- By kevin
- On May 10, 2018
- North America
- Travel Tips
Home to some of the tallest trees in the world, Sequoia National Park is a humbling place to visit. With the magnificent trees towering hundreds of feet above you, it's easy to feel small in comparison. Arrange your San Francisco Sequoia National Park vacation by our travel guide, to learn the best times to visit Sequoia National Park.
Best Times to Visit Sequoia National Park:
The best time to visit Sequoia National Park is June through August when the weather is the most stable. The park is open 24/7, year-round, but there are certain challenges during select seasons, such as when it snows in December and snow chains or tires are required for safely navigating park roads. Beginning in September, the park reduces its ranger-led programming and certain facilities cut their hours. Some parts of the park, such as the Mineral King and Cedar Grove areas, close entirely due to access issues.
The busiest time of the year for the park is usually during the summer. The shade the sequoias offer is a welcome relief from the sun. While temperatures throughout the park vary depending on elevation, lows are typically in the 50s and highs are in the mid-70s in the sequoia groves this time of year. Plus, from late May through early to mid-September, the Sequoia Shuttle transports visitors (for a fee) from the nearby towns of Visalia and Three Rivers, up Highway 198 to the Giant Forest Museum in Sequoia National Park. During the summertime, there is also a free in-park shuttle that offers rides in the park's Giant Forest, Lodgepole, Wuksachi and Dorst Creek Campground areas.
The weather starts to become a bit unpredictable in the fall, with cool nights and warm days and as early as October, light snowfall is possible. Some park facilities may begin to reduce their hours or close altogether. The park also offers fewer ranger programs. Plus, the Mineral King and Cedar Grove areas close for the season.
If you plan to visit during this time, tire chains might be required. Predicting the snowfall is tricky, so it's best to be prepared. That said, walking through the magnificent sequoias blanketed in snow can be magical. During the winter holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are free shuttles in the Giant Forest area. The shuttle offers service between the Giant Forest Museum and the Wuksachi Lodge and Restaurant, with stops at the General Sherman Tree, Lodgepole and Wolverton Snowplay Area. Note that winter shuttles only operate within Sequoia National Park; there are no shuttles in Kings Canyon National Park. The park updates conditions daily, so visit its website for current information.
There can still be snow on the ground in April, depending on the elevation, and rivers and creeks run fast and cold. On the bright side, hikers love this time of year thanks to the wealth of wildflowers that bloom in the foothills. Shuttle service will start back up in late May.