The Sierra National Parks

The Sierra are blessed with one of the highest concentrations of wilderness and national park areas in the United States. With four National Parks and twenty-two Wilderness Areas in the Sierra recreation is abundant and locations to enjoy a numerous.

From the volcanic and strange landscapes in Lassen Volcanic National Park in the north to the iconic granite features of Yosemite National Park and the majestic trees and water features of Kings Canyon and Sequoia National parks to the south, visitors and residents alike have unbelievable access to the beauty, thrills and challenges of these beautiful creations.

Explore your National Parks in the Sierra: Day Trips, Backcountry Backpacking Trips, Weekend Getaways, Family Traditions all are readily available in the Sierra National Parks.

These Links and Pages will help you explore new places, plan a next trip, find your new favorite place in the Sierra National Parks, or start a family tradition.

Top 50 Sierra Destinations

In honor of My 50th Birthday I give You My 50 Favorite Sierra Locations I have been Blessed to Visit Sierra Rec Magazine Exclusive - Charlie Pankey - November 9, 2019 - Ok so I am no spring chicken any longer, but I have had a blessed couple years of exploring the natural wonders of the Sierra and I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. My 50th Birthday is a time to celebrate the many blessings that God has granted me including a great family and good friends to share my experiences with along the way. As I was building this list I could not believe the amount of places I had to leave off the list in order to get it down to 50. Thank you to my Wife for supporting me as I laced up my boots weekly to discover a new place to explore or just needed a little time in nature to balance my soul. This list is obviously just my adventures, so there are many...many places not listed that would be on the all time great list for the Sierra. Some places I have only visited once, some are easy to get to and others took commitment. this list represents my favorite location easily found on a map and most readers could add to their adventures and enjoy. I am assuming Everyone loves Lake Tahoe so I did not include the jewel of the Sierra. but trust me, it's home base. As far as the Eastern sierra South of Yosemite, most of it is yet to be explored by me. I guess I...

20 Mule Team Reenactment Visits Death Valley

20 Mule Team will lead a parade from The Inn at Death Valley to Harmony Borax Works and back on November 8 -9 DEATH VALLEY, CA – Twenty mules will pull replica borax wagons through Death Valley National Park in a rare public reenactment on November 8 and 9. Several partners are working together to create this event, which culminates two weeks of special events in the park. The 20 Mule Team will lead a parade from The Inn at Death Valley to Harmony Borax Works and back on November 8 from 1:00-3:00. The mules will pull the wagons on the same route on November 9 from 2:00-4:00. Parking is available at The Ranch at Death Valley, Furnace Creek Visitor Center, and at the overflow lot across from the Visitor Center. Parking will not be available at Harmony Borax Works because the 165-foot-long train of mules and wagons will need the entire lot to turn around.  Expect traffic delays of up to one hour on CA-190 in the Furnace Creek area during these events. Drawing from a historic advertisement for 20 Mule Team Brand Borax. In the 1880s, teamsters used 18 mules and 2 horses to pull 20 tons of borax—plus the mules’ drinking water—165 miles across the desert to the railroad at Mojave. The mule teams only operated in Death Valley for six years, but their legend lived on through the Death Valley Days radio and TV show, and the “20 Mule Team Borax” brand. “The Borax 20 Mule Team represented a transportation breakthrough more than a century ago and has since become an icon of the Wild...

Join us in Sequoia National Park this Veterans Day for the Colonel Charles Young Memorial Highway Dedication

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. October 30, 2019 – This Veteran’s Day join the National Park Service (NPS), the Colonel Charles Young Foundation and the Sequoia Parks Conservancy for a fun event commemorating the legacy of Colonel Charles Young. The portion of State Highway 198 from Salt Creek Road to the Sequoia National Park Entrance in Tulare County has been renamed “Colonel Charles Young Memorial Highway” through state legislation, with new signs in the process of being installed. On November 11th, also the last of five fee-free days in 2019 for all NPS sites, a public event will highlight the history and importance of Colonel Young. “This is an important celebration for the National Park Service and the State of California,” Superintendent Woody Smeck said, “It recognizes the significant contributions made by the Buffalo Soldiers and then Captain Charles Young to early park protection and administration.” The dedication event will take place in Sequoia National Park across from the Foothills Visitor Center and will include interactive activities and demonstrations about the Buffalo Soldier history and connection to the parks. Presenters for the dedication program will include Superintendents Woody Smeck and Dr. Joy Kinard, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, former NPS Director Jon Jarvis, Park Ranger Shelton Johnson from Yosemite National Park and relatives to Colonel Young. “It is a fitting tribute to name a portion of the highway Colonel Young travelled, after him, and we are grateful to everyone who helped make this historic moment possible. It is more imperative now more than ever to ensure that the achievements and contributions of this great man in American history are never forgotten. We must continue to celebrate the diversity of our nation as a moral and strategic...

