Road construction along sections of the Generals Highway will begin Monday, July 08. Construction will take place from the Highway 180 junction to Little Baldy Saddle. All National Park and US Forest Service areas and local facilities will remain open. However, there will be driving delays of up to 30 minutes in order to allow cars to pass through the one-lane construction zone. For more information, visit the road construction webpage.
On Monday, July 8, park fire crews will begin a prescribed burn in the Giant Forest near the General Sherman Tree. Access to the General Sherman Tree will remain open throughout the burn. However, some Giant Forest trails will be partially or fully closed. Check at visitor centers for a map of trail closures due to the prescribed burn. Trails will reopen when conditions become safe. Use caution and stay on trails; smoke, smoldering, and pockets of open flame may be present. Please be prepared for minor traffic delays in the Giant Forest, as well as smoky air, and listen to instructions from park rangers and fire staff. For more information on this prescribed burn, visit the Sherman Prescribed Burn Information Page.
The updated 2019 Campground Opening and Closing Schedule is now available. Several campgrounds throughout these parks will open late due to deep snowpack and hazard trees. Years of drought have left thousands of dead trees, which may suddenly fall into campsites or buildings. Visitor safety is our top priority. If you're planning on camping, please check this schedule for frequently for updated opening dates. Recreation.gov is available to those looking to make campground reservations for the coming months.
Be extremely cautious near rivers, especially during spring and early summer. Spring rainfall and melting snow from the mountains makes river waters swift, icy cold, and extremely hazardous. Strong currents often run under apparently calm water, and cold water will quickly sap your strength. Water levels change through the day— where there is a beach in the morning may be deep underwater by the afternoon. Creek crossings along trails are unstable; If you're unsure if it's safe to cross, turn back.
The Zumwalt Meadow Trail loop in Cedar Grove is partially closed due to flooding. To see the meadow, start at Road's End and take the River Trail downriver to the meadow for a 1.7 mile round-trip. Mist Falls Trail is muddy, but passible with caution. Check in at the Cedar Grove Visitor Center for the most up-to-date conditions.
Showers are currently unavailable in Cedar Grove.
In Grant Grove, some higher elevation trails, including Panoramic Point, Buena Vista, and Big Baldy Ridge may have lingering mud and debris. Some trails may temporarily close while hazard trees are removed. Trail conditions change day to day. For current information, check at visitor centers.
In the Foothills, Late spring rain means more green grass and wildflowers, but also muddy trails and dangerous rivers. This year's late and heavy snowfall means especially high, swift, and cold rivers. Temperatures in the Foothills are rising, and it's shaping up to be an exceptional wildflower year. Ticks are especially common here at this time of year; check yourself after a walk. Also, rattlesnakes have been sighted at low-elevation areas.
Mineral King Road is now open. Marmots here are very active, and often damage or even disable cars by chewing through wires. If you plan on parking at Mineral King Ranger Station, or farther east along Mineral King Road (including in trailhead parking lots), protect your vehicle with a tarp. A limited number of tarps are available at the ranger station on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mineral King Valley is now snow-free. However, snowpack remains at about 9,800 feet (2004.16 m) elevation and above. Trail conditions vary greatly - check trail conditions or ask at the Mineral King Ranger Station. If traveling in the backcountry, be prepared for 2 - 4 feet of snow and extremely hazardous river crossings.
Because of the extreme elevation range in these parks, weather conditions vary widely between areas.
In summer, the sequoia groves have comfortable temperatures and the foothills are hot and dry. Snow lingers on high-mountain passes well into summer.
In fall, some areas close or reduce their hours. Winter brings snow to sequoia groves and rain to the foothills. Be prepared for tire chain requirements.
Spring is a great time to hike in the foothills and snow begins to melt at higher elevations.