HomeOutdoorsParksSequoia National Park Officials Reopen Giant Forest to the Public

Sequoia National Park Officials Reopen Giant Forest to the Public

by Jon D. B.
Sequoia National Park reopens
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 22: The Sentinel tree. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As Sequoia National Park completes repairs following California’s devastating winter storms, visitors will finally be able to return to the Giant Forest.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Giant Forest will re-open to the public following the partial rebuilding of the Generals Highway, the National Park Service (NPS) confirms for AP. Sequoia’s iconic grove, home to some of the most majestic and enormous trees on the planet, would close in January amid severe storm damage. That damage continues to impact the park.

According to officials, one section of the highway will remain a single lane. Two-lane travel will not resume until May after further construction. So if you’re looking to head back to the Giant Forest, prepare for possible traffic delays.

In addition, winter weather remains a distinct possibility for the forest, as it resides in a high elevation of Sequoia National Park. Officials also advise visitors to expect snow/icy conditions that may require tire chains.

There is one section of road between Sequoia and neighboring Kings Canyon, however, that will remain closed for the season despite repair work.

Sequoia National Park Recovers From Catastrophic California Storms

“As with most of California, we are seeing precipitation that rivals all other storms experienced by long-term park employees in at least 30 years,” Clay Jordan, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, said amidst the storms in mid-January.

Sequoia National Park road damaged by California storms
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. January 12, 2023. (Photo credit: (NPS, SEKI media release)

“What is unique and causing more challenges this year is a landscape that is still recovering from the 2021 KNP Complex fires,” Jordan added. “We’re seeing erosion, mud flows, rock slides and severe damage to our roadways and infrastructure [as a result]. Park staff and equipment are really being pushed to the max to minimize damage and impacts to visitor access.”

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI) would see extraordinary amounts of precipitation throughout January, causing serious drainage failures and undermining the road at three different sections of the Generals Highway between Hospital Rock and Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. Road closures would remain throughout January into February as crews worked to protect the integrity of park byways before more storms hit.

“We are sensitive to the effects that park closures have on our local communities and will keep everyone informed as the situation develops,” Superintendent Jordan added at the time.

Damage assessment is ongoing in collaboration with Federal Highways Administration engineers. Major repairs are necessary before it will be safe to completely reopen the full two-lane Generals Highway to the public for 2023.

For more information, current conditions and closures, visit the parks’ NPS website here. And remember, “Know before you go!” to any U.S. national park. SEKI advises calling (559) 565-3341 (1,1) for current road conditions and tire chain restrictions before visiting.