Death Valley Hosts Fee Free Day and Events for 25th Birthday November 2, 2019

DEATH VALLEY, CA – Death Valley National Park is waiving park entrance fees on Saturday, November 2 in celebration of its 25th birthday. Superintendent Mike Reynolds notes: “Saturday is the culmination of anniversary events with a number of interesting programs. It’s an opportunity for visitors to learn about the significant resources of Death Valley and have a great day of fun.” On November 2, the public is invited to join Superintendent Mike Reynolds for a 5 kilometer fun run/walk at 8:00 a.m. Wish the park happy birthday with cupcakes at noon. Neighboring organizations and partners will have exposition booths set up at 12:00-1:00 and 3:00-5:00. Former Death Valley superintendents will answer questions and speak about the California Desert Protection Act from 1:00-3:00. Wildlife biologist Jason Wallace will present “Reptiles of the Mojave Desert” from 4:00-5:00. All events meet at Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Death Valley was first protected as a national monument in 1933. On October 31, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the California Desert Protection Act, which created Death Valley National Park, designated over 90% of the park as wilderness, and added 1.3 million acres to the park. The Act also redesignated Joshua Tree as a national park and established Mojave National Preserve. For more information about anniversary events, visit...

California State Parks and CAL FIRE Plan Prescribed Burns at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

ARNOLD, Calif.— California State Parks in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection (CAL FIRE) are planning to begin a series of prescribed burns beginning on or around the week of October 21, 2019 through the end of November in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The goal is to complete 382 acres this fall (see maps below). Ignitions are expected to occur when weather conditions are favorable and adequate resources are available. Some of the units have been previously thinned to reduce the fuel loading, which allows for a safer and more controllable broadcast burn. Much of this work was funded through Propositions 84 and 1 grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, an agency of the State of California. These burns are part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management, hazardous fuel load reduction, wildlife habitat improvement, enhance the health of the forest by removing diseased materials, restoring essential nutrients to the soil, and reducing the chance of a catastrophic wildfire. Through forest thinning and prescribed fire, an ecologically healthy forest system can be restored and maintained. Additional benefits of these prescribed burns include protection for the Big Trees developments (Visitors Center, campground, etc.), and the North Grove of giant sequoias. Pile burning will also take place throughout the fall, winter, and spring seasons within the North and South Grove and along the Big Trees Village and Blue Lake Spring park boundaries. Prescribed burns produce significantly less smoke than wildfires. The burns are planned and coordinated with the Calaveras and Tuolumne County Air Districts in order to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities. All...

Devils Postpile National Monument Plans Autumn Prescribed Fire

Devils Postpile National Monument Plans Autumn Prescribed Fire Mammoth Calif. - October 24, 2019 - Devils Postpile National Monument is planning to implement a prescribed fire project in the next several weeks. The 25 acre unit is located near the northwest boundary of the monument and will help to reduce hazardous accumulations of vegetation and fuels, reduce overall fire danger to firefighters and the public, build resilience to future catastrophic wildfires, and produce less smoke than severe wildfires. Several trails may be temporarily closed during the burn and signage will direct hikers to detours as needed. Trails potentially impacted include the Minaret Falls Trail, and the section of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails between the Minaret Falls and King Creek Trails. Smoke may be visible at times in the Reds Meadow Valley and from the Minaret Vista. All prescribed fire activities will be coordinated with the San Joaquin and Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control Districts in order to provide the best smoke dispersion and to reduce impacts to Eastern Sierra communities. In addition, particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations will be measured on site during the burn. Visit https://app.airsis.com/USFS/Units/Details?custId=2&unitId=1052for current conditions. Prescribed fires will be conducted when weather and fuel moisture conditions are within defined parameters to safely accomplish the project objectives. By prescribing the fire under optimum weather conditions, managers simulate the natural role of fire. Prescribed fires are often conducted during the cool times of the year with the goal of creating healthier forests and wildfire resilient communities for today and future generations....

