The Sierra National Parks Are Free on Monday!

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 19, 2015, Yosemite National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park will waive all entrance fees. The fee free day is available to all visitors in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Fees being waived for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day include the fees associated with entrance into the park only. All other fees associated with camping, lodging, or activities within the park are still in effect. The free day is good for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day only.
  • Yosemite National Park – Although the weather has been mild, visitors coming to the park are urged to be aware of ice on the roadway.  A reminder that Tioga Pass is still closed for the winter meaning only Western entrances in the Park are open. Additionally, if weather changes, chain restrictions may apply on all roads within the park. For updated weather and road information please call 209-372-0200.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park – Besides the Fee Free Park day Monday, visitors are invited to a weekend of outdoor fun and film at the Lassen Film Festival on Saturday, January 17 through Monday, January 19. Saturday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. also offers a rare opportunity to see a recently discovered comet. Also be aware if this is your first winter visit that the road through the park is closed for the winter. For all road conditions and current closures visit here:
  • Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park – The National Park Service invites the public to participate in a day of volunteer service and education at Sequoia National Park on Monday, January 19, 2015, on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. This event will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Foothills Visitor Center at 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA 93271. Participants may volunteer as part of a native plant garden restoration project and/or help conduct plant surveys. Other activities include ranger-led hikes, investigation stations, a photo booth, a button-making station, and more! Info: 559-565-4212. 
  • The Grant Grove Ranger Programs are also being offered all weekend at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. 10 am The Grant Tree Talk daily and at 2 Pm the Big Tree Talk Daily.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is the first of several free-entrance days offered throughout the National Park System during 2015. Please mark your calendar for additional upcoming entrance free days: President’s Day Weekend (February 14-16), National Park Week Opening Weekend (April 18-19), Founder’s Day (August 25), National Public Lands Day (September 26) and Veterans Day (November 11).

Current Trail News in Yosemite:

  • The Four Mile Trail, Mist Trail (along Vernal Fall), and John Muir Trail (between Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall) are closed due to snow and ice. The winter route should be used to access Vernal and Nevada Falls. These closures are anticipated to be in effect until the spring.
  • The following trails are closed due to the Meadow Fire: John Muir Trail between the Clouds Rest Junction and Sunrise High Sierra Camp, and other trails in the Sunrise Creek area. Additionally, the trails to Clouds Rest and along the Merced River east of Little Yosemite Valley are open only to day use (no camping).View a map showing all the closures.
  • The trail to Rancheria Falls is open to foot traffic (but not stock) beyond Wapama Fall (due to a rockfall).
  • The Half Dome cables are down for the season. (A permit is required to hike to the top of Half Dome when the cables are up.)

Current Trail News Lassen Volcanic National Park:

  • Kings Creek Falls Trail – Snow-covered. Cascades section closed until repairs made, use alternative (horse) route.
  • Dream Lake basin – Basin is closed, visitors are encouraged to view the area along the former lake shore.
  • Hydrothermal Area Danger
    For your safety, stay on established trails and boardwalks. Ground in hydrothermal areas can look solid but may actually be a thin crust hiding pools of acidic boiling water or mud. Traveling off-trail in these areas may result in severe injury. Read more about exploring the park hydrothermal areas.

Current Trail News Sequoia  & Kings Canyon National Park

  • Varied Snow and trail reports. From no snow to 24″ seems to be the norm in the reports park trails.

If you followed the news this last week of the climbers in Yosemite, your know the parks are just amazing in the winter also. Exciting events and scenes can be scene all year round. So take a holiday break Monday if you can and visit one of your favorite National parks in the Sierra.