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Contact: Mike Theune, NPS Information Officer, 559-565-3703
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. August 29, 2017 – With the unofficial end to the summer approaching this weekend, national park rangers want visitors to plan for safe and enjoyable weekend in the parks. Visitors are encouraged to visit www.nps.gov/seki to plan their trip. Here are a few tips to help with preparations.
To reduce entrance times for yourself and all visitors, consider purchasing a pass ahead of time through www.yourpassnow.com/parkpass. Entrance fees are $30 per car and are valid for 7-days. Visitors may be eligible for other types of passes. Inquire at the entrance station upon arrival.
Generals Highway Road Construction:
Road construction continues in the Sequoia National Park. Keep in mind that, due to the nature of construction, this schedule is subject to change.
- Monday-Thursday: 5 am to 7 am (up to 20-minute delays) Expect delays up to 20 minutes. Traffic lights (and/or flaggers) will control traffic, uphill traffic first.
- Monday-Thursday: 7 am-8 pm (up to 1-hour delays) Expect delays of up to 1 hour. Traffic passes through the construction zone at the beginning of each hour. Uphill traffic passes first, followed by downhill traffic. Plan on arriving about ten minutes before each hour.
- Monday-Thursday: 9 pm to 5 am Road closed except for one pass-through at 11:30 pm, uphill traffic first.
- Friday. Saturday, and Sunday (up to 20-minute delays) Expect delays up to 20 minutes. Traffic lights (and/or flaggers) will control traffic, uphill traffic first.
As a reminder, Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are still in place throughout the parks. This not only includes restrictions on campfires and BBQs, but also smoking. Smoking is prohibited below 6,000 feet; unless within an enclosed vehicle or a designated smoking area. For more info on Fire Restrictions, please visit http://go.nps.gov/sekifirerestrictions
Gas: Gas is not available inside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Expect all campgrounds to be full by Friday morning. First-come, first-served camping at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is expected to be very limited and fill early this week. In addition, some campgrounds will start to close for the season just after Labor Day.
The cave is expected to be open through September, weather-permitting. Tickets for Crystal Cave can purchased at www.recreation.gov - tickets reserved online must be purchased at least 48-hours in advance. Occasionally, tickets may be available each day for purchase at the Foothills or Lodgepole visitor centers. You must have tickets BEFORE arriving at the cave. Crystal Cave is managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy—www.explorecrystalcave.com.
Food is available within the parks only between Lodgepole and Grant Grove along the Generals Highway and in Cedar Grove. There is no food service in the Foothills of Sequoia National Park. Check the parks’ newspaper when arriving to the parks for current hours for each location.
There has been significant bear activity including in front-country campgrounds. Please be Bear Aware by locking-up food in campgrounds and when in Wilderness Areas.
Don't let their beauty fool you...rivers can be deadly! Drowning is the #1 cause of death at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Most drownings happen from May through August.
- Even when temps in the Central Valley are hot, river water is extremely cold, as it comes from melting snow in the mountains. Cold water quickly induces hypothermia--which dramatically reduces your ability to react in an emergency.
- Many drowning victims have fallen in accidentally on slippery rocks at the river's edge or have been carried away by currents, which are especially strong in spring.
- Never swim or play by the river alone.
- Watch children carefully—drowning occurs without a sound.
- Stop by a park visitor center to inquire about river conditions before going in the water and heed the advice for your safety.
Parking will be very limited in the parks during the Labor Day holiday weekend. Come early to avoid long lines and to secure a parking space. Consider using the free shuttle inside the parks or riding a shuttle into the park from a local community.
- Parking in Sequoia National Park: For example, parking spots in the most popular area of Sequoia National Park (Giant Forest) usually fill by 10:00 a.m. each day on a holiday weekend. Consider parking at Wuksachi Lodge (overflow lot), Lodgepole Campground (overflow lot), Dorst Creek (amphitheater parking), or Wolverton Picnic Area and taking the free shuttle to other sites.
- Sequoia Shuttle: The Sequoia Shuttle operates seven days a week—inside and from outside Sequoia National Park—through September 4, 2017. From Outside the Parks: A round-trip ride from outside the parks costs $15.00 and covers the park entrance fee. All shuttle buses are wheelchair-accessible and stroller-accessible. Visit www.sequoiashuttle.com or call 1-877-BUS-HIKE. Once at the Giant Forest Museum, you can ride the free in-park shuttles—www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/parktransit.htm.
- Parking in Kings Canyon National Park: Parking is extremely limited in Kings Canyon National Park’s Grant Grove area.
Ranger-led programs are a great way to learn about the parks. Stop by any visitor center to find out that day’s programs. The parks’ newspaper that is given at the entrance to the parks also has a listing of programs.
Fee Free Days: No entrance fee is needed to visit the parks on following days listed below. Fees for camping, reservations, concessions, and fees collected by third parties still apply.
Sept. 30, 2017 National Public Lands Day
Nov. 11 &12, 2017 Veterans Day Weekend
Dec. 10, 2017 Celebration of the Nation's Christmas Tree (Free entrance at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks only)