Explore Tenaya Lodge Resort’s new family-friendly cabins For the Holidays

Tenaya’s new Explorer Cabins are the perfect home base from which to create lasting holiday memories FISH CAMP, Calif.— October 16, 2019 — Set on 75 forested acres at the doorstep to Yosemite National Park, Tenaya Lodge is a family-friendly holiday getaway in a “tree-mendous” setting. This year, holiday revelers will find even more to be merry about with new, two-bedroom cabin accommodations and a fun variety of old and new resort traditions that make the resort a top destination for holiday celebrations. TREEMENDOUS Holidays in the Explorer CabinsTenaya’s new Explorer Cabins are the perfect home base from which to create lasting holiday memories. Surrounded by towering cedars and pines as well as miles of pristine forest trails, there’s no better place to settle in for a long winter’s night. The cozy, two-bedroom cabins include fireplaces, board games and cozy Pendleton blankets as well as communal fire pits for keeping toasty beneath the stars while roasting holiday s’mores. Whether choosing to stay in an Explorer Cabin or at the main lodge, visitors can save on a holiday getaway to Tenaya through November 3 with the Treemendous Holiday Package that includes 20 percent off lodging for stays between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. Making the deal even merrier is the inclusion of a revitalizing peppermint scalp enhancement with any 60-minute treatment at Ascent Spa as well as a complimentary giant sequoia sapling to take home as a reminder of cherished time spent at the property. The package is subject to availability and black out dates; minimum length of stay may apply. Tenaya Lodge Holiday Fun For All AgesTenaya’s main lodge is a hub for holiday activities that begin in November and continue...

Death Valley’s Scotty’s Castle Flood – 4 Years Later

DEATH VALLEY, CA – October 17, 2019- Repairs at Scotty’s Castle are progressing as the four-year anniversary of the flood approaches. The National Park Service (NPS) plans to reopen the popular historic site in October 2021. Scotty’s Castle received close to its annual average rainfall in five hours on October 18, 2015. The resulting flash flood caused an estimated $47 million in damages to roads, buildings, and utilities in the historic district. That much funding is not coming from a single source all at once. The park is receiving funds from park entrance fees, Federal Highways Administration, NPS deferred maintenance accounts, and donations spread over multiple years. Once consequence of patching together funding is that Death Valley is managing the repairs of Scotty’s Castle as discrete projects, each focused on single buildings or utility systems with its own funding. There isn’t a single general contractor for all repairs at Scotty’s Castle. Designs are done by architecture and engineering firms. Other companies handle construction. Each project is progressing on its own schedule, depending on design complexity, potential impacts to natural or cultural resources, and unplanned issues. Design is beginning now to repair the Chimes Tower, address potential fuel leaks from five underground storage tanks, and to repair the water distribution system. Designs are nearly completed on two critical projects: replacing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and constructing berms and flood walls to direct future floods away from the historic buildings. Each project’s next step is for specialists to review the design documents for impacts to the historic district. The Visitor Center project is under review currently. During the...

Death Valley’s Sunset Campground Opened October 15, 2019

DEATH VALLEY, CA –Death Valley National Park is opened Sunset Campground on October 15.  Ten of the park’s twelve campgrounds are now open. Increasing numbers of campers are arriving in Death Valley as temperatures cool down.  Texas Springs Campground and Stovepipe Wells Campground will remain closed until sufficient temporary National Park Service employees can be hired to keep them maintained. They will likely reopen sometime in November. Mesquite Campground Campground fees in the park vary. Emigrant, Wildrose, Thorndike, Mahogany Flat, Homestake, Saline Valley Warm Springs, and Eureka Dunes Campgrounds are free. Regular sites at Mesquite Spring, Stovepipe Wells, Texas Springs, Sunset, and Furnace Creek Campground range from $14 to $22/night. RV hookup sites at Furnace Creek Campground cost $36. Senior Pass holders get a discount. All campgrounds are first-come, first-served, except Furnace Creek Campground. Reservations at Furnace Creek can be made 4 days to 6 months in advance at recreation.gov or 877-444-6777. Privately operated resorts within the park also offer camping at The Oasis at Death Valley (no hookups), Stovepipe Wells (hookups), and Panamint Springs (hookups). Images courtesy of NPS- NPS photo by Kurt...

National Park Service Begins Recruitment for Thousands of Seasonal Jobs Across the Country

DENVER -- The National Park Service begins searching for the next generation of employees to preserve and protect the country’s special resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. Starting on October 7, 2019, the National Park Service will begin releasing the first of thousands of seasonal summer jobs for 2020 on USAJobs.For the first time ever, the National Park Service has developed a recruitment schedule tracking its seasonal recruitment timeline across the service. It is recruiting for entry-level summer seasonal park rangers all across the country—from the rugged peaks of Mount Rainier National Park, to the bustling historic streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The National Park Service is also recruiting for a variety of specialized jobs, including archaeologists, biological technicians, and engineers.“The uncommon men and women of the National Park Service share a common trait: a passion for caring for the nation’s special places and sharing their stories,” said Acting Regional Director Chip Jenkins. “I hope you’ll consider joining us this summer season to experience your America. You can make a difference by bringing your unique perspective to our work.” Lassen Trail Crew member John carries recycled plastic lumber for the new boardwalk construction in Bumpass Hell Basin for the Bumpass Hell Trail and Basin Rehabilitation Project.Half Dome Taken from NorthDome in Yosemite More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. View employee profiles at nps.gov/aboutus/nps-careers for a glimpse at career...

