Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Operating Hours & Seasons

 

Mist Falls - Kings Canyon National Park

Mist Falls – Kings Canyon National Park (Photo credit: n4rwhals)

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are open throughout the year, 24 hours every day for a whole 365 days (or even 366), just so long as the weather permits it. The parks are usually busiest during the months of July and August when campsites fill us, especially on the weekends and holidays.

These parks have a pretty extreme elevation range which means that the weather can be different from day to day and area to area. Here’s a basic guide of what to expect on your visit to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the various seasons throughout the year.

Springtime in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Springtime is between April and June time, and there’s often still snow around in the Sequoia groves. The rivers and creeks run quickly during these months and are particularly dangerous and cold. One real bonus of visiting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the spring time is the abundance of beautiful wild flowers which carpet the foothills.

Summertime in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Summertime is really from July until the middle of September. By July the snow on the High Sierra passes has usually melted and the majority of the park facilities and programs are in operation including the Crystal Cave tours. The park foothills are dry and very hot in the summertime, making a dip in the rivers a tempting prospect, but be careful, they are very dangerous. The temperatures in the Sequoia Groves are usually much more comfortable.

Fall in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

From mid September until November, night time can get mighty chilly in the Sequoia groves and you can expect light snowfalls any time from late October. Many of the parks facilities will either have reduced hours or close altogether and there are less ranger programs. The foothills also cool down considerably, and my November the rains will probably have started. The Crystal Cave tours finish for the season in October.

Winter in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Wintertime is from approximately November until April. During the wintertime you’ll find the Sequoia groves peaceful, cold and snowy. The foothills are green and cool, and the wildflowers can start to blossom as early as January. The sound of the peace is quite deafening.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Visitor Centers and Facilities

There are a number of visitor centers and ranger stations in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, some are open year round, some are not.

Sequoia National Park Visitor Centers

  • Foothills Visitor Center – is open daily between 8am and 4.30pm. It is located a little to the north of the Ash Mountain Entrance on Generals Highway.
  • Giant Forest Museum – closes during the winter time and re-opens in the spring. It is located within the old market building, around 16 miles from the Ash Mountain Entrance.
  • Lodgepole Visitor Center – is open daily between 8am and 4.30pm in the summer. Winter hours are from 9am until 4.30pm Fridays – Mondays, starting from December.
  • Mineral King Ranger Station – closes during the winter time and re-opens in the spring. It is located around 24 miles from the intersection of Highway 198 in Three Rivers on the Mineral King Road. This road is not suitable for buses, RV’s or trailers.
Kings Canyon National Park Visitor Centers
  • Kings Canyon Visitor Center – is open every day between 9am and 4.30pm, closes for lunch between 12 noon and 1pm. It’s located within Grant Grove Village which is approximately 3 miles to the east of Big Stump Entrance, Hwy 180.
  • Cedar Grove Visitor Center – is now closed until the Spring of 2013. It’s located 30 miles to the east of Grant Grove on Highway 180.
  • Roads End Wilderness Permit Station – is 6 miles to the east of Cedar Grove, end of Hwy 180.
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