Winter Drives and Viewpoints

A man taking a photograph of a snow covered hillside from a roadside viewpoint.
The General's Highway offers great views of the park in winter.

Kirk Wrenche


Winter is a great time to visit the park, but the weather is often unpredictable. Snow can fall suddenly at any time of year on park roads in higher elevations, accumulate rapidly, and linger for days or weeks. Be prepared with warm clothing, a sleeping bag, water, and emergency food in case you need to wait for the road to be plowed.

If you're planning a trip in snowy weather, be prepared for winter road conditions. Tire chains are often required in these parks, and chain advisories can be in effect for days after a storm. You may need to bring chains for your vehicle, even if you have four-wheel or all-wheel drive. Chains are also available for rent in nearby towns. Check the alerts and conditions page for the latest road conditions.


Driving from Sequoia's Ash Mountain Entrance to Lodgepole

This route is spectacular but can be unnerving in winter if you're not used to driving in snow. Chains are often required, sometimes even in fall or early summer. The upper part of this drive may close for snow removal at any time. Allow 1.5 hours one-way, plus your time to stop at viewpoints. Features along the way include:

Historic Entrance Sign
Just a mile past the Foothills Entrance Station, you will find the historic Sequoia National Park Sign installed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935.

The Kaweah River to Hospital Rock
Pullouts along this stretch of road offer views up and down the Kaweah Canyon as the highway winds up alongside the river's rapids.

Hospital Rock
Located across from Potwisha Campground, this historic site hosted a Native American Village. Today grinding mortars and pictographs can be found in this vicinity. Though it sometimes snows at this elevation, it's not common for it to stick for more than a few days.

Amphitheater Point

This notable hairpin turn offers a pullout with waysides and an excellent side view of Moro Rock. Look for the snowy Castle Rocks in the distance.

Eleven Range Overlook

At this pullout you can find another wayside and a spectacular vista overlooking the Kaweah Canyon toward the San Joaquin Valley.

Beetle Rock

As you arrive in the Giant Forest a short hike from the Giant Forest Museum takes you to Beetle Rock, a granitic dike offering great views of the valley.

Marble Fork Canyon

The Generals Highway from Giant Forest to Lodgepole offers dramatic views of the Marble Fork Canyon through the trees.

The Giant Forest
As you climb out of the Marble Fork Canyon, the road enters a snowy sequoia landscape. Giant Forest Museum is open year-round.

The Generals Sherman Tree
The trail to the tree is usually accessible year-round, though it may be icy in winter.

Views of the Watchtower

Once you reach Lodgepole, follow the road to Lodgepole Campground (closed in Winter) for dramatic views of the the Watchtower rising out of Tokopah Valley.

If you'd like to spend time outdoors, the base of Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow are accessible only by snowshoe or cross-country ski. Allow several hours to a day if you choose to venture all the way to Crescent Meadow.


Driving from Lodgepole to Grant Grove

Along this stretch you'll catch snow-filled meadows and peaceful mountain vistas through the trees. On clear days, you can even see all the way to the San Joaquin Valley 6-7,000 feet below. This road between Sequoia and Kings Canyon may close at any time—sometimes for an extended period—to allow for snow removal. Allow 1.5-2 hours one-way plus additional time for side trips and time out of the car.

Buena Vista Peak

If there is little or no snow, a 1-mile trail leads to great views of Redwood Canyon, Buck Rock Lookout, and the High Sierra. (Allow an extra 2-3 hours)

Big Meadows Road

This Forest Service road serves as a cross-country ski trail in the winter, giving access to many miles of peaceful sub-alpine country.

Kings Canyon Overlook

This pull out offers waysides and impressive winter views of the Kings Canyon and High Sierra wilderness.

Redwood Mountain Overlook

Excellent view overlooking the world's largest sequoia grove.

Redwood Mountain Grove

If you are properly equipped and adventurous, consider snowshoeing or cross-country skiing into the world's largest grove of giant sequoias. Enjoy the snowy silence among these slumbering giants. Allow several hours, depending on how far you want to stroll under the big trees.


Driving from Grant Grove to Hume Lake

In winter, take Highway 180 heading north from Grant Grove to get to Hume Lake. The junction with HumeLake Road is six miles from Grant Grove Village. Highway 180 is gated just beyond the junction in winter. These roads may close at any time to allow for snow removal.

Hume Lake
At the end of this road, you will find a beautiful lake with nice beaches formed by a rare and historic multiple-arch dam. Winter amenities here include a market that's open daily and a snack bar that may be open on weekends. A gas station is open 24-hours and year-round when roads are passable. The area and facilities are maintained by a private camp.


Driving from Fresno to the Big Stump Entrance Station and Grant Grove

This route is the easiest at any time of year, and especially in winter. Unlike the road curvy road beyond Sequoia's Ash Mountain entrance, the road leading to Kings Canyon National Park is relatively straight. As you enter the park, you'll also enter the Big Stump sequoia grove. Snowplay is available at Big Stump Picnic Area and Columbine Picnic Area.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271


(559) 565-3341
Recorded information is available 24 hours a day. Park staff answers calls on weekdays from 8:15 am - 4:15 pm.

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