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.

Yosemite National Park Closed to All Visitors

Yosemite National Park is Modifying Operations to Implement Latest Health Guidance Yosemite National Park - March 21, 2020 - Well this would be considered a very dark day for us and many national park enthusiasts across our region. Last night in ligth of the California Shut down bacause of the Covid-19 virus outbreak we received notice from Caltrans that Yosemite National PArk is being shut down, not just services but access in whole. Here is the press release. Yosemite NP, California – Yosemite National Park is announcing modifications to operations at the request of the local health department. As of 3:00 pm today, Friday, March 20, 2020, Yosemite National Park is closed to all park visitors until further notice. This closure will be enforced 24-hours a day/7-days a week and there will be no access permitted to Yosemite National Park. Park visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Yosemite National Park. Visitors are encouraged to learn about park resources and stories through the many multimedia presentations currently available on the park’s website. In place of traveling to Yosemite National Park in person, visitors are encouraged to download the park’s free App and continue to enjoy Yosemite National Park through the park’s webcams. There are many wonderful resources available for all ages to remotely explore Yosemite National Park. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Yosemite National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume...

Grant Application Period Open for Volcano Adventure Camp For Youth this summer season

Deadline s March 31, 2020 to apply for Summer Grants for your kids. Volcano Adventure Camp will operate June 12 through September 20, 2020 MINERAL, CA- Lassen Volcanic National Park and its partner Lassen Park Foundation invite youth groups to apply for a grant to stay at Volcano Adventure Camp (VAC) this summer season. Lassen Park Foundation will accept applications for grants to cover the cost of a trip to the youth camping facility in Lassen Volcanic through March 31.“Lassen Park Foundation youth camping grants enabled 925 youth to connect to nature and explore their national park,” said Superintendent Jim Richardson. “We are pleased to see increased interest in the program, including a doubling of youth participants between 2018 and 2019.”Any organization or school assisting underserved youth is eligible to apply for a grant up to $1,000. Groups with for-profit status may require a non-profit fiscal sponsor. Park admission and campground fees are waived for grant recipients and grant funds are available to pay for camping and hiking equipment, water bottles, food (groups must prepare their own food), and transportation. The camp is outfitted with dormitory-style tent cabins, picnic pavilions, showers, vault toilets, and running water.A stay at Volcano Adventure Camp includes ranger and/or group-led talks, hikes, and activities. Participants learn how to camp, explore park trails, and learn about park topics like volcanology, glaciation, astrobiology, fire ecology, and climate. Activities at the camp help build stewardship and respect for public lands as well as teamwork and individual responsibility. One group leader shared, “without the distraction of cell phones and their regular activities the kids were forced to step...

Yosemite National Park is Modifying Operations to Implement Latest Health Guidance

Yosemite NP, California – Yosemite National Park is announcing modifications to operations to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. As of March 17, 2020 park visitor centers, the Yosemite Valley Theater, the Yosemite Museum, along with all restaurants and lodges inside the park are closed. The park shuttles are not in operation. All ranger-guided programs have been cancelled. All of these closures will remain in effect through March 31, 2020. Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, Yosemite National Park’s entrances, hiking trails, and the outdoor spaces around the Yosemite Village will remain open. In Yosemite Valley, the Village Store and Curry Village Gift & Grocery will remain open, along with the El Portal Market and the Wawona Store. Upper Pines Campground remains open for visitors with reservations. Camp 4 Campground also remains open. Gas stations located at Crane Flat, Wawona, and El Portal remain open. Park visitors are asked topurchase their park passes online. Yosemite National Park is working on utilizing alternative methods to provide interpretive services and programming that adhere to the CDC guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Yosemite National Park. Download the park’s free App and please continue to enjoy Yosemite National Park through the park’s webcams. There are many wonderful resources available to explore on the Yosemite National Park webpage to help you stay connected to your national park. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Yosemite National Park is our number one priority....

National Park Service to Temporarily Suspend Park Entrance Fees  To Promote Social distancing

Yosemite, Lassen, Sequoia, Kings Canyon And Death Valley Could Be Fee Free During The Corona Virus Shutdown WASHINGTON – After careful consideration, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt directed the National Park Service (NPS) to temporarily suspend the collection of all park entrance fees until further notice.“I’ve directed the National Park Service to waive entrance fees at parks that remain open. This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.  Other states and municipalities have implemented similar policies waiving fees to parks in an effort to support social distancing. “Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing.” Secretary Bernhardt continued. At a majority of park locations where it is currently possible to adhere to public health guidance, outdoor spaces remain open to the public, while many facilities will be closed. The Department of the Interior and NPS continue to urge visitors to do their part when visiting a park to follow CDC guidance by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick. Specifically, the CDC recommends high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, take extra precautions to be best protected against the spread of coronavirus.  Updates about the NPS response to the coronavirus will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park...

