• Giant Sequoia Trees

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon

    National Parks California

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  • The Generals Highway "Road Between the Parks" is OPEN

    The section of road between Lodgepole (Sequoia) and Grant Grove (Kings Canyon) is open. Call 559-565-3341 (press 1, 1) for 24-hour road updates.

  • Be Prepared! Tire Chains or Cables May Be Required in the Parks at Any Time

    All vehicles must carry chains or cables when entering a chain-restricted area. It's the law (CA Vehicle Code, Section 605, Sections 27450-27503). Road conditions may change often. For road conditions, call 559-565-3341 (press 1, 1). 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 »

  • 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 »

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.

 
zones
Elevational zones of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks
Dakota Mork
 
Foothills of Sequoia National Park

Foothills of Sequoia National Park

Christian Schroll

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.

 
Giant sequoias and mixed conifers in the Giant Forest

Giant sequoias and mixed conifers in the Giant Forest

Russell Doughty

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.

 
Foxtail pine at tree line

Foxtail pine at tree line in Sequoia National Park

Dakota Mork

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?

Bootprint on pink algae in snow.

Patches of colorful pink snow in the High Sierra are actually colonies of snow algae — Chlamydomonas nivalis. Unlike most species of fresh-water algae, it thrives in freezing water. Compressing the red snow with your boot increases the intensity of the color. Warning: Do not eat it!