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Sequoia/Kings Canyon Wilderness

Sequoia and Kings Canyon Wilderness

This Wilderness is managed by:

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Additional resources can be found on:

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon Wilderness Pages

Here lies the heart of the Sierra Nevada Wilderness. Almost completely surrounded by other designated Wilderness areas, some 84% of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was designated as Wilderness under the 1984 California Wilderness Act (pdf file)

To the west, the park descends to dry foothills of oak and chaparral toward the San Joaquin Valley. To the south runs the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, as well as the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Kern River. To the east stands the crest of the Sierra Nevada and the highest mountain in the Lower 48, Mount Whitney at 14,495 feet, shared with John Muir Wilderness. Across the heart of the area runs Kings Canyon at depths virtually unparalleled, prompting Muir to dub it “a rival to Yosemite.” It is cut by the Wild and Scenic South Fork of the Kings River, which flows out of the park to meet with the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Kings River.

Enjoying the Sequoia-Kings Canyon Wilderness

Maximum Group Size

The maximum group size is 15 people per party at all trailheads except for Redwood Canyon where the maximum size is 10. Maximum number of stock allowed per party is 20. Some areas have lower limits for stock. Be sure to check Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s stock use regulations. why?

Wilderness Permits

Wilderness permits are required for all overnight camping outside designated campgrounds. Why? There is a $15.00 backcountry camping fee for all parties. Permits are not required for day hikes, except in the Mt. Whitney area. All hikers (even day hikers) to Mt. Whitney are required to obtain a permit.

Quotas limit the number of people entering each trailhead on a single day. In the summer, the quotas on some popular trailheads are filled. To avoid this, you can reserve a permit in advance for trips between mid-May and September. Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks can accept backcountry reservations for the current year no earlier than March 1st and no later than 3 weeks before the start of your trip. All reservation requests must be faxed or mailed in.

Campfires

Wood fires are permitted in Kings Canyon National Park below 10,000 feet (3050 meters) except in Granite Basin and Redwood Canyon. Why?

  • Fires are permitted in the Kaweah Drainage of Sequoia National Park below 9000 feet (2743 meters) except in Hamilton Lakes and Mineral King Valley above Mineral King Ranger Station.
  • Fires are permitted in the Kern Drainage of Sequoia National Park below 11,200 feet (3414 meters) with some exceptions.
  • Use only existing fire rings; do not build new ones.
  • Do not add rocks to existing rings.
  • Use only dead and down firewood.
  • Never leave fires unattended.
  • Burning aluminum foil or foil-lined packets is prohibited. Don’t burn plastic—the fumes are toxic.
  • Put out fires 1/2 hour before leaving by adding water and stirring the ashes. Don’t use dirt to put out fires.

Bears and Food Storage

Black bears are smart, motivated, and relentless when it comes to getting the calories they need to survive in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Wilderness. When bears repeatedly obtain human food and garbage, they may become destructive and dangerous and must be killed. To prevent this, follow these regulations: Why?

  • Food must be stored properly any time you are not preparing and eating it. Store anything with an odor (soap, sunscreen, garbage) the same as food.
  • Food and related supplies (coolers, etc.) left at trailheads must be stored in metal food storage boxes where provided. If none are available, ask a ranger for alternatives. Items left in vehicles attract bears; property damage can result.
  • Some backcountry locations have metal food storage boxes.
  • Light-weight, bear-proof canisters may be rented at Lodgepole, Mineral King or Cedar Grove.
  • If these are not available, you must post a 24-hour guard or use the counterbalance method of hanging food. Camp near hanging food to better defend it.
  • If a bear gets your food, you must pack out all debris.

To learn more about visiting bear country check out Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s Bear Information Page on the park’s website.

Pets

Pets are prohibited in national park backcountry.

Sequoia/Kings Canyon Wilderness

Other Considerations

  • Stock users, please read the minimum-impact stock-use regulations. Check opening dates for grazing in meadows.

Contact

Wilderness Permit Reservations
HCR 89 Box 60
Three Rivers, CA 93271
For information call (559) 565-3766