Shuttle Buses Ready to Roll in Sequoia National Park

Shuttle buses are returning to Sequoia's Giant Forest area next week. NPS photo.

It soon will be a bit easier to get around the heart of Sequoia National Park. Beginning next Thursday, May 27, the Giant Forest shuttle system will crank back into operation for the summer season.

This marks the fourth season for the shuttle buses, which offer visitors an easy way to explore the Giant Forest sequoia grove and surrounding areas.

Using the shuttle reduces driving, parking hassles, and air pollution. You can watch the scenery instead of the road. It also lets you park, take the shuttle, and walk a trail back to your car. An estimated 40-50,000 car trips were eliminated last year when people chose to use the shuttle.

Several changes are in store for the system this year: Three hybrid-electric shuttles are being added to the fleet. The in-park shuttle will extend past Wuksachi Lodge to Dorst Campground when the campground is open. On holiday weekends, use of private vehicles on the narrow Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road will be limited during shuttle operations. In addition, the shuttle from Visalia is adding a stop the La Quinta Hotel in Visalia and the Barn Service Station near Exeter on Highway 198.

As in years past, the Giant Forest Route runs along the Generals Highway from the Giant Forest Museum to Lodgepole Visitor Center. It stops along the way at the wheelchair-accessible trail to the General Sherman Tree as well as at the main Sherman Tree Parking and Trail.

Another route follows the narrow Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road from the Giant Forest Museum to Moro Rock’s staircase and the picnic area at Crescent Meadow. Due to significant delays from traffic congestion on busy weekends, limitations on private vehicles using the road during shuttle hours are being phased in this year. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of three holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day), only those with handicapped placards and wilderness permits for the High Sierra Trail may take vehicles on this side road while the shuttle is operating.

A third shuttle route will now connect the Lodgepole Visitor Center and Campground to Wuksachi Lodge and Restaurant. A new stop, Dorst Campground, will be added to this route when the campground opens in late June. For details, see www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/ parktransit.htm

The shuttles will operate daily through September 20th, between approximately 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., depending on the route. All buses are wheelchair accessible. Shuttle users are encouraged to park in the lot across the main road from the Giant Forest Museum, at the Main Sherman Tree Trail parking area, the lot just inside Lodgepole Campground, or at Wuksachi Lodge. Drinking water is not available along the Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Route, so consider bringing a water bottle.

Comments

Have to love the shuttle system. Would like to see it in more parks. Here at Grand Canyon the South Rim shuttles are a huge success. Sure would like to see a shuttle on the North Rim.

I agree. I used to one of many people that thought they would be inconvenient and limiting, as I like the freedom of driving my own car. However, after using the park shuttles at both Denali and Zion, I must say I did like being able to look around while getting to a trailhead and not sitting in traffic. It makes me wish they would do this at Cades Cove in GSMNP.

Shuttles are a great idea but 6pm is a little early to stop the service in the summer. People like to go to Moro Rock to watch the sunset which is considerably later than 6pm. The shuttles should run until sundown.

How well the shuttle systems depend on how often/late they run.

Zion's shuttle has to work well because they don't allow private vehicles (with limited exceptions). Yosemite and Grand Canyon operate their shuttles late. Grand Canyon has the Hermits Rest route that's not open to most private cars as well as some areas served by the buses where one isn't allowed to park.

I think I took the Sequoia shuttle maybe once and only to get back to the parking lot. For the most part, Sequoia NP's parking lots aren't that impacted. I didn't have much problem finding a parking space anywhere we went.

If bus service were provided from Fresno, many people would visit the Park without vehicles.
When is that going to happen!?