Free Shuttle Buses Will Roll Again This Summer At Sequoia National Park

Visiting Sequoia National Park this summer? The shuttles will be rolling to help move you around the park. And you can even leave your rig in nearby Visalia and catch a bus from there to the park for a fee.

The shuttles will begin operating May 26 and continuing running until September 25. This is a slightly extended service from past years, when the shuttles stopped on Labor Day.

While those shuttles in the park will be free, if you ride to the park on the shuttle from Visalia it will cost you $15, as well as a park fee when you reach Sequoia.

Here are some other details:

* Hiker shuttle: This early morning daily shuttle for hikers will leave Lodgepole Visitor Center at 7:30 a.m. It will stop at Wolverton and then Crescent Meadow. This shuttle will allow hikers and backpackers to get an early start each morning.

During the majority of the season, at 6:30 p.m., only one shuttle will provide a return trip from Wolverton to the Lodgepole Visitor Center. However, on holiday weekends, more shuttles will operate to/from Wolverton and this location will become an overflow parking area.

* Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road will be closed to vehicle traffic from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on all weekends during the shuttle operating season (May 26-Sept. 25). Exceptions to this closure include backcountry hikers with permits, people with handicapped placards, and shuttle traffic. This should reduce frustrations for park visitors trying to find parking in very small lots.

* Service from Visalia will leave hourly from 6 a.m.-10 a.m. Return trips leave Giant Forest Museum hourly from 2:30 p.m. through 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required. For more info, call 1-877-BUS-HIKE or visit http://reservations.sequoiashuttle.com.

Once at the park, you'll find three shuttle routes to get around Sequoia. The main route connects Giant Forest Museum, General Sherman Tree, and Lodgepole area (from Lodgepole Campground Overflow lot or Lodgepole Visitor Center). Another route connects Wuksachi Lodge and Dorst Campground with Lodgepole area. The third travels Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road from Giant Forest Museum.

All shuttles are made possible through an agreement between the National Park Service and the City of Visalia, and funding is supported by park entrance fees and various grants. A total of 299,555 riders used the free in-park shuttles in 2010.

To make a reservation or for information about summer shuttle service from Visalia, contact Sequoia Shuttle at 877-BUS-HIKE (877-287-4453) or visit www.sequoiashuttle.com. No reservations are needed for free in-park shuttles.

Comments

I find the terms "7:30am" and "early start" to be rather contradictory. But that's just me.
I understand the fiscal limitations that are imposed on the NPS due to the lack of federal support but this is the one program that should be expanded to EVERY unit in the system. Granted certain geographies and topographies (and visitation rates) lend toward higher priority requirements in certain units than do others, but any and all attempts should be made to reduce human incursion on these environs. From personal experiences, the shuttles are a fantastic alternative to the driving experience and I'd stop just short of mandating that they be the ONLY method of mechanized transport allowed within park boundries during peak season.

Hiker shuttles are also used in Europe, where some narrow valleys in the Alps have been closed to private cars. In the valley of the Clarée, near Briançon, we rode a van that runs up a one-lane road to the trailhead. It's not in a national park, but it is managed much like one. Obligatory parking for private cars is at a village farther down the valley, in flatter terrain.