Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Initiating Second Phase of Increased Recreational Access

Sintia Kawasaki-Yee
Public Affairs Officer

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are increasing recreational access to include three campgrounds and limited concession services following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities.

The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities, and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

“Our intention is to continue to increase access safely while maintaining the flexibility to adjust operations as conditions change,” acting Superintendent Lee Taylor said. “We’ve implemented a range of mitigation actions based on CDC guidance, but we also rely on visitors to recreate responsibly by dispersing and wearing face coverings at popular sites where social distancing cannot be maintained.”

Beginning Monday, July 6 the following will be available:
•Camping at Potwisha, Lodgepole and Sunset campgrounds with reservations only. The reservation site www.recreation.gov will go live on Monday, June 29 at 7 a.m. PST. Reservations for these three campgrounds will be available through summer, with more campgrounds being added as conditions allow in the coming weeks and months.

Announcements will be made when more campgrounds are ready to be added. No first-come, first-served camping will be available this summer. Please refer to our website for more information about reservations and changes to availability this summer.

The following continues to be available:

•Entrance stations for distribution of the park newspaper and map.

•Roads and parking lots throughout both parks. Visitors should only park in designated parking spaces, if a parking lot is full, refer to the park newspaper for other options.

•Trails in developed areas and designated wilderness; if a trail is congested, please consider visiting another location with fewer people.

•Overnight wilderness access with reservations made ahead of park entry. No walk-up permits will be available this summer. No wilderness permit stations will be open. Bear canister rentals may not be available in the parks but continue to be required in many areas.

•Restrooms and picnic areas. Please practice proper food storage, and per CDC guidance practice social distancing and frequent hand washing.

•Limited overnight lodging, markets, to-go food and beverage services and gift shops operated by the concessioner, Delaware North. Please refer to www.visitsequoia.com for more information.

•Guided horseback rides at Cedar Grove and Grant Grove operated by the concessioner, Cedar Grove Pack Station. Please refer to www.cedargrovepackstation.com or www.grantgrovestables.com for more information.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed:
•Visitor center exhibits and films, bookstores, ranger stations and wilderness permit stations.

•Dine-in restaurants and public showers and laundry operated by the concessioner, Delaware North.
Take advantage of these tools to help plan a positive Sequoia and Kings Canyon experience:

•Begin with the park website at www.nps.gov/seki. Here you will find the latest COVID-19 updates, a downloadable Junior Ranger Book, a digital park newspaper, a printable passport book stamp, and more.

•Download the free park mobile app. Search for NPS Sequoia & Kings Canyon in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Use this for maps, self-guided tours and information about nearly 200 park features and locations. Download before you leave home and use in the park even if cell service is limited.

•We highly encourage everyone to pay entrance fees or purchase a park pass in advance through www.recreation.gov, or be prepared to pay with a credit/debit card. Arrive before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid long lines at the entrance gates.

•Refer to the park newspaper you receive upon entering the parks. You will find a list of trails to enjoy for each district of the parks, a parking lot map for the Giant Forest, road construction delay schedule, safety information, and more, with Spanish translations included!

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. While many areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, and high-risk outdoor activities.

They should also come prepared with food, water, hand sanitizer and face coverings. People who are sick should stay home. The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Visitors can protect themselves and others by skipping areas that are too crowded and always maintaining social distance from other people, including park staff.

Road construction along Wolverton Road in Giant Forest and along the General’s Highway from the northern boundary of Sequoia National Park through the Highway 180 intersection in Grant Grove continues this summer.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted to our website, www.nps.gov/seki, and social media channels @SequoiaKingsNPS. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.