can be divided into three general zones: low elevation foothills, mid-elevation montane forests, and high elevation alpine mountains. Each zone hosts a unique ecosystem adapted to its respective climate.
Low-Elevation Foothills – below ~4,500 feet
The foothills of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park are characterized by a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Precipitation usually occurs from October to mid-May and rain during the summer is rare. Average rainfall in the foothills is about 26” a year.
Mid-Elevation Montane Forests: ~4,000 feet to ~9,000 feet
Coniferous forests dominate the middle elevations, which also harbor the giant sequoia groves. Similarly to the foothills, precipitation typically occurs October to mid-May. However, the mid-elevation montane forests receive more precipitation on average at about 45” annually. Due to the cooler temperatures, snow is common during the winter months.
High Elevation Alpine Mountains: above ~9,000 feet
The tree line often occurs between 9,000 and 11,000 feet, and is marked by the highest elevation tree species such as whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and foxtail pine (P. balfouriana). Trees rarely grow above about 11,000 feet, where vegetation is limited to grasses and flowering herbaceous species. Snow is the most common form of precipitation at high elevations, and during cool years with ample snowfall, snowpack may last year-round.
Did You Know?
The large black areas at the base of many sequoia trees are fire scars. Even though fire may eat into the very heart of a sequoia tree, the tree can survive so long as the fire doesn't kill the living tissue all the way around the tree. Over time, the fire scars gradually heal over and disappear.