A winter storm will bring rain and possibly snow to higher-elevation park roads. Expect tire chain requirements and road closures the week of May 20th through Memorial Day Weekend.
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. Creek crossings along trails are unstable; If you're unsure if it's safe to cross, turn back.
Spring has brought wildflowers to the foothills, but winter continues high in the mountains with deep snow and cold temperatures. If you're traveling into the mountains, be prepared for winter conditions. As the weather fluctuates throughout the spring, tire chains may be occasionally required for travel. Please check weather forecasts before you come and drive safely!
Roads in the Giant Forest and Grant Grove areas are mostly free of snow and ice but current storm weather continues to bring snow, even in late May. Tire chains may still be required at any time. Many trails are snow-covered, or have lingering patches of snow. Some higher elevation trails, including Panoramic Point, Buena Vista, and Big Baldy Ridge in Grant Grove, may still be snowpacked and difficult to navigate. Be especially cautious near rivers and crossing ice bridges. Other trails are extremely muddy, or partially covered by debris or water. Trail conditions change day to day, so check in at the Giant Forest Museum or Kings Canyon Visitor Center before your hike for the most up-to-date information.
Cedar Grove and Cedar Grove Visitor Center are now open for the season! Campgrounds openings may be delayed; check the 2019 Campground Opening and Closing Schedule or at entrance stations for campground availability. Showers and laundry facilities are temporarily closed. Parts of Zumwalt Meadow Trail have flooded, but may be passable. Beware of tree hazards on trails— don't linger or camp under dead trees or branches.
Rain is expected in the Foothills. Late spring rain means more green grass and wildflowers, but also muddy trails and dangerous rivers. Temperatures in the Foothills will soon rise, 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.
Snow depths are variable throughout the Giant Forest, Wolverton, and Grant Grove areas. If you visit a snowplay area, stay safe, as there are many sledding injuries here each year. Snowplay areas are becoming slushy as spring temperatures rise.
Mineral King is closed for the season. If you have reservations, you can access Silver City Resort. Follow the instructions provide to you by the resort to reach Silver City.
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.
Tire Chains and Winter Driving
Snow and ice may be on park roads any time from early fall through late spring. It varies from year to year, but it's important to be prepared. Due to constantly changing conditions, please call 559-565-3341 (press 1, 1) for current, 24-hour road status and advisories.
Before you visit, check our winter driving information, which includes a list of locations near park entrances where tire chains can be rented or purchased.