Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a park newspaper that's available online?
Many of your questions will be answered in our park newspaper, the Visitor Guide. Look here for important phone numbers, opening/closing dates, camping, lodging, dining, shopping, showers, activities, attractions, front-country hiking trails, wilderness permits, food storage, safety, road construction delays, where to find gasoline, vehicle length advisories, shuttle service, a park map, and more.

What will the weather be like during my visit?
Check forecasts for different areas of these parks before you leave home to help you plan your trip. Bring the proper clothing, hiking, or camping gear for the area, elevation, and season of your visit. Check current conditions for details about different areas of the parks.

When is shuttle service available?
Ride our free shuttles in the park, or ride into the park from nearby cities for a small fee! Park shuttles generally operate in Sequoia National Park from approximately late-May through early September, and during the winter holiday season on a limited schedule. A new free shuttle service is also operating in Kings Canyon National Park.

How can I visit Crystal Cave?
Crystal Cave tours are offered by our partners, the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.

Are the bears safe?
These parks are home to several hundred back bears (but no grizzly bears) as well as mountain lions and many other kinds of wildlife. Stay safe and help keep bears and all wildlife wild - store your food properly, don't feed them, keep a safe distance, and pick up all trash.

Where can I find park news releases?
View news releases and links to all public information released to date on our Park News page.

Where can I get information about accessible park features and facilities?
Get detailed information about the accessibility of park facilities and features.

Is it a good idea to bring my dog or other pet?
Know the rules for pets in the parks, and in the surrounding national forests - they're different in each area.

Do you offer ranger programs?
Ranger-led programs are posted online up to two weeks in advance. During your visit cWhen you get here, you can also check visitor center and campground bulletin boards for activity schedules.

What are safety issues that I should know about?
Your safety is your responsibility. Learn about the hazards you may encounter in natural areas.

Will my cell phone work?
There is no cell service in many areas of these parks. Designate a contact person at home to communicate through. It's best to use printed maps of the parks for the most reliable driving directions.

Where can I find gas, electric vehicle charging stations, and emergency vehicle services?
There are no gas stations or repair shops inside the park boundaries, though gas is sold on nearby national forest lands. Depending on your vehicle and connection, electric vehicle charging may be available at some park lodges.

Do you restrict campfires at certain times of the year?
Fire restrictions begin when fire danger increases - including limits on campfires, barbeques and smoking.

Why does the park use prescribed fire and let some naturally ignited fires burn?
Natural fires and prescribed burns are critical to park ecosystems.

What is the difference between national parks and national forests?
When you visit these parks, you'll probably enter both national park and national forest lands. Some rules vary between National Parks and National Forests.

Can I bring a weapon or firearms into the parks?
Weapons (including, but not limited to, BB, Pellet and Paint Guns, Bow/Arrow, Slingshots, Bear Spray and other compressed gas irritant devices) are illegal to possess. Discharge of a firearm or weapon is prohibited within Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.

Can I use marijuana during my visit?
Possession or use of marijuana and other controlled substances inside the national parks is prohibited. While California law provides for limited possession and use of marijuana it remains an illegal drug under federal law, which is enforced within the park.

How long does it take to drive through the park?
Give yourself plenty of time. To drive only the Generals Highway from the southern entrance to the northern entrance, allow at least two hours plus whatever time you plan to spend outside of the car. If you plan to visit Cedar Grove or Mineral King, allow quite a bit more time. It is possible to drive for more than four hours and still be within the parks. For example, the drive time between the southern Ash Mountain entrance and Cedar Grove is 3.5 hours. Many park roads are closed in winter. Our driving map and area maps can help you plan a driving route through these parks.

What are park roads like?
Be prepared at any time of year for a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. The Generals Highway ranges in elevation from 1,400 feet (425 meters) at the southern Ash Mountain entrance to about 7,200 feet (2200 m) at Little Baldy. Mineral King Road is even higher at 7,600 feet (2,320 m). Rugged terrain makes for narrow, steep, and very curvy roads and highly variable weather. It can be warm in the Foothills while it is snowing at higher elevations. Drive slowly, use low gear, and watch for signs of engine and brake overheating on steep switchbacks. Avoid grass fires by parking cars only on paved turnouts. There is a vehicle length advisory of 22 feet (6.7 meters) on the 12 narrow miles of the Generals Highway from Potwisha Campground to Giant Forest Museum.

Is there a post office in the park?
Yes, there is a post office at Grant Grove Village. The Lodgepole Post Office is no longer in service.

Are there places to buy food?
Most areas have food services that include a market, restaurant, deli, or snack bar. Many services are closed in winter.

How serious are the problems with air quality?
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks periodically experience some of the worst air quality in the National Park system. Warm afternoon winds-particularly on sunny summer days-bring valley ozone and other particulates up the canyons into the mountains. Ozone levels are highest from May to October, peaking in late afternoon. These peaks sometimes reach "unhealthy" levels by state and federal standards and can affect respiratory systems.

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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