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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Sequoia National Park in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Sequoia National Park in 2024

What's the best time to visit Sequoia National Park?

The best time to visit Sequoia National Park is in the summer, when the weather is pleasant, all areas and amenities are fully accessible, and a range of activities are available. Despite the potential for crowds, the cooler temperatures in the sequoia groves offer a respite from the heat. This season allows for the fullest exploration of the park, including the use of free shuttle buses for convenient travel.

Sequoia National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks even within the amazing United States park system. The main reason to visit is to see the spectacular sequoia trees (which is obvious from the name).

These massive trees grow in few other places in the world and visiting the General Sherman Tree or the Giant Forest will take your breath away. The rest of the scenery is impressive as well, such as Tokopah Falls and Crescent Meadow.

You want to see the sequoias in their full majesty, which is why it’s important to time your visit properly. Here’s a quick guide to the best time to visit this national park.

Overall Best Time to Visit Sequoia National Park

People camping in the forest during the best time to visit Sequoia National Park

Virrage Images/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Sequoia National Park is the summer, when the weather is the most pleasant and the park is open to its full capacity.

Since Sequoia National Park and nearby Kings Canyon National Park cover acres of land across drastic changes in elevation, the weather forecast differs depending on where exactly in the park you are visiting.

In general, the park is characterized by four distinct seasons, including cold winters and warm, mild summers. The most popular place to visit is the Sequoia Groves, which has pleasant temperatures even on the hottest days of the summer.

According to the official Sequoia National Park website, average high temperatures even at the height of summer are a pleasant 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is only a little rain during this season, usually the result of high heat leading to a thunderstorm. While many national parks are too hot in the summer to explore properly, most of Sequoia National Park is at its most pleasant during this time.

The Foothills are much hotter, reaching temperatures in the 90s, but the sequoia groves offer a pleasant place to cool down on a California summer.

The other benefit of visiting in the summer is that you’re guaranteed to find the whole park open. In the winter, and even into early spring and late fall, the area around the sequoias receives plenty of snowfall, closing vital roads.

In the summer, all roads and trails are open, including the famous General’s Highway, which is a scenic driving route that takes you through the most important locations in the park.

Other amenities are also fully open in the summer. All visitor centers, campgrounds, and areas of the park are open, including those that normally close for the winter. During the summer, the park operates free shuttle buses for getting around within the grounds.

This is the only season when you can conceivably visit the park without a car, because the Sequoia Shuttle, a paid bus from the nearby town of Visalia, only runs from late May to early September.

There are also the most activities within the park during the summer. Most ranger programming occurs during this season, so you can enjoy guided walks including moonlight walks, visitor center talks, and more.

This is especially great for kids, who can learn more about the park from a ranger than on their own. Do keep in mind that summer is the most popular time to visit Sequoia National Park, so you may encounter crowds.

Cheapest Time to Visit Sequoia National Park

Log path pictured during the Cheapest Time to Visit Sequoia National Park


The cheapest time to visit Sequoia National Park is in the winter, which is the off-season for the park, meaning that you get discounts on many costs. Many costs associated with visiting Sequoia National Park stay the same all year round.

The entrance pass is $20 to $35 no matter what time of year you visit. Camping fees are also the same all year round and there are two campgrounds that remain open in the winter.

If you’d rather sleep indoors, then the cheapest time to visit is in the winter. Accommodation in the nearby town of Visalia is usually cheaper in the winter, especially in January, February, and March after the holiday rush is over.

Winter is the cheapest time to visit if you’re coming from out of state because it’s the cheapest time to visit California overall.

Flights into Fresno, the closest airport, are cheapest in January and February. To save money, you may want to fly into a larger state airport, like San Francisco, then drive to the park. Car rentals are usually discounted during the off-season as well.

Least Busy Time to Visit Sequoia National Park

Big Arroyo Creek pictured in the Winter during the Least Busy Time to Visit Sequoia National Park


While winter is the least busy time in absolute terms to visit Sequoia National Park, the best time to visit to beat the crowds and explore the park comfortably is in the spring or fall.

Spring is actually the best time to visit The Foothills, a low-lying area of the park that takes you through chaparral and brush landscapes.

This area of the park can get brutally hot in the summer but has temperatures that are warm and pleasant in the spring (about 70 degrees by April). The hills are covered with bright wildflowers in late March and April.

The fall is also beautiful in the park, although the sequoias are evergreen so you shouldn’t expect any dramatic fall foliage. While some parts of the park begin to shut down, the main roads stay open for the season.

There are some interesting events during this season, like the Dark Sky Festival in September, which celebrates the beautiful night sky. For the most part, you will have the park to yourself.

Worst Time to Visit Sequoia National Park

Snowy roads pictured during the Worst Time to Visit Sequoia National Park


Sequoia National Park is open all year round, but the worst time to visit is in the winter. However, good preparation can yield a rewarding experience. Even though the park is located in California, keep in mind that areas like the Sequoia Groves are at fairly high elevations.

That means that winters are cold and snowy. Temperatures dip well below freezing at night, although they stay in the low 40s during the day in the groves.

Like most national parks, good chunks of Sequoia National Park are closed for the season in winter. Many popular trails and routes close down in the winter because they are blocked by snow, so always check current conditions before planning your trip.

However, Sequoia is livelier in the winter than many other parks and there is still plenty to do. During select winter weekends, the park operates shuttles so you can even visit without driving.

There are fewer ranger programming options, but you may still catch a guided tour or a snowshoe walk. Plus, you’ll get to see the stark beauty of the park in winter with few other visitors to disturb you.

In recent years, late summer and early fall may have become the worst time to visit Sequoia National Park due to the risk of wildfires.

Wildfire season in California is getting more intense due to climate change, which has unfortunately taken its toll on its national parks as well. Wildfires over the past few years have burnt down one-fifth of the park’s total trees and can endanger visitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Walking path through the Sequoia National Park, as seen during the best time to go


Here are some of the most common questions that people have asked about visiting Sequoia National Park:

How many days do you need in Sequoia National Park?

If you just want to see the sequoias and go home, you only need one day. To see the rest of the park and go on a few hikes, you need about three days.

Should I go to Sequoia or Kings Canyon?

If you only have a day, go to Sequoia. If you have more than a day, you should visit both since they’re so close that it would be a shame not to.

Is Sequoia National Park still worth visiting?

Sequoia National Park is still worth visiting, thanks to the majesty of its sequoia groves even if they’ve been damaged by fire.

How late can you enter Sequoia National Park?

You can enter the park whenever you want, but we recommend entering a few hours before sunset to get the best experience.

Is Sequoia Park free?

Sequoia Park has an entry fee of $35 per private car and $20 per person, which is standard for U.S. national parks.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Sequoia National Park?

Although it’s the most popular time to visit, summer is also the best time to visit Sequoia National Park. Temperatures in the sequoia groves are pleasantly warm but not too hot, and all areas of the park are open. However, there is a wildfire risk during this time and you can beat it and the crowds by visiting in the spring.

So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Sequoia National Park has to offer. Happy travels!