Sequoia-Kings Canyon facilities open for summer

 

It’s not unusual to see “Campground Full” or “No Vacancy” signs up in the nearby national parks and in Three Rivers for the Memorial Day weekend. The first three-day weekend of the busy tourist season is the traditional kickoff to summer in Kaweah Country.

What’s different this year is that another mild winter has provided a kickstart to the visitor season as several tourist-dependent businesses have already posted record March activity, and April was even better.

Lynn Bretz, owner of Reimer’s Candies and Gifts in Three Rivers, said that the early Easter this year was also a factor.

“We’re up this season at all three of our locations: Three Rivers, Avila Beach, and Oakhurst,” he reported. “Reimer’s experienced a spike in business right before Easter (April 5), and that trend has continued.”

A quick survey of area lodging shows nary an available room for Saturday and Sunday nights and that includes the Silver City Resort in the Mineral King area, Wuksachi Lodge (Sequoia), and John Muir Lodge (Grant Grove). First-come, first-served campgrounds like Cold Springs and Atwell Mill in the Mineral King area, South Fork in Sequoia, Sunset in Grant Grove, and the four campgrounds in Cedar Grove are all expected to fill by noon on Friday. 

Dana Dierkes, spokesperson for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, is reporting that all campgrounds except Dorst (in Sequoia) are open and fully operational. There are no road closures and no road construction delays.

The only thing that could possibly put a damper on an otherwise perfect weekend is a moist weather system that is expected to make its way across the Sierra Nevada and into the Great Basin on Saturday. Snow is forecast for the high country but is not expected to hamper travel on the Generals Highway or in the Mineral King area.

Backpackers should be prepared for wintry conditions at elevations above 9,000 feet. Campers in the developed campgrounds might experience some rain and cloudy conditions on Saturday, May 23, with clearing and sunny skies Sunday and Monday. 

For the latest road and weather conditions and fire restrictions, visit the parks’ website at www.nps.gov/seki or call (559) 565-3341.

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