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Located in the Northern Sierra. It cradles the exit of the Cascade Mountains and MT. Shasta with the rise of the Great Sierra Granite Mountains. The Volcanic formations, high mountain lakes and lush mountain meadows are a true treasure in our national park system. The least visited of the four national parks in the Sierra. Lassen is recognized as Dark Sky Destination and annually holds the Dark Sky Festival in August each summer.

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Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Yosemite National Park

The most popular National Park in the Sierra and one of the most recognized parks in the United States. Over 3 million people search out information on Yosemite online every month of the year. From scenic views that will capture your imaginations, to Backpacking and day hike adventures that will fill your family story time for generations to come. The wild outdoors and adventure opportunities that exist for the average public are some of the top in the world. Waterfalls, Granite formations, Incredible hikes and Wildlife are some of the worlds favorite features.IMG_0415

Kings Canyon National Park & Sequoia National Park

A Land of Giants
This landscape testifies to nature’s size, beauty, and diversity – huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns, and the world’s largest trees. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lie side-by-side in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of the San Joaquin Valley. Visitor activities vary by season and elevation (1,370 to 14,494 feet). The true treasures of these National Parks are often found with a little effort and adventure. However the world-famous Redwood Giant trees are on parade for the whole world with easy access. Recreation Ideas for Kings Canyongeneral-grant-lower-big

Important dates to add to your calendar!
By Recreation.gov

Yosemite National Park offers 13 campgrounds. Five of these are first-come, first-served but you can reserve eight of the most popular (plus acquire Cables on Half-Dome permits) in advance on Recreation.gov. The reservable campsites are in extremely high demand—campers will typically book all of the sites within 20 minutes after they go on sale.

Yosemite National Park differs from most of the campsites on Recreation.gov because the park releases a block of reservations monthly. Yosemite’s reservable campsites are available up to five months in advance on the 15th of each month at 7:00 AM Pacific or 10:00 AM Eastern.

Remember to adjust your clock accurately, start the reservation process and be ready to “Book These Dates” the moment the on-sale begins!

If you book on: You can make Yosemite reservations for arrival dates between:
January 15th – January 16th and June 14th
February 15th – February 16th and July 14th
March 15th – March 16th and August 14th
April 15th – April 16th and September 14th
May 15th – May 16th and October 14th
June 15th – June 16th and November 14th
July 15th – July 16th and December 14th
August 15th – August 16th and January 14th
September 15th – September 16th and February 14th
October 15th – October 16th and March 14th
November 15th – November 16th and April 14th
December 15th- December 16th and May 14th

Hiking Yosemite Gaylor Lakes Loop

Hiking Yosemite Gaylor Lakes Loop

Young Lakes – Yosemite National Park

Young Lakes – Yosemite National Park

Dog Lake

Dog Lake

Cathedral Lakes – Yosemite National Park

Cathedral Lakes – Yosemite National Park

Vernal Falls and the Mist Trail

Vernal Falls and the Mist Trail

May Lake Yosemite National Park

May Lake Yosemite National Park

May Lake & Mt. Hoffmann- Yosemite National Park

May Lake & Mt. Hoffmann- Yosemite National Park

A Great Day Hike To North Dome In Yosemite National Park

A Great Day Hike To North Dome In Yosemite National Park

Mariposa Grove Re-Opens May 2018

Mariposa Grove Re-Opens May 2018

Glacier Point To Yosemite Valley Day Hike

Yosemite Valley Loop Trail Day Hike

Yosemite Valley Loop Trail Day Hike

Wapama Falls Yosemite National Park

Wapama Falls Yosemite National Park

Elizabeth Lake – Tuolumne Meadows Day Hike

Elizabeth Lake – Tuolumne Meadows Day Hike

Glen Aulin Day Hike – Yosemite National Park

Glen Aulin Day Hike – Yosemite National Park

Hetch Hetchy & Wapama Falls

Hetch Hetchy & Wapama Falls

Nevada Falls | Yosemite National Park

Nevada Falls | Yosemite National Park