Experience the Monument: A Winter Wonderland
Spring is just around the corner, and with fresh snow from last week’s storm, snow-play opportunities are happening in the Giant Sequoia National Monument! There is great access for families wanting to snow play, or visitors seeking cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling adventures.
From the central valley – Travel up Highway 180 to find two wonderful snow-play areas in the northern section of the Monument. Quail Flat and Big Meadows winter trailheads are easily accessed off the Generals Highway. Take a right turn past the Big Stump Entrance Station to access these areas which provide safe parking, restrooms, and trash services.
Four parking areas are provided: Cherry Gap, Quail Flat, Big Meadows, and Upper Woodward. Snowmobile roads, cross-country ski trails, and snow play are available from the parking areas. Trailhead areas are cleared of snow during weekends.
Snowmobiling is limited to designated roads in the Monument; many roads are posted and groomed specifically for this use. For more detailed route and trail information, see map.
Overnight lodging is available at the Montecito Lake Resort located along the Generals Highway between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This lodge offers over twenty miles of groomed cross-country ski trails in the Monument. Visit www.montecitosequoia.com.
If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, the surrounding backcountry offers opportunities for both cross country skiers and snowshoers. Experienced skiers enjoy the arduous trip to Buck Rock Lookout (8,500 ’ elevation). Though the lookout is closed during the winter, those fit and adventurous enough to make it this far will be awarded beautiful mountain views.
Safety – Please know before you go! Snow chains are required to be carried in your vehicle at all times. Leave home prepared for cold weather by bringing along extra winter clothing, a flash-light with fresh batteries, food, trash bags and water. If you decide to stop at a turnout along the highway for snow play, be sure your vehicle is parked completely off the roadway. Watch your children carefully to be sure they do not play in the road or sled into the roadway. The turnouts can become very congested on the weekends, please do not block another vehicle in and prevent them from leaving.
Pack it in, pack it out! There is no garbage or restroom services at highway turnouts. Please leave your national forest pristine; pack out your trash.
For specific information and locations, contact the Hume Lake Ranger District at (559) 338-2251, or visit 35860 E. Kings Canyon Road (HWY 180) near Dunlap. Visit our website at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia/.