Permits & Reservations

Camping Reservations
There are 14 campgrounds in the parks. Some are first-come, first-served, and some require reservations. Visit our Campgrounds page for details.

Wilderness Permits & Reservations
Planning an overnight hiking trip? Wilderness permits are required, and reservations are encouraged at popular trailheads. Be sure to follow guidelines for food storage.
Permits, Licenses, & Tickets for Park Activities

Certain activities require permits because they may impact the park resources or affect the experience of other visitors. Permits are a tool used by the National Park Service to ensure oversight of certain activities and, in some instances, to recoup the costs of oversight.

The four types of activities listed below require either a permit, license or tickets.

  1. Backpacking (overnight)
    Wilderness permits are required for all overnight camping outside designated campgrounds. There is an overnight camping fee of $15 per trip for permits issued by these parks. more...
  2. Mt. Whitney
    Permits are required for all hikers (even day hikers) in the Mt. Whitney area. Permits may be obtained from the Inyo National Forest. more...
  3. Fishing
    Fishing is permitted in most areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and on adjacent national forests. Persons 16 years of age or older are required to have a California fishing license. Get copies of park-specific regulations at any visitor center. Licenses are not always available in park markets, so bring them with you or you may get one at Hume Lake (north of the Grant Grove area). Tackle is available at most park markets.
  4. Cave Tours
    Anyone wishing to visit Crystal Cave must be part of a guided tour. Tour tickets are not sold at the cave entrance; they must be purchased in person at Foothills or Lodgepole visitor centers in Sequoia National Park. Allow at least 1½ hours to drive to the cave.

    For in-depth information about permits required to visit other park caves, visit the parks' webpage about Caves/Karst Systems.

Special Use Permits

A special park use is defined as a short-term activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

  1. Provides a benefit to an individual, group or organization rather than the public at large;
  2. Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest;
  3. Is not prohibited by law or regulation;
  4. Is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS; and
  5. Is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Examples include:

Ash-Scattering Bike Rides (group organized)
Church Service Demonstration/First Amendment
Freedom-of-Speech Act Political Event
Public Assemblies Weddings or Ceremonies

For more information regarding special use permits or to determine if your activity requires one, please call (559) 565-4235 or e-mail the parks with the subject line "Attn: Special Use Permits."

Applications for permits should be submitted well in advance, preferably 2-3 months before the event, for consideration and processing.

Special Permit Applications and Guidelines

General Special Use Permit Application
Ash-Scattering Guidelines

Scattering cremated human remains ("cremains") in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks should be a small private activity, held away from high visitor-use areas. A permit is not required, but all park regulations must be followed as outlined in the attachment.

Weddings In The Parks

General Wedding Permit Information
Wedding Locations
Wedding Permit Application

Demonstrations (also referred to as First Amendment Permits)

Demonstrations include picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services, and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers.

Demonstrations involving 25 people or less may be held without a permit within designated areas, provided that:

  1. The group is not merely an extension of another group already using the park for a demonstration or First Amendment activity.
  2. The group will not unreasonably interfere with other permitted demonstrations, special events, or park program activities.
  3. Hand-carried signs may be used, but stages, platforms, or structures may not be used.
  4. While it is not mandatory, the organizer is requested to provide reasonable notice of the proposed event to the park superintendent, including whether or not there is any reason to believe there may be an attempt to disrupt, protest, or prevent the activity.
Demonstration/First Amendment Permit Application
Demonstration/First Amendment Location Maps

Commercial Use Authorizations

Commercial use authorizations (CUAs) are most commonly used for businesses that would like to operate guide services in the parks. A business wishing to conduct commercial guided tours must procure a CUA in advance and follow the terms and conditions of the authorization.

What types of activities are authorized in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks under a CUA?

  • Hiking, backpacking and mountaineering guide services
  • Fishing guide services (not in wilderness areas of the park)
  • Cross country skiing and snowshoeing guide services and workshops

The NPS does not endorse any particular business. Commercial Use Authorization Holders for 2014.

Permit applications should be submitted in advance, preferably two months before an event, for consideration and processing.

CUA Application
CUA Application Instructions
Supplemental Application Information
Acknowledgement of Risk
Leave No Trace Video Clip
Stock Supplemental Report
Monthly Use Report
2015 SEKI Annual Report - Due Jan. 2016

For more information regarding CUA permits or to determine if your activity requires one, please call (559) 565-4235 or e-mail the Commercial Services Office with the subject line "CUA."


Filming and Photography Permits

Special Use Permits are issued for still photography, filming, and associated sound recordings to ensure the protection of park resources, prevent significant disruptions to park visitors, or when an activity involves props, models, professional crews, and casts or set dressings. Permits are required for access to areas that are normally closed to the visiting public. If you have questions about filming guidelines or need assistance in completing your permit application (see links below), please call (559) 565-3733 or e-mail the parks with the subject line "Attn: Filming Permits."

Applications must be received at least three weeks in advance of your filming date(s) to allow enough time to process your permit. Additional time may be required for compliance or when staffing is not available.

Filming and Photography Guidelines
Filming and Photography Permit Application (updated 9/21/13)
Liability Insurance Certificate - Sample (with important tips)

For alternative filming and photography locations visit the following websites:

Tulare County Film Commission
Balch Park
Sequoia National Forest and Giant Forest National Monument


Scientific Research & Collection Permits

A permit is required to conduct scientific research or collecting in a national park. This approval must be obtained annually. more...

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