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California State Parks

USA Parks
Central Coast & Central Valley Region
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park © Ben Prepelka
Grizzly Falls
Kings Canyon National Park © Ben Prepelka
Knapps Cabin
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, California   93271-9651

Phone: 559-565-3341
These parks are home to giants: immense mountains, deep canyons, and huge trees. Thanks to their huge elevational range, 1,500' to 14,491', these parks protect stunningly diverse habitats. The Generals Highway climbs over 5000 feet from chaparral and oak-studded foothills to the awe-inspiring sequoia groves. From there, trails lead to the high-alpine wilderness which makes up most of these parks. Beneath the surface lie over 200 fascinating caverns.

Although Congress created these two parks at different times, Sequoia and Kings Canyon share miles of boundary and are managed as one park. Sequoia was the second national park designated in this country. General Grant National Park, the forerunner of Kings Canyon, was third.

As you explore this landscape of giants, do so in step with nature. Be aware that human activity may conflict with natural events. One example: human - bear interactions can result in problems for both players. Store all food properly and learn other ways to keep your parks healthy and wild.

And stay safe! Rivers are especially dangerous now. Several people have drowned this year, and there have been frightening rescues. Please be careful, and supervise children near any water. Enjoy a safe visit to these wonderful parks.
All park campgrounds are in black bear habitat, and proper food storage is required. Bears that learn to get human foods become destructive and aggressive and must be destroyed. Don't be part of this problem! Bring coolers that will fit in the bear-proof food-storage boxes provided at most campsites. For bear-box sizes, see details for each campground on the CAMPING page. In the park, look for instructions on food storage on bulletin boards and in the park newspaper.

Park campgrounds are located in the oak woodlands of the warm, dry foothills and in the higher, cooler conifer forests. They range in elevation from 2100 to 7500'. Lodgepole, Dorst, Sunset, Azalea, Crystal Springs, and Atwell campgrounds are near giant sequoia groves. Four campgrounds are open year-round.

Camping Limit: 14 days during the period from June 14 - September 15; 30 days total per year.

Facilities: Campgrounds have drinking water (except South Fork), tables, fire grills, garbage cans, and either pit or flush toilets. Most have bear-proof food storage that you must use. Availability of some of these facilities may be limited in winter. There are no hookups in these parks.

Road & Weather Information: Before visiting call 559-565-3341, then press 4. Conditions vary widely by elevation. Report is updated by 9:30 a.m. daily.

Reservations: Lodgepole and Dorst campgrounds in Sequoia National Park accept reservations up to five months in advance for the period of mid-May to mid-October. Contact 1-800-365-2267; international requests (301) 722-1257; TDD 1-888-530-9796; fax (301) 784-9079. 4 am - 4 pm PST. All other campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

For reservations at some U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, contact 1-877-444-6777; TDD 1-877-833-6777; international requests 1-518-885-3639.

Limits: Most campgrounds permit a maximum of one vehicle and six people per campsite (Potwisha permits two vehicles). Check bulletin boards for information on where to park extra vehicles.

Mid-sized-group Campsites (7-15): First-come, first-served, available only during the summer at Crystal Springs (in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon Park), and Canyon View (in the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon).

Large-group Campsites(>15): Available only during the summer, at Dorst (in Sequoia), Sunset (Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon), and Canyon View (Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon).
Cedar Grove Lodge (Kings Canyon Park Services): Open late April to mid-October.

Phone Reservations: 866-KCANYON

Details : Front desk 1-559-565-0100. Rooms in a lodge in Cedar Grove Village, deep in the canyon of Kings Canyon National Park. Counter-service restaurant, market, gift shop in building. Elevation 4600 feet (1402m).

Grant Grove Cabins & John Muir Lodge (Kings Canyon Park Services): Open All Year

Phone Reservations: 866-KCANYON

Details: Front desk: 1-559-335-5500. Modern rooms in the John Muir Lodge as well as rustic and housekeeping cabins, all in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park, 1/2-mile (.8km) to a sequoia grove. Visitor center, market, restaurant, gift shop, & post office nearby. Elevation 6500 feet (1980 m). In winter, you are least likely to encounter road closures enroute to Grant Grove if you enter the park on Highway 180.

Wuksachi Village (Delaware North Park Services): Open All Year

Phone Reservations: 1-888-252-5757

Details: In Sequoia National Park, 4 miles (6.5km) from Giant Forest; 23 miles (37km) from Sequoia Park entrance. Modern hotel rooms in several lodge buildings. Restaurant & gift shop nearby. Elevation 6500 feet (1980m). In winter, you are least likely to encounter road closures enroute to Wuksachi if you enter the park via Highway 198.

Backpacking, Hiking, and Rock Climbing:

Some 84% of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was designated as Wilderness under the 1984 California Wilderness Act. Currently, the parks are gathering information and public input in order to develop a Wilderness Management Plan for these areas.

For more details on planning a wilderness trip, see Backcountry Basics.

