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 »
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 »
Black Bear Encounters
Please read important park alerts by clicking the red tab above before you come to the parks.
We hope you will have a chance to observe bears in the wild during your visit. Remember, however, that when bears and humans get too close, the result can be disastrous - for you or the bear. Bears change their behavior if they become habituated to humans (get used to our presence), which happens if we crowd them or observe them too closely.
If they obtain our food - even just one time - bears begin to break into cars, tents, and cabins. They may become aggressive. If a bear becomes a safety hazard, we may have to destroy it. In 2010, we had to kill four bears.
Habituated and food-conditioned bears often get horribly injured or killed by cars because they spend more time along roads and in campgrounds. Don't let this happen!
What should I do if I encounter a bear in . . .
. . . a natural area?
Consider yourself lucky, but remember these simple rules:
. . . a developed area?
We must make bears feel unwelcome in areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, and buildings so they don't get habituated to people or get our food. Help keep bears wild and alive! Follow the suggestions below:
Note: You may see park staff using more aggressive techniques to "haze" bears away, such as paint-ball guns, pepper spray, slingshots, or rubber bullets. Do not try these techniques yourself. They may seem "mean," but it may keep bears wild in the long run. Park staff are trained to haze bears safely.
What should I do if a bear bluff-charges me?
It is unlikely to happen, but if it does:
This guidance applies specifically to black bears, not grizzly bears (which do not occur in these parks). Different strategies apply to grizzly bears, and you should consult with local rangers about what to do during grizzly-bear encounters if you visit their habitat.
Did You Know?
Sometimes you will see sequoias in a straight row. This may happen because sequoia seeds prefer mineral-rich burned ground. When a fallen log burns long and hot, it leaves a strip of bare mineral-rich soil — an ideal place for new sequoias to grow. Years later, we see a line of sequoias!