As you travel in and around Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, you're likely to drive through lands that are managed by different agencies. It may be difficult to know whether you're in a national park or in a national forest.
Neighboring National Forests
Whether you arrive in the parks from the west or east side of the Sierra Nevada range, you may pass through federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. These national forests offer unique recreational opportunities and have different regulations that will influence your visit. People looking to hit the trails with pets, bicycles, or Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs), will find that U.S. Forest Service lands may better fit their needs.
Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument
Generals Highway and Highway 180 (including the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway) both wind in and out of Sequoia National Forest. It can be difficult to know where you are, so use your map and watch for signs along the route!
Inyo National Forest
Inyo National Forest is located along the eastern boundary of the park and where most intrepid hikers begin their 22-mile trek to Mount Whitney. Other high Sierra peaks can be reached from the east side of the Sierra Nevada range. To get here, travel by car along Highway 395. There is no east-west road that crosses the Sierra Range through the parks, so if you intend to visit both the east and west sides of our parks plan on at least two days of travel.
Sierra National Forest
Sierra National Forest is on the northwest boundary of Kings Canyon National Park. While you won’t be able to reach this forest from the park by car, backpackers can reach nearby forest destinations such as Monarch Lakes, Dinkey Lakes and the John Muir Wilderness. Hikers wishing to access the Sierra National Forest from the parks can begin on the trails permitted by the Road’s End Permit Station in Cedar Grove. Popular destinations include Crown Valley, Wishon Reservoir, Courtright Reservoir, Humphreys Basin and Florence Lake.
Differences in Regulations
If you visit land managed by our parks and the neighboring land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, it is important to note some basic differences in regulations.
Activities That Are Not Permitted In Parks Or Forests
Last updated: October 10, 2023