Plan for a Fun and Safe Memorial Day and Summer in the Parks

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Date: May 25, 2016
Contact: Dana M. Dierkes, 559-565-3131

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, CALIFORNIA –Plan ahead for a fun and safe Memorial Day holiday weekend and summer trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Check for recent updates on the parks' website at www.nps.gov/seki. A few key updates include:

  • Campgrounds: Plan your camping trip now! 
    • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has 14 campgrounds. Eleven of these campgrounds will be open for the holiday weekend. Six campgrounds will be open for first-come, first-serve camping, including:
      • Sequoia National Park: Atwell Mill and Cold Springs Campground (both in Mineral King area), South Fork (in the foothills—only 10 sites, very remote and primitive camping)
      • Kings Canyon National Park: Azalea and Crystal Springs (in Grant Grove), and Sentinel (in Cedar Grove)
    • Camping in the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park will be very limited over the Memorial Day weekend and into mid-summer. Only one campground in Cedar Grove will be available for first-come, first-serve camping this holiday weekend. The parks' staff is in the process of removing a large number of dead trees caused by insect infestation and several years of drought. This affects:
      • Sheep Creek Campground –This campground is tentatively scheduled to reopen in early June through September 21. 
      • Moraine Campground –This campground is tentatively scheduled to open from early July through August 17. 
    • If you are interested in reserving a campsite in the parks this summer, check www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777
      • Reservable campsites for up to six people may be available at:
        • Sequoia National Park: Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, Lodgepole and Dorst Creek 
        • Kings Canyon National Park: Sunset Campground
      • Reservable campsites for groups may be available at:
        • Sequoia National Park: Dorst Creek (opens June 16—for groups of 12-50 people) 
        • Kings Canyon National Park: Sunset (for groups of 15-30), Canyon View (for groups of 7-19 midsize campsites and for groups of 20-40 for large campsites), Crystal Springs (for groups of 7-15 people) 
      • For more information about developed campgrounds, visit: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
      • In addition, permits are required for all overnight trips in wilderness: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/wilderness_permits.htm
    • Parking / Shuttles Available: Parking will be very limited in the parks during the Memorial Day weekend and the busy summer season. Come early to avoid long lines and to secure a parking space. Consider using a shuttle inside the parks or taking a shuttle into the park from a local community.
      • Parking will be extremely limited in the Grant Grove area due to restaurant construction and holiday traffic.
      • Sequoia Shuttle: The Sequoia Shuttle will operate seven days a week, both inside and from outside Sequoia National Park, from May 26 through September 11, 2016. 
        • 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. For details and reservations for this shuttle, from outside Sequoia National Park, visit www.sequoiashuttle.com or call 1-877-BUS-HIKE. Once at the Giant Forest Museum, you can ride the free in-park shuttles. 
        • Inside the Parks: Ride the shuttle for free: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/parktransit.htm 
    • Big Trees Transit: From May 28-September 5, 2016, a shuttle will offer trips from the cities of Fresno and Sanger to Kings Canyon National Park (Grant Grove area). The internal shuttle will serve the Grant Grove area, including the Grant Grove Market, John Muir Lodge, Grant Tree Trail, and Big Stump Picnic Area. Reservations required—1-800-325-RIDE (7433)—www.bigtreestransit.com.
  • River Safety: 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 to mid-summer.
    • 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. 
    • More Info: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvist/rivers.htm 
  • Crystal Cave: Buy a ticket to Crystal Cave in advance at www.recreation.gov. Purchasing tickets at least 30 days in advance is advised. Tours sell out during peak season. The cave is expected to be open through November, weather-permitting. The cave is managed by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy—www.explorecrystalcave.com
  • Food Service/Markets: Food service in King Canyon National Park's Grant Grove Village is limited as a new restaurant is being built: pizza, burgers, BBQ, etc. For information about hours and opening/closing dates for food service and markets inside of the parks, please visit www.nps.gov/seki/learn/news/newspaper.htm. (See pages 8-9.) 
  • Lodging: For more information, visit www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/lodging.htm
  • Visitor Centers: Hours vary. Info: www.nps.gov/seki/learn/news/newspaper.htm (See page 2.) 
  • Gas: Gas is not available inside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. More info: www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/gasstation.htm 
  • Upcoming Activities and Events: Come join us in celebrating the Centennial or 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service this year! More info: www.nps.gov/seki/learn/news/index.htm 
  • Fee Free Days: No entrance fee is needed to visit the parks on the days listed below. Fees for camping, reservations, concessions, and fees collected by third parties still apply.

     Jun. 4   National Trails Day (free at only these parks)
     Jun. 18  A Day Honoring Buffalo Soldiers (free at only these parks) 
     Aug. 25-28   National Park Service Birthday Weekend 
     Sep. 24  National Public Lands Day 
     Nov. 11   Veterans Day 
     Dec. 11  Celebration of the Nation's Christmas Tree (free at only these parks)

–NPS –



Last updated: May 25, 2016

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