The towering sequoias in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park will reopen to the public on select days until the end of the year, as part of the park’s phased reopening following wildfires

Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest is home to the largest trees in the world, including the tree that draws in visitors from around the globe: General Sherman. More than 2,500 years old, General Sherman stretches 275 feet (83m) tall and is the world's largest living tree by volume.

The section of the park closed in mid-September due to wildfires sparked from a lightning storm. The park recorded more than 200 nearby lightning strikes during that storm. The fire that grew out of those strikes burned more than 88,000 acres. Most of that occurred within Sequoia and neighboring Kings Canyon National Parks. As the wildfire threatened Giant Forest, firefighters worked swiftly to prevent the destruction of the giant sequoias by wrapping General Sherman and the other trees in fire-resistant blankets.

US National Park Service (NPS) and US Forest Service (USFS) personnel unwrap the General Sherman during the KNP Complex Fire in October © AFP via Getty Images

Though the wildfires continue to smolder, they were contained enough that the foothills portion of Sequoia National Park reopened to the public on November 11. 

“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.

Along with limited access to Giant Forest, parts of the park remain closed. While you can access Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow by foot, the respective roads are closed to vehicle traffic. Lodgepole and the road connecting Sequoia and Kings Canyon Park also remain closed. The park does not expect those parts of the park to reopen before spring 2022. 

Read more: Introducing California's National Parks

When is Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park open?

The park will open the forest on select days in December and January from 8 am to sunset.

Those days are:

  • Saturday, December 11
  • Sunday, December 12 (This is a fee-free day at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks)
  • Friday, December 17
  • Saturday, December 18
  • Sunday, December 19
  • Monday, December 20
  • Friday, December 24 – Monday, January 3, 2022

The Sequoia Shuttle will operate from December 24 through January 2, 2022.  After the holidays, the park will evaluate and announce if it needs to continue to limit the number of days Giant Forest is accessible. 

What should I know before I visit Giant Forest?

While the Giant Forest Museum will be open for visitors, there will be no food or water available in Giant Forest. Make sure you take along any snacks and water you might need and, as always, pack out anything you take in.

The park expects winter weather for the first weekend of reopening. All vehicles, even those with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, must carry tire chains in chain control areas. 

In the event of severe weather, rock or debris fall, or other hazardous, the park could close Generals Highway between the Sequoia entrance and Giant Forest. Make sure to check the park's current conditions before your visit. 

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