Central Valley Lifestyle · Visalia/Tulare

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks reopen for visitors

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are reopening on Thursday after being closed for over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

However, the parks will undergo several changes in the initial reopening phase. 

The following facilities, services and features will be open: 

  • Entrance stations to distribute park newspapers and maps. 
  • Roads and parking lots. The national parks ask guests to only park in designated parking spaces. 
  • Trails in developed areas and designated wilderness. 
  • Overnight wilderness access with reservations only. The parks will not give out walk-up permits this summer. 
  • Restrooms and picnic areas. 

The National Parks Service reminds guests to spread out and follow social distancing guidelines and practices. 

The following facilities, services and features will be closed: 

  • Overnight campground accommodations. 
  • Visitor centers, bookstores, ranger stations and wilderness permit stations. 
  • Overnight lodging, restaurants, markets and gift shops. 
  • Guided horseback rides at Cedar Grove and Grant Grove. 

As the national parks reopen and continue into the summer, they will not operate the Sequoia Shuttle. 

Camp sites throughout the summer will require reservations only, and overnight wilderness permits will also require reservations. 

The Lodgepole Visitor Center will remain closed throughout the summer, Crystal Cave will not open for tours and the 2020 Dark Sky Festival is cancelled. 

“The health and safety of staff and visitors is our number one priority,” the parks said in a statement on their website. “We are working with the NPS Office of Public Health and the US Public Health Service to closely monitor the coronavirus situation. 

“In the meantime, we continue to remind our visitors to follow the CDC’s guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including maintaining social distancing, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and staying home if you are sick.” 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.