California’s Sequoia National Park Postpones Opening of Giant Forest — Here's Why

Access to the forest is expected to reopen sometime between June 2 and June 9.

<p>Getty Images </p>

Getty Images

The famous Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park won’t reopen to the public until at least June as the National Park Service continues to work to clear snow and make road repairs to recover from a historic winter.

Access to the forest, where the famous 2,000-year-old General Sherman tree is located, is expected to reopen from Highway 180 through the Kings Canyon entrance station sometime between June 2 and June 9, while access from Highway 198 through the Sequoia entrance station is expected to reopen on July 1. The Crystal Cave will not reopen this year due to significant road damage along Crystal Cave Road, and vehicle access to Mineral King is not expected to reopen until at least August, and likely later than that.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks personnel continue to make progress with snow clearing, damage repairs, and all the various tasks associated with recovering from a historic winter season,” the National Park Service wrote in a statement. “Memorial Day weekend is the usual kick-off to summer in the parks, but unfortunately this year, access to the world’s largest tree (by volume) and the surrounding Giant Forest and Lodgepole area won’t be open in time.”

The NPS added: “Along the Generals Highway between Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park and Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park there are two sites with severe road damage… Based on repair assessments and snow clearing that still needs to happen, with only a couple weeks left before the holiday weekend, the difficult decision was made to postpone the reopening.”

It is still possible to visit the park as access to lower elevation camping, trails, wildflowers, rivers, and more in the Foothills area between the Sequoia entrance station and Hospital Rock are currently open. In Kings Canyon National Park, Grant Grove is also currently open and park goers can access the giant sequoias, including the General Grant tree, and more.

The NPS warned travelers who do plan to visit that rivers in the park are “very cold and very swift with fresh snowmelt” and that “the soil near and along the rivers is wet and unstable. It can collapse unexpectedly under the weight of people, including children, and result in falls into the river.”

This isn’t the first time the NPS has had to restrict access to the famous Giant Forest. In 2021, firefighters wrapped the massive General Sherman tree in aluminum-based burn-resistant material to protect it from a raging wildfire before finally welcoming visitors back a couple months later.

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