Sequoia National Park now open for daytime outings

Sequoia National Park roads, trails, restrooms and picnic areas are open but campgrounds are not expected to open until after 4th of July holiday

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARKS, CALIF. – Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are open to daytime activities just in time for summer break and Father’s Day.

On June 4, the National Park Service announced that roads, trails, restrooms, and picnic areas in Sequoia and Kings Canyon are open. The opening also included entrance stations and parking lots. Key Changes to 2020 Summer Season include Sequoia Shuttle and Lodgepole Visitor Center canceling their entire summer seasons, Crystal Cave is closed to tours and the 2020 Dark Sky Festival has been canceled. There will also not be any walk-up camp site reservations nor walk-up wilderness permit reservations.

Campgrounds are not expected to open until after the 4th of July weekend. This date may be extended as the parks increase access in phases. All campground reservations have been canceled in order to allow the parks to adapt operations and create a more safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. Reservation holders will receive an email with details and a full refund through recreation.gov. In order to ensure that public health guidelines are met when camping in the parks, many campsites will remain closed for the season to ensure proper distancing between sites.

Ahead of campgrounds reopening, the public will be able to once again make reservations for the remainder of the 2020 season. Some campgrounds that previously allowed for walk-up camping will be added to recreation.gov to increase the number of sites available for online reservations, and will allow for online payment, reducing in-person contact. All camping for the 2020 summer season will require a reservation made prior to visiting. No new camping reservations are being accepted at this time. Group camping has been suspended for the 2020 camping season. All group camping reservations have been canceled and refunds have been issued.

Reservations for overnight wilderness permits will be required ahead of park entry and no walk-up permits will be available this summer. Existing wilderness permit reservations are not canceled. 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.

Overnight accommodations, visitors center, lodging, markets and gift shops, ranger and permit stations, and pack stations are still closed.

The parks’ phased approach centers on protecting employees and the public from transmission risks through a variety of mitigation actions consistent with local, state and federal guidance. Key features and experiences will be accessible, including access to Giant Sequoia groves and High Sierra wilderness. Visitors will be encouraged to disperse and recreate responsibly. The parks will actively monitor changing conditions in the parks and surrounding counties and will maintain flexibility to adjust operations as conditions warrant.

“Our goal is to open safely and cautiously, and in a manner that reduces risk to our employees and visitors while helping local economies begin to recover,” Superintendent Woody Smeck said. “We ask visitors to please recreate responsibly, arrive prepared, and take advantage of the many tools in place to have an enjoyable and safe visit to these parks.”

The parks have implemented a range of mitigation actions based on CDC guidance, that includes encouraging the use of face coverings when social distance cannot be maintained, increasing cleaning frequency of facilities, adding signage at trailheads and restrooms, and increasing safety and trip planning messaging to visitors through a variety of methods.

Park Planning

• Begin with the park website. Here you will find the latest 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 be sure to download offline content so that you can use the app where cell phone service is limited.

• Follow us on social media @SequoiaKingsNPS as we provide tips for a successful visit in these new conditions and phased reopening.

• Refer to the park newspaper you receive upon entering the parks. This will be the best resource available during your visit in this first phase. You can 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 new Spanish translations included!

•Area information and maps will be posted outside visitor centers.

• We encourage visitors to review tips for recreating responsibly at www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/recreate-responsibly.htm.

• When fee collection resumes, we highly encourage everyone to purchase a park pass in advance through www.recreation.gov, or be prepared to pay with a credit/debit card.

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