California’s Sequoia National Park partially reopened on Thursday in time for Veterans Day, the National Park Service announced, after being ravaged by wildfires earlier this year.
Starting at 7 a.m., nature enthusiasts were allowed to visit the park’s Foothills along with the Foothills Visitor Center, Tunnel Rock, and some area trails, according to the National Park Service. The park will remain open for day use only.
While parts of the park are welcoming visitors, several areas will remain closed due to fire damage and risk, including several trails. Access to sites like the famous General Sherman tree, which stands at 275 feet tall and is estimated to be more than 2,000 years old, also remain closed.
“The parks will continue to work towards reopening other areas and services,” the NPS said in a statement. “Fire recovery efforts are ongoing and include hazard tree removal along roads, buildings, and parking lots, soil stabilization along the Generals Highway, and other infrastructure and wastewater system work that is critical for a safe return of residents and visitors to the area.”
The reopening comes after the park was forced to close in September as wildfires swept through the area. During the worst of it, firefighters took unprecedented steps to protect some of the biggest trees, including General Sherman, by wrapping them in aluminum-based burn-resistant material.
The California park will open just in time for Veterans Day, which happens to be the last free day for national park sites in 2021. Many parks are free all year round, but some charge an entrance fee, which is waived on select free days throughout the year.
While access to General Sherman remains off limits, NPS said travelers can visit the second largest tree in the world, the General Grant Tree, in the Grant Grove of Kings Canyon National Park, which is largely open.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.