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Sequoia and King's Canyon Nat'l Parks

Sequoia and King's Canyon Nat'l Parks

Old May 7, 13, 9:40 am
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Sequoia and King's Canyon Nat'l Parks

Hey everyone,

I've never been to Sequoia or King's Canyon, and as part of my goal to visit every last Nat'l Park in the United States, I'm determined to change that this summer. I would like to spend 3-4 nights in both Parks and would greatly appreciate your help in planning.

It's a fairly easy drive from San Francisco and ideally a 3-4 night stay would work best. I'm really not very familiar with the lodgings or sites however. I've done a fair bit of research but am still not sure what would be best suited.

We like to stay in historic accommodations when we travel, nothing modern or contemporary - especially in the Nat'l Parks! I've read about Silver City and Grant Grove, but I'm not sure that either are well situated and I've read conflicting reports about the state of the Silver City cabins. I should add that while we love to stay in historic lodgings, we prefer clean and well maintained historic lodgings with running water and basic amenities!

While I realize that it may not be a fair comparison, we have stayed at the following historic lodges in North America... The Ahwahnee, Wawona Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge, Old Faithful Inn, Roosevelt Lodge Cabins, El Tovar Hotel, Glacier Park Lodge, Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, Prince of Wales Hotel, Belton Chalet, Izaak Walton Inn, Village Inn at Apgar, Sperry Chalet, Historic Tamarack Lodge, Lake Quinault Lodge, Kalaloch Lodge, Lake Crescent Lodge, Wallowa Lodge, The Timberline, Oregon Caves Chateau, The Lodge at Bryce Canyon, The Stanley Hotel, Omni Mount Washington, The Balsams, Chateau Montebello, Banff Springs Hotel, Chateau Lake Louise, Jasper Park Lodge and places like The Point and Lake Placid Lodge all across the East Coast.

Based on the above and given our preference for historic settings in wilderness (preferably more secluded areas away from large campsites) - where would you recommend that we stay and what should we plan to see/do over the course of 3-4 days?

We don't mind staying at several different lodgings if it would be more convenient to sightseeing in both Parks, however we like to experience the Nat'l Parks at a relaxed and leisurely pace.

I'd greatly appreciate any help that you can offer - specifically in regards to suitable lodgings in or near the Parks!

Last edited by OliverB; May 7, 13 at 9:46 am
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Old May 7, 13, 1:50 pm
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How much hiking do you do?

Have you dne Yosemite....it's best to do there and sequoia/kings canyon in the same trip.

Sequoia/kings canyon are a merged park...one entry does both. There is not park lodging there. There is some camping grounds. Yosemite has park lodging.

Would just use Fresno as a base and then use it to do sequoia for 2 days and then go up into Yosemite for 2 days.

Unless you do the long backcountry permit hiking you could do the park in 2-3 days at most. It's manly ne loop road from Fresno to Visalia that loops through both parks with a few spur oads off of there.

One option you could do is d 2 days in the park then go to the south and then come up 395 in he am and you could spend a night or two in the mammoth lakes area then come back through Yosemite throughtouloume meadows part over tioga pass.

You may find sMe renal cabins jus outside the park or o the north and south or n the east side ofthe erras.
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Old May 7, 13, 4:21 pm
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Thanks, I have done Yosemite many times before and in fact, I've just booked 3 more nights in October!

I would like to keep Sequoia/King's Canyon a separate trip however. You suggest staying in Fresno and just day hiking through the Parks? I've beean meaning to plan a SW roadtrip from San Fran down to Fresno and Bakersfield so perhaps this could be my excuse!

I would really like to stay in the forest though, and not within Fresno. Have you stayed at or are you familiar with Silver City at all? I don't mind rustic and can even tolerate things like mice in wilderness cabins, however running water and cleanliness is a must. I've been scared off by reports of bed bugs and unkept cabins.
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Old May 7, 13, 6:59 pm
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How many nights would be suggested to enjoy the park?

I'm not looking to do any really strenuous hikes; just explore the trails and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

I'm thinking of doing 1/2 nights at Silver City, then an overnight or two at Bearpaw High Sierra Camp, and lastly 1/2 nights at Grant Grove. That way I can enjoy Sequoia from the first two, and King's Canyon from the last.

What do you think? Is this moving around too much?
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Old May 7, 13, 9:41 pm
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Three nights is plenty for both parks if you don't want to do backcountry hiking.

You've stayed at all those historic places and still haven't been to Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley? Shame on you! (But don't go in summer)
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Old May 7, 13, 10:12 pm
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Some incorrect info here. The Wuksachi Lodge is up in the higher part of Sequoia National Park, above Lodgepole. You might see if they have vacancies for your dates. Not a bad place. If you want to stay in Kings Canyon, your best bet would be Grant Grove or down in Cedar Grove, although Cedar Grove is pretty rustic. For a place just outside Kings Canyon Park but in the mountains, check Snowline Lodge along SR 180 from Fresno.

If all else fails, there are a couple of basic hotels in Three Rivers, which is not really up in the Park but is along the Kings River, in the lower mountains below Sequoia. I know of a Comfort Inn and have seen another lodge or two along the highway - SR 198 from Visalia.

Both Parks are, as indicated, connected. You can (and should) drive between the two via the scenic General's Highway.

