Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

People

 

The most frequent questions by visitors are answered
and links are provided for more detailed information.

 Where can I purchase maps?
 How do I get a campfire permit?
 How do I get a campsite?
 Do I need a wilderness permit to backpack or travel in wilderness?
 Can I camp in areas outside of a developed campground?
 Can I have my dog in the campgrounds and on trails?
 Where can I legally ride my ATV, dirt bike, side-by-side, or my snowmobile?
 What is the difference between Sequoia National Forest, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Sequoia National Park?
 Where is the tree you can drive through?
 What is the difference between a sequoia and a redwood tree?

Where can I purchase maps?

Recreation, Wilderness, and other maps are available and may be purchased at any Forest Service office. You can also purchase Forest Service maps online at 3FIA and at the National Forest Store.  Go to the 'Maps and Publications' webpage to view maps here.

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How do I get a campfire permit?

Campfire permits can be downloaded from the 'Passes & Permits' webpage here. They can also be issued at a Forest Service office, Bureau of Land Management office, or California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) office, and from any Forest Service officer on patrol.  Remember to bring the required shovel and bucket for your campfire.

Is there a cost? No, there is no cost for the campfire permit.

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How do I get a campsite?

The popular time of the year for camping in most of the forest is from May to early September. Many campsites in developed campgrounds are available for reservation at Recreation.gov while some campgrounds are on a first-come system. For large groups, the group campgrounds can accommodate from 25 up to 100 people and can be reserved at Recreation.gov. The maximum stay in most campgrounds is 14 days and a 30 day maximum stay per Ranger District, per calendar year. Most campgrounds fill quickly during holiday weekends, therefore visitors should come prepared to camp in a dispersed campsite. If you choose to disperse camp, park only one car width off the main road.

Wherever you travel and camp on the forest, be sure to practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

For campsite reservations, visit Recreation.gov or call them at 1.877.444.6777. Remember, a campfire permit is required if you camp in a dispersed campsite.

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Do I need a wilderness permit to backpack or travel in wilderness?

A permit is required for overnight visits to the Golden Trout Wilderness. These permits are free of charge and may be obtained at one of our offices. One permit is required per trip, per group. If you choose to have a campfire you will also need a campfire permit. These may also be obtained free of charge at the same time you get your Wilderness permit.

Permits for overnight visits to the Jennie Lakes Wilderness or for day use are not required but we ask that you complete a registration card at the trailheads. This information helps us in managing the wilderness resource effectively.

The Monarch Wilderness have log-in forms at the trailhead, please sign in.

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Can I camp in areas outside of a developed campground?

Yes, you can camp outside a developed campground. Drinking water, toilets, and other amenities are not usually available though. If you choose to camp outside a developed campground, be sure to bring plenty of water, pack out your trash, and bury you body waste in a cathole (go to Leave No Trace to learn how). River, lake, and creek water may be contain giardia or other microorganisms, so be sure to first boil or filter your drinking water. Also be sure you have a campfire permit if you plan to build a fire, and carry the neccessary permits if you plan to spend the night in Wilderness.

No matter where you travel or camp, be sure to practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

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Can I have my dog in the campgrounds and on trails?

Yes, your canine companions are welcome in National Forests. The few rules that apply to dogs are meant to assure that you and other National Forest visitors have an enjoyable outdoor recreation experience. Please practice the following, (these rules will be enforced in developed recreation areas). If you are traveling in a National Forest Wilderness, dogs are permitted. However, if you leave a National Forest Wilderness and enter into a National Park, dogs are not permitted.

  • Leave vicious or unusually noisy dogs at home.
  • Please keep your dog on a leash no more than 6 feet long, or otherwise restrict its freedom to roam at will.
  • At night keep your dogs and other pets inside an enclosed vehicle or in a tent.
  • Developed campgrounds are for people, not animals. Please do not bring more than two dogs or other pet to any one campsite.
  • Do not bring dogs onto developed swimming beaches, even if they are restrained. Guide dogs are an exception.

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Where can I legally ride my ATV, dirt bike, side-by-side or my snowmobile?

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation is just one of the many uses on National Forest public land and there are hundreds of miles to ride and drive on. To learn where to go, download the official Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) and Motor Vehicle Opportunity Guide (MVOG) at the 'Maps & Publications' page here.

Remember all vehicle travel is restricted to designated routes and in OHV park areas. You'll need to know the regulations relating to motor vehicle travel. California Vehicle Codes (CVC) and the Code of Federeal Regulations (CFR) relating to OHV vehicle operations are enforced. California OHV regulations can be reviewed here at the California State Parks OHV Laws and Safety page. Federal regulation can be viewed here.

California state law requires registration of all motor vehicles before being operated on public land. You must have either a valid 'Green Sticker' or a highway license plate, both issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. If operating a highway licensed on the forest, the vehicle must also meet all requirements for operating on a public highway.

Many areas are open and accessible to those who enjoy recreating on 4 wheel-drive high-clearance vehicles, ATVs and OSVs during the winter months. Motorized over-snow travel is prohibited in some areas and in National Park areas and roads. Please contact us for current information about roads, routes, and trails that are open to OHV/OSV use on the Sequoia National Forest.

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What is the difference between Sequoia National Forest, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Sequoia National Park?


You may see signs for Sequoia National Forest, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, and wonder what is the difference between these places? All are on federal land. Each exists to benefit society. Yet each has a different history and purpose. Together they provide a wide spectrum of uses.

FOREST, MONUMENT, OR PARK? (pdf 133k)

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Where is the tree you can drive through? (pdf 420k)

This question is asked hundreds of times each year by visitors to Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. View the handout here.

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What is the difference between a sequoia and a redwood tree?

Giant Sequoias and Coast Redwood Trees are closely related and they are both in the redwood family, Taxodiaceae. However, they are different species. Giant Sequoias (scientific name Sequoiadendron gigantea) are considered the largest trees in the world as measured by the volume of their trunk. The biggest Giant Sequoias can be 40 feet wide at their bases and 275 feet high for a total trunk volume of up to 52,500 cubic feet. Giant Sequoias have grown naturally for thousands of years and only grow on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

Coast Redwoods (scientific name Sequoia sempervirens) are considered to be the world's tallest trees and they can get as tall as 365 feet. Coast Redwoods grow naturally only along the Pacific coast of northern California and into southern Oregon.

There is another redwood tree that was once thought to be extinct. It is the Dawn Redwood and it grows naturally only in central China. Its scientific name is Metasequoia glyptostroboides and does not grow to any great size and it is deciduous, meaning it loses its needles in the fall.

Other trees in the family Taxodiaceae include the bald cypress and Japanese Cedar. Most of the trees in this family, including Giant Sequoias, Coast Redwoods, and Dawn Redwoods, have been planted by people worldwide as ornamental trees.

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Highlights

  • Recreation.gov Link opens in a new window
    Your one-stop shop for trip planning, information sharing and campsite reservations...

  • Permits and Passes

    Campfire Permits, River Permits, Southern Sierra Passes, America the Beautiful (Annual, Senior, and Access), and more...

  • Wilderness

    Wilderness travel planning information...