Permits & Reservations

Camping Reservations
There are 14 campgrounds in the parks. Some are first-come, first-served, and some require reservations. Our Campgrounds page has details.

Wilderness Permits & Reservations
Planning an overnight hiking trip? Wilderness permits are required, and reservations are encouraged at popular trailheads. Be sure to follow regulations on storing food away from bears.
Permits, Licenses, & Tickets for Park Activities

Certain activities require permits because they may impact the park resources or affect the experience of other visitors. Permits are a tool used by the National Park Service to ensure oversight of certain activities and, in some instances, to recoup the costs of oversight.

The four types of activities listed below require either a permit, license or tickets:

  1. Backpacking (overnight)
    Wilderness permits are required for all overnight camping outside designated campgrounds. There is an overnight camping fee of $15 per trip for permits issued by these parks.
  2. Mt. Whitney
    Permits are required for all hikers (even day hikers) in the Mt. Whitney area. Permits may be obtained from Inyo National Forest.
  3. Fishing
    Fishing is permitted in most areas of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and on adjacent national forests. Persons 16 years of age or older are required to have a California fishing license. Get copies of park-specific regulations at any visitor center. Licenses are not always available in park markets, so bring them with you or you may get one at Hume Lake (north of the Grant Grove area). Tackle is available at most park markets.
  4. Cave Tours
    Anyone wishing to visit Crystal Cave must be part of a guided tour. Tour tickets are now sold online. Buy tickets well in advance, especially for weekend and holiday tours. If you are in the parks and did not get tickets online, check at visitor centers for availability. Make sure to leave enough travel time to make it to the cave prior to your tour. Tickets are never sold at the cave.

    For in-depth information about permits required to visit other park caves, visit the parks' webpage about Caves/Karst Systems.

Special Use Permits

A special park use is a short-term activity that takes place in a park area, and that:

  1. Provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large;
  2. Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the National Park Service (NPS) in order to protect park resources and the public interest;
  3. Is not prohibited by law or regulation;
  4. Is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS; and
  5. Is not managed under a concession contract, a recreation activity for which the NPS charges a fee, or a lease.

Examples include:

Ash Scattering Bike Rides (group organized)
Church Service Demonstration/First Amendment
Freedom of Speech Act Political Event
Public Assemblies Weddings or Ceremonies

For more information regarding special use permits or to determine if your activity requires one, please call (559) 565-4235 or e-mail the parks with the subject line "Attn: Special Use Permits."

Applications for permits should be submitted well in advance, preferably two-to-three months before the event, for consideration and processing.

Special Permit Applications and Guidelines

General Special Use Permit Application
Ash-Scattering Guidelines

Scattering cremated human remains ("cremains") in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks should be a small private activity, held away from high-visitor-use areas. A permit is not required, but all park regulations must be followed as outlined in the attachment.

Weddings In The Parks

General Wedding Permit Information
Wedding Locations
Wedding Permit Application

Demonstrations (also referred to as First Amendment Permits)

Demonstrations include picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services, and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers.

Demonstrations involving 25 people or less may be held without a permit within designated areas, provided that:

  1. The group is not merely an extension of another group already using the park for a demonstration or First Amendment activity.
  2. The group will not unreasonably interfere with other permitted demonstrations, special events, or park program activities.
  3. Hand-carried signs may be used but stages, platforms, or structures may not be used.
  4. While it is not mandatory, the organizer is requested to provide reasonable notice of the proposed event to the park superintendent, including whether or not there is any reason to believe there may be an attempt to disrupt, protest, or prevent the activity.
Demonstration / First Amendment Permit Application
Demonstration / First Amendment Location Maps

Commercial Use Authorizations

Commercial use authorizations (CUAs) are most commonly used for businesses that would like to operate guide services in the parks. A business wishing to conduct commercial guided tours must procure a CUA in advance and follow the terms and conditions of the authorization.

What types of activities are authorized in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks under a CUA?

  • Hiking, backpacking and mountaineering guide services
  • Fishing guide services (not in wilderness areas of the park)
  • Cross country skiing and snowshoeing guide services and workshops

View the list of commercial use authorization holders for 2016 for information about commercial tours and services in these parks. The National Park Service does not endorse any particular business.

Permit applications should be submitted in advance, preferably two months before an event, for consideration and processing.

CUA Application and CUA Application Instructions
Supplemental Application Information
Acknowledgement of Risk
Leave No Trace Video Clip
Stock Supplemental Report
Monthly Use Report
Annual Report for CUA Holders - due January 15, 2017

For more information regarding CUA permits or to determine if your activity requires one, please call (559) 565-4235 or e-mail the Commercial Services Office with the subject line "CUA."


Filming and Photography Permits

September 2016 Update: Filming and photography permits are currently suspended at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The program is under evaluation and will relaunch at a future date.

For alternative filming and photography locations visit the following websites:

Tulare County Film Commission
Balch Park
Sequoia National Forest and Giant Forest National Monument


Scientific Research & Collection Permits

A permit is required to conduct scientific research or collecting in a national park. This approval must be obtained annually. more...

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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