The Busy Season in the Parks

A large group of visitors walks by the Giant Forest Museum. Nearly hidden in the see of people is a park ranger.
Crowds are common in popular spots in the parks. Can you find the ranger in this picture?

NPS / Marc Neidig

The holidays can be incredibly busy at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Some of the busiest times include: Spring break (late March-early April), Summer (June- August), Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July Weekend, Veteran's Day Weekend, Thanksgiving Week, and Christmas Week.

During these times, it is common to expect long entrance lines, traffic congestion, full parking lots, and campgrounds filled to capacity. But, it is possible to avoid the chaos! Here are our top tips for keeping your trip smooth and worry-free:
A line of cars on a road lies backed up for a long distance.

NPS / Holly Brown

Avoid Congestion

There are two main entrances into the parks:

  • Big Stump Entrance (Kings Canyon) along Highway 180 from Fresno.
  • Ash Mountain Entrance (Sequoia) along Highway 198 from Visalia.

Both entrances can have wait times up to 2 - 3 hours during the busy season. Visitors should be prepared for delays.

Beat the Line and Save Time

  • To cut time in line, buy your pass ahead of time at
  • If you already have a pass, have it and your I.D. card ready when you get to the entrance. If you do not have a pass, have your credit card ready.

Arrive Early and Visit on Slower Days

  • Avoid the crowds by visiting on weekdays, which are less busy than weekends.
  • Arriving in the park before 9 AM and after 3 PM will also help you avoid long lines and busy trails.
A yellow sign that reads: Parking Lot Full, Please Use Next Lot

NPS / Holly Brown

Parking & Shuttles

Gas up before entering! If you are driving, please be aware that there are no gas or charging stations within park boundaries. Gasoline is sold in neighboring National Forests at Hume Lake and Stony Creek. Arrive with a full tank of gas, snacks, and water.

Parking Tips

  • Popular parking lots (Especially around the Giant Forest Museum and the General Sherman Tree) can fill up as early as 10 am. If parking lots are full, please proceed to a different area.
  • Consider parking in the Wolverton, Lodgepole, and Wuksachi parking areas instead.

Ditch your Car, Ride the Shuttle!

  • The heaviest traffic congestion is in Grant Grove (Kings Canyon National Park), Cedar Grove (Kings Canyon National Park) and in the Giant Forest area (Sequoia National Park).
  • Save gas and time by using the free Sequoia Shuttle service. In the summer, the shuttle takes you to the top attractions in the Giant Forest and Lodgepole areas, then takes you back to your car at the end of the day.
A large crowd of people gathered in a visitor center.

NPS / Marc Neidig

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Know Before You Go

  • You are likely to lose cellphone service about 5 minutes inside the park entrance station. Share your travel plans with a family member or friend before heading in.
  • Be aware of current conditions in the parks. Weather here can be extremely hot, extremely cold, or both (depending on the season). Pack appropriate clothing and bring plenty of sunscreen.
  • If you would like park information in a different language, including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese and more, these are also available at all visitor centers.

Download the Down Low

  • Plan your itinerary before you enter the park. Download a copy of the park newspaper to help with your trip planning.
  • Consider downloading the NPS app for reference and offline use. Downloading the app in advance is particularly useful as there is no cell phone service in most areas of the park.
An image of a green tent set up in a forested campground in Kings Canyon National Park.

NPS / Alison Taggart-Barone

Lodging and Camping


  • Many campgrounds in the parks are closed due to past damage from fire and floods. Pick the perfect campsite for your trip here.

  • Campgrounds fill quickly during the busy season and require advanced reservations. Passes are available for purchase at


  • There are four lodges in the parks that provide a variety of rooms to stay in. It is common for lodges to reach maximum occupancy during the busy season, so we highly recommend reserving rooms ahead of time.

A group of visitors taking pictures of the General Sherman tree.

NPS / Holly Brown

Hiking and Sightseeing

  • Access key attractions early in the day. Prepare for crowded trails and congested areas in popular spots in the parks. If you are camping, consider taking advantage of trails within hiking distance of your campground.

  • Please be aware that pets are not allowed on any trails in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In developed areas, pets must be kept on a leash at all times.

  • There are over 800,000 acres of designated wilderness in the parks. For hikes that require overnight backpacking, purchase a wilderness permit ahead of time at

Roaring river rapids.

NPS / Anna Cirimele


  • All rivers in the parks are extremely hazardous, especially during spring and early summer when melting snow makes waters swift and icy cold. Additionally, rocks around rivers are very slippery. Be careful when climbing or walking on said surfaces.

  • Be bear aware. Store food in metal storage boxes as soon as you arrive, especially at campgrounds and picnic areas. If there are no boxes, keep all food and scented items in your trunk.

  • Fire restrictions are active in the parks during the summer. Please check the current restrictions before arriving. There are no fireworks allowed in the parks.

Last updated: July 6, 2024

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47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271


559 565-3341

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