Milky Way arching over Kings Canyon (c) WallyPacholka / AstroPics.com
There's always something fun to do in Sequoia & Kings Canyon, but every now and then there are some extra-special things going on.
Expert naturalists from the Sequoia Parks Conservancy have special walks year-round. Whether it's a stargazing walk in the summer or a winter snowshoe walk, these walks are one of the best ways to get an insider's view of the parks. See below for details.
And of course, we also have some extra special events. Whether it's a holiday feast, an annual celebration like the Trek to the Tree in mid-December or a once-in-a-lifetime park anniversary celebration, look below for a list of upcoming special events.
If you're looking for the classic ranger-led programs that the national parks are famous for, please consult the National Park Service's schedule of events.
See below for details on:
- National Park Service Centennial
- Find Your Park
- Every Kid in a Park
- 2016 and 2017 Fee-Free Days.
- Sequoia Parks Conservancy naturalist programs
- Ranger Programs and Special Events
- Tree Lighting at Wuksachi Lodge, Dec 2
- Trek to the Tree, Dec 11
- Bird BioBlitz (aka the December Bird Count), Dec 17
- Classical Guitar at Wuksachi Lodge, Dec 23
- Christmas Dinner at the Peaks, Dec 25
- 2017 Dark Sky Festival, July 21–23, 2017
Centennial Anniversary of the National Park Service
It's the 100th birthday of your national parks this year! Come and celebrate Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with us. See the National Park Service website for the latest news on the centennial celebration and a full calendar of events. Please also look over the Sequoia Parks Conservancy calendar for their centennial-year events. See below for some of the highlights.
Find Your Park
The National Park Service will celebrate it's 100th Anniversary in 2016 and has an entire year of celebrations lined up. They kicked off in April 2015 with the Find Your Park campaign to encourage everyone to find their park this year.
Every Kid in a Park
The National Park Service wants to encourage more families and kids to get out and see our incredible parks. As part of the Every Kid in a Park program, they are giving free entry to families accompanied by a fourth-grader. See the special website to get an official pass for your fourth-grader. This program has been extended — your fourth-grader's pass for 2016/17 is good until August 31, 2017.
There's still time to enjoy free entry into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Come up for the Trek to the Tree!
- Dec. 11, 2016: Trek to the Nation's Christmas Tree (Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs). See below for details on the Trek to the Tree.
- Jan. 16, 2017: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Feb. 20, 2017: Presidents Day
- April 15-16, 2017: National Park Week opening weekend
- April 22-23, 2017: National Park Week closing weekend
- Aug. 25, 2017: National Park Service Birthday
- Sept. 30, 2017: National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11-12, 2017: Veterans Day Weekend
Sequoia Parks Conservancy Naturalist Programs
The Sequoia Parks Conservancy offers a broad array of programs throughout the year ranging from hikes with an expert naturalist to moonlight snowshoe walks to living history events where an SPC interpreter brings alive a character from the past.
December programs include:
- Winter Among the Giants, a three-mile hike in the Giant Forest (Fridays)
- Buena Vista Snowshoe Ramble, a two-mile round-trip walk to the top of a granite dome with 360-degree views (Tuesdays)
- Tokopah Falls Hike, a four-mile hike to see this famous waterfall in winter (Wednesdays).
Walk to a sequoia tree or a meadow with a ranger. Join fellow visitors for an evening program. Take the kids on a Junior Ranger walk and become a Junior Ranger yourself! The National Park Service offers a changing set of ranger programs throughout the year, with new schedules posted frequently.
Tree Lighting at Wuksachi Lodge — December 2, 2016
Join us this holiday season for our new tradition – the lighting of the lodge’s Christmas tree December 2 at 7p.m. The holiday happiness continues throughout the month of December with music including a holiday classic guitar performance by Houston Hoellwarth the evening of December 23.
Trek to the Tree — December 11, 2016, 2:30–3:30pm
The General Grant Tree is designated as the Nation's Christmas Tree. Since 1925, the Trek to the Tree has honored the men and women of the Armed Forces who have fought and died for their country. The event includes music by the Jubilation Singers and Sanger High School Choir, and an address commemorating members of the armed forces who died in the service of their country. As usual, entrance to the parks is free to allow everyone to participate in this event and Delaware North will provide free hot chocolate. Due to construction on the Grant Grove Restaurant, however, we will not be holding the traditional Trek to the Tree banquet. This event is sponsored by the Sanger Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the National Park Service.Buses run from Sanger and there will be a free shuttle from the Kings Canyon Visitor Center parking lot.
Bird Blitz — December 17, 2016
The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Sequoia Parks Conservancy sponsored a series of citizen-scientist "bioblitzes" that allow regular visitors to help with research in the parks. If you wish to take part, it's not too late — the Bird Blitz, also known as the Great Sequoia Christmas Bird Count, takes places on December 17, 2016. Get teamed up with expert birders to survey bird populations in the parks. Learn more.
Classical Guitar at Wuksachi Lodge — December 23, 2016
The holiday happiness continues throughout the month of December with music including a holiday classic guitar performance by Houston Hoellwarth the evening of December 23.
Christmas Dinner at Peaks Restaurant
In addition to the full regular menu, Peaks Restaurant has an array of specials from slow-roasted game hen to chocolate fudge cake. For the full regular dinner menu and the Christmas specials, see the Peaks Restaurant page.
Dark Sky Festival — July 21–23, 2017
Sequoia National Park is one of the darkest places in the United States and, therefore, one of the best places for star gazing. Every year, the Sequoia Field Institute sponsors the multi-day, or should we say multi-night event. For more about the event and astronomy in the parks in general, see our Sequoia and Kings Canyon Astronomy Programs page.