Yosemite Gateway Counties and Yosemite National Park Honored with Inaugural Visit California Poppy Award for Excellence in Destination Stewardship

Yosemite National Park, Calif. (Feb. 24, 2020) – Visit California honored tourism destinations and attractions across California for excellence in tourism marketing at the organization’s biennial Poppy Awards, held Feb. 11 in San Diego. Yosemite National Park along with Yosemite Gateway Counties- Mono, Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera are proud to announce that they were selected as the winner in a surprise inaugural category. The Excellence in Destination Stewardship recognized the destinations for their collaborative digital influencer campaign. The funding for the campaign was a grant from Yosemite National Park for the purpose of encouraging travelers to visit the region on off-peak days or seasons, take public transportation into the valley, and to arrive early if taking their own vehicle. "We are extremely honored to collectively receive this award," stated Scott Gediman, Chief of Public & Legislative Affairs at Yosemite National Park. "Our gateway partners have been instrumental in working closely with us in getting the message out about how to visit the park responsibly. We are so grateful for their efforts and couldn't do it without the support of these great partners." “The Poppy Awards celebrate the best and brightest in California tourism promotion and inspire the industry to continue on a path of innovation and creativity,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. “This year’s finalists inspired travelers from around the world to live their biggest dreams in California.”  Beteta, alongside Visit California’s board officers, presented the 2020 Poppy Awards during the 12th Annual Visit California Outlook Forum, held Feb. 10-11 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and attended by nearly 800 tourism industry leaders. More about...

Mark your calendar for these NATIONAL PARK entrance fee–free dates in 2020

Fee Free Entrance Days Start Monday Jan 20th. On five days in 2020, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2020: Monday, January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. DaySaturday, April 18: First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger DayTuesday, August 25: National Park Service AnniversarySaturday, September 26: National Public Lands DayWednesday, November 11: Veterans Day Three National Parks in the Greater Sierra Region charge fees to explore the parks. Lassen Volcanic National Park, Yosemite National Park, sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park Lassen volcanic National PARK Entrance Fees 2020 New! An increase for selected entrance fees went into effect on January 1, 2019.A vehicle pass is required for all vehicles entering the park. Vehicle Pass $30Valid for 1-7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Winter Pass $10Valid for 1-7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park between December 1 and April 15. Motorcycle Entry Pass $25Valid for one motorcycle regardless of the amount of passengers. Valid for 7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Individual Entry Pass $15Per person entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot, bicycle, or for individuals traveling together in a vehicle as a non-commercial, organized group. Valid for 7 days at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Annual Pass $55Valid for one year from month of purchase at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Passes may be purchased as park entrance stations mid-May through October. During other times, passes may purchased at park entrance stations on weekends only, or at park headquarters in Mineral midweek. You may also purchase an Annual Pass online or by mail. To...

Winter Weather Changing Travel and Camping Plans in the Sierra

The State of the Inyo, as of 11/22/19 Report confirms Winter Storms Will Alter Plans of Holiday Travelers and Late Fall Recreation Plans Eastern Sierra, Nov. 22, 2019 - There are lots of changes this week with the first round of snow and more is in the forecast for next week. This is the time of year when conditions can change rapidly, so please check with Caltrans for road conditions: https://roads.dot.ca.gov/ and travel with tire chains, food and water, and blankets for safety. Of note, the Rock Creek Road is closing (at the Sno Park) on 11/25 and  the Lakes Basin (Lake Mary Road and the Old Mammoth Rd to Lake Mary) will close 11/26. The White Mt. Ranger Station will be closed on Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas. Please plan your Christmas Tree permits accordingly. Mono Lake Ranger District Roads closed: Sonora Pass (Hwy 108), Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4), Tioga Pass (Hwy 120 W), Saddlebag Road. Roads open: Monitor Pass (Hwy 89), Bodie Road (SR270), Lundy Canyon Road Hwy 120 E (Benton), June Lake Loop (Hwy 158). Saddlebag Lake Campgrounds closed: Lundy Canyon (county),Tioga Lake, Junction, Sawmill Walk-in, Saddlebag Lake, Saddlebag Lake Group, Ellery Lake, Big Bend, Aspen, Moraine, Lower Lee Vining, Aerie Crag, Silver Lake, Reversed Creek, Gull Lake, June Lake, Oh Ridge, Hartley, Obsidian Flat Group, Glass Creek, Big Springs, Upper Deadman, Lower Deadman. The Mono Basin Visitor Center is open Thursday - Monday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. It closes for the season on 12/ 2. Mammoth Ranger District Roads closed: Hwy. 203 (continuing to the Reds Meadow Rd.) at Mammoth Mountain Inn. Roads closing: On 11/26, the Lake Mary Rd....

BLM seeks public input on Alabama Hills Management Plan

BISHOP, Calif. - The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office is seeking public input on the development of a management plan for the Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine in Inyo County. The 30-day public scoping period for the proposed management plan begins on Thursday, Nov. 21, and ends on Monday, Dec. 23. The BLM will provide information and accept written comments on the future management of public lands in the Alabama Hills during public scoping workshops to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the following locations: •     Monday, Dec. 9, Statham Hall, 138 N. Jackson St., Lone Pine •     Tuesday, Dec. 10, BLM Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Ln., Bishop (next to the Department of Motor Vehicles) The workshops will begin with a brief informational presentation, followed by an opportunity for participants to provide written comments and share their ideas about specific uses, resource values and future management strategies for the area. Once approved, the management plan furthers Secretary’s Order 3366, Increasing Recreation Opportunities on Lands and Waters Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and Secretary’s Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation. “For years, we have worked with the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, the local tribe and the Lone Pine community to promote a shared-stewardship approach towards management of the Hills,” says Bishop Field Manager Steve Nelson. “We look forward to continued public engagement as we build upon this community-based stakeholder effort and begin to develop a management plan for this magnificent area.” Set between the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley, the Alabama Hills is a unique formation of...

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...

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

Backpacking Matthes Lake – Yosemite National Park

Backpacking Matthes Lake – Yosemite National Park

Backpacking to Nelson Lake in yosemite national Park

Backpacking to Nelson Lake in yosemite national Park

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