Silver City is not really a place I'd recommend.
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Old May 7, 13, 10:19 pm
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Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
... I'm not looking to do any really strenuous hikes; just explore the trails and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

... then an overnight or two at Bearpaw High Sierra Camp ...
Bearpaw is a tough 11+ mile uphill hike. It also tends to be booked full very early in the season. I think you are out of luck for this summer unless they have a last minute cancellation.
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Old May 8, 13, 1:18 am
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
Some incorrect info here. The Wuksachi Lodge is up in the higher part of Sequoia National Park, above Lodgepole.
This motel is not the same as the old historic lodging that the OP was referring to. this was built in the 1980s/1990s.

Its lodging in the park---but this is not anything like Anahwee, El Tovar, Lake MacDonald Lodge, etc.....The historic lodging in the park service.
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Old May 8, 13, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by OliverB View Post
How many nights would be suggested to enjoy the park?

I'm not looking to do any really strenuous hikes; just explore the trails and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings.

I'm thinking of doing 1/2 nights at Silver City, then an overnight or two at Bearpaw High Sierra Camp, and lastly 1/2 nights at Grant Grove. That way I can enjoy Sequoia from the first two, and King's Canyon from the last.

What do you think? Is this moving around too much?
kings Canyon doesn't have much roads into it. You have a spur road into it and the Southern part and that is it. To explore tha park you need to do a lot of back country hiking.

The part you could explore in KC is 1 day at tops unless you do some sort of over night hike.

On the east side of the park along US 395 you have roads that take you trail heads that will take you into the park.
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Old May 8, 13, 12:26 pm
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Okay, thank you so much everyone!!

So 3 days it is then, and it sounds like we'll be staying at the historic Grant Grove cabins.

If we were to manage the 11+ mi. hike to Bearpaw, should I add another day to the itinerary to account for it, or would 3 nights still be fine?

And again, assuming we could get a booking at the Bearpaw High Sierra Camp this late in the season (and if I can warm my wife to the idea!!) should we stick with 2 days at Grant Grove or add a night around Silver City?

Does anyone have any info about the Silver City Resort; setting, scenery, crowds, lodgings, cleanliness, wilderness, etc?

Thanks again!!


PS - I'm ashamed to say that I've never been to Furnace Creek Inn, Richard! To be honest, I'm not as inspired by the dessert as I am the high country and Sierras. It's still on my list of places to eventually visit though!!
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Old May 8, 13, 3:39 pm
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I would add anther day if you want to do that overnight hike.
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Old May 8, 13, 8:33 pm
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Thanks!

If anyone knows anything about Silver City and how it compares to Grant Grove (or if it worthwhile staying in both for convenient access to the Eastern and Western portions of the park) please let me know.
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Old May 8, 13, 11:14 pm
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Silver City isn't actually a "city." It is a ramshackle little collection of private cabins, a small store and an old lodge that sit just outside the entrance to Mineral King. The area was all outside the Park until several years ago when Congress added it to protect Mineral King Valley from proposed development. Some of the private cabins in Silver City, which was a private community until being added to the Park, have been made into a "resort" and are for rent. Have you looked at their website?

Some of the "chalets" at Silver City Resort are rather nice but they are live-stay places where you would bring your own supplies and linens, do your own cooking, cleaning and so on. There is a small restaurant at the little store that operates some days. My main objection here is that other than Mineral King Valley, there is really nothing to see or do there. Mineral King is beautiful, no doubt about that. Years ago, we climbed and hiked all over that area and loved it, partly because it was so remote and outside the Park. It is one of the few points on the western side of the Sierra where you can access directly to the high country in a day hike, as opposed to the east side where there are many such points. The thing is, you need to get out of the valley floor to really enjoy it and the hikes are steep and strenuous. The area along the road is pretty built up with private cabins and campgrounds. Nice for a half day visit to see the high mountains or a day hike up to one of the alpine lakes but not much else.

The Mineral King Road, which leads you from SR 198 to Atwell Mill, Silver City and ultimately Mineral King is long, windy and narrow, with no services. You actually have to leave the Park and drive almost all the way down to Three Rivers to find the road, then follow it back up to the entrance station and on to the "resort" area. IIRC, the speed limit is around 35-40 MPH and you won't be tempted to go faster. The road dead-ends in Mineral King and the only way out is back the way you came. This makes it a nice place to "retreat" to a cabin in the mountains for a rest, with nothing to do but kick back and relax. It is not a good base from which to explore Sequoia National Park. For that, you'd be better off in Grant Grove, Wuksachi Lodge or camping in one of the many campgrounds. The old lodge and tent cabins we used to use at Giant Forest have all been removed. For the Sequoia side of the dual park, you might be better off outside the Park in Three Rivers.

Last edited by abmj-jr; May 9, 13 at 1:49 pm
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Old May 10, 13, 1:19 pm
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There's also stories about chipmunks or squirrels or marmots or something eating the rubber hoses underneath vehicles parked in the Mineral King trailhead parking lots for a few days. Apparently experienced folks bring some chicken wire and put it around the bottom of their car.
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Old May 10, 13, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
There's also stories about chipmunks or squirrels or marmots or something eating the rubber hoses underneath vehicles parked in the Mineral King trailhead parking lots for a few days. Apparently experienced folks bring some chicken wire and put it around the bottom of their car.
Yep, marmots. We did that every time we hiked out of that trailhead, even for day hikes and climbs.
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