Sequoia-Kings Canyon: Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to enter the national parks?

Unless you have a public lands pass, the fee collected at the entrance station at Sequoia or Kings Canyon is $35 per vehicle. This paid fee provides access for seven days to Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and Giant Sequoia National Monument.

What temperature will it be?

Mountain weather can change quickly, and summer and winter weather might be experienced in the same day. In the summer, plan for warm days (65-75 degrees F.) and chilly nights (40-50 F.). Mostly likely, it will be sunny and warm during the day, but be sure to pack a rain jacket and/or umbrella, just in case. For up-to-date weather information, call the National Park Service’s 24-hour recording of road and weather information: (559) 565-3341 (press 9, then press 4).

Weather in the Sierra foothills (Three Rivers) and the Central Valley is hot during the summer months. Daytime temperatures will most likely be between 90 and 100 degrees (F.). As you travel to the higher elevations, the temperature can be as much as 20 degrees (F.) cooler.

Will GPS navigation work in Sequoia?

In recent years, navigating via GPS to Sequoia National Park has led some motorists astray. If traveling through Three Rivers to enter Sequoia, be sure to pay attention to signage and stay on Highway 198 until it becomes the Generals Highway at the Sequoia National Park entrance. If you’re getting mixed signals, trust the road signs, not GPS. Do not travel up North Fork Drive intending to reach the main entrance to Sequoia and do not turn onto Mineral King Road to reach Sequoia’s main entrance. It’s Highway 198 to the Sequoia National Park entrance station.

Is there cell service?

There is no cell service in the mountain locales of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In the Sierra foothills communities, cell service can be spotty and could depend on the cell provider. (For instance, AT&T works in Three Rivers, Verizon is spotty, and other providers won’t work.)

Where is there Wi-Fi access?

There is Wi-Fi available on at Wuksachi Lodge in the main lodge’s seating area, restaurant, and lounge. Plan on slow satellite Internet connection with limited bandwidth and no streaming capabilities. There is no Wi-Fi in the rooms at Wuksachi, but because of this, everyone can plan on a great connection… with family and friends!

Where is the closest gas station?

There are no gas stations in Sequoia or Kings Canyon national parks. Be sure to fill up before you go. Three Rivers (Highway 198) has two 24-hour-pay-at-the-pump gas stations: Chevron and Shell. You will pass both of them on your way to Sequoia. The small communities outside Kings Canyon National Park also have gas available.

Why is it so smoky?

There is a possibility that a fire could be burning somewhere in the vicinity that may create intermittent smoke. The National Park Service at Sequoia and Kings Canyon is proactive in minimizing wildfire risk, which poses a hazard for personal safety, property, and the ancient giant sequoia groves. Fire management crews ignite “prescribed fires” at various times throughout the summer and fall in an ongoing effort to reduce hazardous fuels buildup. While smoke is an unpleasant byproduct of these planned fires, diminishing air quality and obstructing the mountain views, the fires are a natural process that is a necessary part of land management in California to prevent a major forest fire.

What’s the difference between a national park and a national forest?

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks adjoin Giant Sequoia National Monument (which is managed by Sequoia National Forest). These different public lands have different rules and regulations. National parks are all about preservation of pristine areas. They focus on protecting natural and historic resources “unimpaired for future generations.” Rangers work for the National Park Service under the Department of Interior. National forests emphasize “multiple use” and are managed to provide recreational opportunities and commodities, including lumber and cattle grazing. Rangers work for the U.S. Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture. National parks and national forests have different rules.

Most pertinent is that dogs are allowed on national forest trails, but are not allowed on trails in national parks (such as Sequoia or Kings Canyon). In national parks, dogs must be on-leash at all times, never left unattended in a vehicle, and are allowed only in campgrounds and along roadways.

Are bears dangerous?

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are home to black bears (that can also be brown and blonde colored), so food, drinks, any other scented items, and ice chests should be hidden from view if unattended in a vehicle during the day or overnight. And never, EVER feed any wildlife. Not birds. Not chipmunks. Not marmots. Not deer. And especially not bears. “A fed bear is a dead bear.” You don’t want that on your conscience.

How can I see Sequoia without driving?

In summer, the Sequoia Shuttle offers four free bus routes serving destinations in and around the Giant Forest and Lodgepole area. Shuttles run seven days a week, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. All shuttle buses are wheelchair accessible. Information: 559-565-4436.

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