Traffic & Travel Tips

Extreme elevation changes over short distances mean park roads are steep, narrow, and winding - but filled with breathtaking vistas. So take your time! A few rules of the road greatly increase your chances of a safe and enjoyable drive.

DOWNSHIFT - When going downhill, put the gearshift in 1, 2, or L. The engine gets louder as it slows you down, but it will save your brakes from burning out.

LET OTHERS PASS - Slower vehicles MUST use paved turnouts to let traffic pass.

PREVENT CAR FIRES - Hot brakes and mufflers start fires in dry grass. Don't stop in grassy areas. Use paved turnouts only.

Vehicles Entering/Exiting Sequoia National Park via Generals Highway (the Main Road through the Parks) and Hwy 198

Vehicles longer than the recommendations listed below will likely cross the double yellow line. Drivers will be held responsible for any hazardous conditions caused by their actions. Follow the recommendations below for your safety and the safety of others:

  • Vehicles longer than 22 feet (6.7056 meters) are not advised between Potwisha Campground and the Giant Forest Museum in Sequoia National Park.
  • Vehicles longer than 24 feet (7.3152 meters) are not advised between the Foothills Visitor Center and Potwisha Campground in Sequoia National Park.

The section of the Generals Highway leading to and from the "Big Trees" in Giant Forest was built from 1921-1926. As a result, the road was not constructed to accommodate longer vehicles.

AN ALTERNATE ROUTE: For vehicles longer than the recommendations above - take Highway 180 from Fresno to the Big Stump Entrance in Kings Canyon National Park. Turn south on the Generals Highway to visit Sequoia National Park. Be sure to turn around at the Giant Forest Museum and exit the park at Hwy 180 to avoid the vehicle length advisory.

MOTORCYCLES - Slow down and drive carefully through construction zones where loose materials can be slippery and hazardous. Avoid the oil buildup in the middle of uphill lanes.

STAY ON PAVEMENT - Park and travel on pavement only.

GAS UP OUTSIDE THE PARKS - Gasoline is not sold within park boundaries. Be sure to fill up in one of the towns near the park entrance OR at one of three locations in the national forest bordering part of the park: year-round at Hume Lake (near Grant Grove), and late spring into fall at Stony Creek (between Giant Forest and Grant Grove) or Kings Canyon Lodge (between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove).

BICYCLES - Ride only on roads (not trails), single file with traffic, and wear light colors after dark. People under 18 must wear a helmet.

CELL PHONES - Service is poor to non-existent because of the great distance to cell towers and the rugged terrain. Note where pay phones are available or ask a ranger.

MORE INFORMATION - Call the park for the latest on road conditions: 1-559-565-3341, then press 1,1, 1.

Snow storms make the Generals Highway slick and hazardous to drive. Bring tire chains.

Snow can fall suddenly at any time of year on the Generals Highway. Be prepared
with tire chains, warm clothing, a sleeping bag, water, and emergency food in case
you need to wait for the road to be plowed.

Did You Know?