Food storage is required as black bears are at home in these parks. Their natural habitat is the forests and shrublands below 8000' (2438 meters), but they will frequently roam above these elevations in order to steal food from backpackers. Federal regulations require proper food storage and prohibit feeding of any park animal. Violations of these regulations will result in a fine of up to $5000. Even stronger than legal obligations is the moral responsibility to respect the wilderness you have come to enjoy. Careless food storage spells death for bears. When a bear repeatedly obtains human food and garbage, it becomes destructive and dangerous, and may have to be killed. You have entered the bears' territory; learn how to protect your food from bears, and don't let your carelessness destroy them in their own homes.

Wilderness permits are required for all overnight camping outside designated campgrounds. There is an overnight camping fee of $15 for permits issued by these parks. Permits are not required for day hikes, except in the Mt Whitney area. All hikers (even day hikers) to Mt. Whitney are required to obtain a permit.

Reservations: Quotas limit the number of people entering each trailhead on a single day. In the summer, the quotas on some popular trailheads are filled. To avoid this, you can reserve a permit in advance for trips between mid-May and September. We can accept backcountry reservations for the current year no earlier than March 1 and no later than 3 weeks before the start of your trip. All reservation requests must be faxed or mailed in. We regret that we are not set up to take backcountry reservations electronically at this time.

Groups are strongly recommended to use the reservation system. The maximum group size is 15 people per trailhead except for Redwood Canyon where the maximum size is 10.

All campers are expected to know and follow the regulations for minimum impact camping. This includes the fact that pets, weapons, and motorized or mechanical equipment are prohibited in national park backcountry.

Stock users, please read the updated Stock Use and Grazing Regulations (in .pdf format) and the minimum-impact stock-use regulations. Check the opening dates for grazing in meadows.

Horseback Riding:

There is one pack station and one stable in Kings Canyon National Park, and one pack station in nearby Sequoia National Forest. All are closed from late fall to spring, but exact dates vary. Each offers specific services; check with them for details and prices.

In Kings Canyon National Park:Cedar Grove Pack Station : 1-559-565-3464 (summer) : 1-559-337-2314 (off season)Grant Grove Stables : 1-559-335-9292 (summer) : 1-559-337-2314 (off season)

In Sequoia National Forest: Horse Corral:

PO Box 546

Woodlake, CA 93286

1-559-565-3404 (summer) : 559-564-6429 (off season) : 1-559-679-3573 (cell)
Area Attractions
National Park Service Areas Nearby:

Death Valley National Park

Yosemite National Park

Manzanar National Historic Site

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Channel Islands National Park

Devils Postpile National Monument

John Muir National Historic Site

Joshua Tree National Park

Other Attractions:

Giant Sequoia National Monument/Sequoia National Forest, (559)338-2251.

Sierra National Forest, (559)855-5360.

Inyo National Forest, (760)873-2500.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews


Plane : The closest commercial airports are in Fresno & Visalia.

Car : NOTE: Gasoline is not sold within park boundaries. Be sure to fill up in one of the towns near the park entrance OR at one of three locations in the national forest bordering part of the park: year-round at Hume Lake (near Grant Grove), and late spring into fall at Stony Creek (between Giant Forest and Grant Grove) or Kings Canyon Lodge (between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove).

To Sequoia Park entrance: from Highway 99 at Visalia take Highway 198 east for approximately 1 hour.

Note: The 16-miles of road from Ash Mountain to Giant Forest includes 130 curves and 12 switchbacks. Due to this, there is a vehicle-length advisory for the 12 steepest miles within that stretch. From Potwisha Campground to the Giant Forest Museum, the advised maximum vehicle length is 22 feet (6.7 m). The alternative: take Highway 180 from Fresno to Grant Grove, then turn south on the Generals Highway.

Maximum legal length limits on the Generals Highway are 40 feet (12 m) for single vehicles or 50 feet (15 m) for vehicles plus a towed unit. If you are towing a smaller vehicle, consider camping in the foothills and using the smaller car to explore.

To Kings Canyon Park entrance: from Highway 99 at Fresno take Highway 180 east approximately 1-1/4 hours.

PET OWNERS: Keep in mind that dogs are not permitted on park trails and it may be too hot to leave them in the car.

Bus : In Sequoia Park, the 16-miles of the Generals Highway from Ash Mountain to Giant Forest contains 130 curves and 12 switchbacks. There is a vehicle-length advisory for the 12 steepest miles within that stretch. From Potwisha Campground to the Giant Forest Museum, the advised maximum vehicle length is 22 feet (6.7 m). The alternative: take Highway 180 from Fresno to Grant Grove and turn south on the Generals Highway as far as the Giant Forest.

Maximum legal length limits on the Generals Highway are 40 feet (12 m) for single vehicles or 50 feet (15 m) for vehicles plus a towed unit.

Public Transportation: There is no public transportation to these parks.


California State Parks