Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park to reopen months after closure due to wildfire

California
Assistant Fire Manager Leif Mathiesen, of the Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nation Park Fire Service, looks for an opening in the burned-out sequoias from the Redwood Mountain Grove which was devastated by the KNP Complex fires earlier in the year in the Kings Canyon National Park, Calif., Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

Assistant Fire Manager Leif Mathiesen, of the Sequoia & Kings Canyon Nation Park Fire Service, looks for an opening in the burned-out sequoias from the Redwood Mountain Grove which was devastated by the KNP Complex fires earlier in the year in the Kings Canyon National Park, Calif., Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

The Giant Forest at Sequoia National Park will reopen to the public Saturday nearly three months after it was closed when the KNP Complex Fire burned through the historic tree groves.

Members of the public will be able to access the area on a limited schedule as part of a phased reopening.

The Giant Forest will initially be open four days per week, from 8 a.m. until sunset. There will then be seven-day access between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

However, a series of winter storms will affect this reopening weekend.

The Generals Highway between the Sequoia entrance and Giant Forest may be closed at any time if there are hazardous conditions due to inclement weather, including rocks or debris falling. Tire chains may also be required at any time.

Here’s the current planned reopening schedule, which could changed based on weather conditions:

  • Saturday, Dec. 11 – Sunday, Dec. 12: open (only two days due to winter weather) 
  • Monday, Dec. 13 – Thursday, Dec. 16: closed 
  • Friday, Dec. 17 – Monday, Dec. 20: open 
  • Tuesday, Dec. 21 – Thursday, Dec. 23: closed 
  • Thursday, Dec. 24 – Monday, Jan. 3: open 
(Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks)
(Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks)

This reopening extends from Hospital Rock to just above the intersection with Wolverton Road. The Giant Forest Museum will also be open for visitor information and retail services.

The Sequoia Shuttle will be operating in the Giant Forest during the holidays from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2. 

The damaging wildfires

This Giant Forest has been closed to the public since mid-September, when the KNP Complex Fire ripped through more than 88,000 acres, mostly within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  

In the past two years, lightning-sparked wildfires have killed a minimum of nearly 10,000 giant sequoia trees in California, accounts for 13% to 19% of native sequoias, according to Sequoia National Park.

The General Sherman tree — the largest living thing on earth — and other ancient trees were wrapped in foil blankets to protect against this year’s wildfire.

“We have been working hard to restore access to the Giant Forest as quickly as we responsibly can, and we thank everyone for their patience and flexibility with the limited access that we’re currently able to provide,” said Clay Jordan, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Visitors returning this weekend were warned that there is currently no potable water or food available in Giant Forest, so they should plan to bring all the water and food that they will need during their visit.

Update on road closures and trails

Many trails at the Giant Forest, including the Congress Trail, were not affected by the fire.

Some trails will be open with warnings, while other badly affected trails will stay closed. 

Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road will be closed to vehicles but open for pedestrian access to Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow.

Lodgepole and the road between the parks will also remain closed.

The highway to Giant Forest will be gated and locked at Hospital Rock on the days that the Giant Forest is closed.

The foothills of Sequoia National Park remain open seven days a week between the entrance station and Hospital Rock, as does Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. 

For the most current road conditions, including information about tire chain controls, call the parks’ information line at 559-565-3341 and press 1 then 1 again.

Maps of what will open or remain closed can be found at go.nps.gov/SEKIconditions

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