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Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks share overview of storm damage

Park officials also shared early estimates for reopening timelines
SEQUOIA TREE PICTURE.png
Posted at 3:45 PM, Mar 26, 2023

Leadership from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, in partnership with Tulare County and Caltrans, hosted a public meeting in Three Rivers, California Friday night.

Officials shared their current estimated time frames for reopening various areas of the parks to the public.

Roads and facilities in the parks have been badly damaged by the recent major winter storms, beginning with a weather event in early January and followed by a succession of weather events this month.

"Recovery from this year's weather events is going to be a long haul," Clay Jordan, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks superintendent, said in a press release.

According to a press release, park officials at the meeting stressed that there are still many unknowns that are likely to change these dates, and plan to issue regular updates to their projections.  

Damage assessments are still in progress, but so far include nearly 20 areas of significant damage along the Generals Highway from Sequoia to Kings Canyon. Repairs and restoration of public access to many of these areas of the parks will require contracted highway construction crews.

This means one-lane access for park personnel and residents now, and at least some level of impacted traffic flow after public reopening. Mineral King Road has also sustained significant damage, both inside and outside the park boundary.

Caltrans is reporting major road damage on sections of Highway 180 leading into Cedar Grove. In areas such as Cedar Grove, Crystal Cave, and Mineral King, park personnel have not yet gained sufficient access to have a thorough understanding of the obstacles to reopening.  

Given all the unknown variables, the current projected reopening timeframes are as follows:  

Kings Canyon National Park  
Grant Grove (Access to giant sequoias, the General Grant Tree, winter snowplay, camping, lodging, trails, and more)  

  • Current Status: Closed  
  • Estimated Reopening: April 14, contingent upon the completion of major road repairs outside the park along Highway 180 west of the park boundary  

Cedar Grove (Access to wilderness, camping, lodging, river, waterfalls, trails, and more)  

  • Current Status: Closed for the winter season  
  • Estimated Reopening: Not currently available, as it is dependent upon the completion of major road repairs outside the park on Highway 180 between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove  

Sequoia National Park  
The Foothills area between the Sequoia entrance station and Hospital Rock Picnic Area (Access to lower elevation camping, trails, wilderness, rivers, and more. No access to giant sequoias)  

  • Current status: closed  
  • Estimated reopening: April 7-14  

The Giant Forest/Wolverton Snowplay Area/Lodgepole/Wuksachi Areas (access to giant sequoias, the General Sherman Tree, winter snowplay, camping, lodging, wilderness, Moro Rock, Tunnel Log, and more)  

  • Current status: closed  
  • Access via Highway 180 through the Kings Canyon entrance station  
    Estimated reopening: May 26-June 16  
  • Access via Highway 198 through the Sequoia entrance station  
    Estimated reopening: sometime in June 2023  

Crystal Cave  

  • Current status: Closed  for the winter season
  • Estimated reopening: not currently available  

Mineral King  

  • Current status: closed  
  • Estimated reopening: not currently available, as it is dependent upon the completion of major road repairs below the park boundary  

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