Driving in Winter
Tire chains can be required at any time on park roads and are available for purchase or rent at locations near park entrance stations. Learn more about chains and other winter driving information before you plan your visit.
General Information about Park Roads
Vehicle-length limits and advisories are in place on some roads, including the Generals Highway. If you drive an RV or a vehicle with a trailer, check advisories before you visit. There are no gas stations within these national parks. Be sure to fill your tanks before you enter the park, or ensure that you have enough gas to reach one of the two gas stations in the neighboring national forest: Hume Lake (open year round) and Stony Creek Resort (open summer only). Tire chains may be required on park roads any time it snows, usually fall through spring.
Generals Highway from Lodgepole to Grant Grove
This section of the highway connects Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, and remains open unless impassable due to weather or snowy conditions. For current road conditions, call (559) 565-3341. Road closures begin just north of Wuksachi Lodge, ending at a gate near the junction of the Generals Highway and Highway 180 (near Grant Grove).
Highway 180 from Grant Grove to Cedar Grove
This road generally opens the fourth Friday in April. In winter, CalTrans closes it just beyond the junction with Hume Lake Road, 6 miles northeast of Grant Grove Village. In 2020, the road opens April 24 at noon and closes November 16 at noon. This is due to rockfall from the cliffs, which is common once temperatures fall below freezing at night. Hume Lake remains accessible year-round. Much of Highway 180 is in Sequoia National Forest.National forest updates may be available online, or call (800) 427-7623.
Mineral King Road
This road is very narrow and curving and the upper portion is partially unpaved. The gates are generally open from the Wednesday before Memorial Day to the last Wednesday in October. In 2020, both gates open May 20 at noon and close October 28 at noon, depending on weather conditions. Snow removal along this road is limited to removal of drifts that block road access once the road is open. RVs and trailers are not recommended (they are not permitted in the Mineral King campgrounds).
Crystal Cave Road
This road is open only when Crystal Cave is open for tours. It is generally open from mid May to late September, though it may close if the cave closes unexpectedly due to weather conditions or other hazards.
Moro Rock / Crescent Meadow Road
This road generally opens by the Wednesday before Memorial Day in late May and closes when it becomes impassable due to snow. In heavy snow years, the road may open later than usual. When the road is closed, it becomes a ski trail. In summer when the free park shuttles are running (usually from late May to early September), the road closes to private vehicles on weekends and holidays from morning through late afternoon. You can park at Giant Forest Museum or any other shuttle stop and ride the free park shuttle along the road. No drinking water is available along this road, so be sure to take some with you.
This road is generally open daily until it becomes impassable due to snow, and is then plowed from Friday to Sunday plus Wednesday and holidays to allow access to the snowplay area at the end of the road. Wolverton is between the Giant Forest Museum and Lodgepole.
South Fork Road
This road is open year-round. It ends at South Fork Campground and Ladybug Trailhead. The road is unpaved beyond the park entrance and may be rough for some vehicles; it is slippery during rainy or snowy weather. The road joins Highway 198 in the town of Three Rivers, about 6 miles south of the Sequoia park entrance.
Panoramic Point Road
This road leads from Kings Canyon Visitor Center to Panoramic Point, where there is a short, easy trail to a point with wide views of wilderness lands. To find the road, turn into Grant Grove Village parking lot, continue past the visitor center, then turn right just before John Muir Lodge. The road is narrow, so RVs and trailers are not permitted. It generally opens on the Wednesday before Memorial Day in late May and closes when it becomes impassable due to snow. It may open earlier during years with little snow.
Redwood Mountain Road
This unpaved road leads from the Generals Highway to Redwood Mountain Trailhead. It generally opens on the Wednesday before Memorial Day in late May and closes when it becomes impassable due to weather. It may open earlier during light-snow years. It joins the Generals Highway opposite Quail Flat, south of Grant Grove.
Hume Lake/Tenmile Road
(in Sequoia National Forest northeast of Grant Grove)
Big Meadows Road
(in Sequoia National Forest south of Grant Grove)
Record numbers of vehicles have been entering these parks recently. On Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, long lines of cars have extended from the entrance stations. On a few of the busiest days, cars have waited over an hour to get through. Parking in some areas has also become crowded. If you're planning to visit, learn how to minimize your wait at park entrances and find parking once you're here.
Last updated: January 27, 2020