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Where to stay

Which Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park hotels are on sale?
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Walpole...
posts: 2
Where to stay

Planning our trip for next August. We will be coming in from Fresno ( after flying from Boston) and will have 3 nights before leaving for Yosemite. Is there one hotel that's in the middle of both parks? I have three kids (10, 8,4). I was thinking of the Wuksachi for one night and then the Jon Muir. Does that even make sense? How long of a drive to Yosemite from both of these locations?

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 37,343
reviews: 56
1. Re: Where to stay

I don't know which lodging in SEKI, but Yosemite is 1200 square miles. So asking 'how far to Yosemite' can be vague. Some on-line mapping tools or hotel/motel websites claim 'minutes to Yosemite' but they don't say how far from the part of Yosemite you might want to visit.

From SEKI, you'll probably be using Hwy 41 to the South Entrance. From the South Entrance of Yosemite, it's about 45 minutes to Yosemite Valley.

Parsippany, New...
posts: 289
reviews: 7
2. Re: Where to stay

I can't speak about John Muir, but Wuksachi was very nice. Look into room though. Our room only had 2 double beds. I don't know if they accomodate 5... I liked staying there though. We did the same trip in reverse. We left Yosemite and drove to Fresno (I think it was about an hour and a half from Glacier Point Road). Stayed overnight in Fresno and then drove to King's Canyon (which was about an hour away). We spent the first day in King's Canyon, stayed overnight in Wuksachi and then did Sequoia on day 2 and then drove back to Fresno for the night. Sequoia lodging was quite expensive, so by doing the night before and the night after in Fresno, we were able to save some money on the hotels.

San Diego...
posts: 7,521
reviews: 29
3. Re: Where to stay

John Muir Lodge is not far from the entrance to Kings Canyon National Park, and the drive from John Muir Lodge to the southern entrance gate of Yosemite would be about 2 hours and 15 minutes: 1 hour to Fresno on Highway 180, then about 1 hour and 15 minutes on Highway 41 to the southern entrance. Then from there to Yosemite Valley would be about another 45 minutes as PNWF states, so the total time from John Muir Lodge to Yosemite Valley would be about 3 hours of driving plus any time spent at stops along the way.

Wuksachi Lodge to Yosemite would add an additional 1 hour to the above.

John Muir Lodge is a pretty good location if you want to see both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, since it is close to the Grant Grove, is about 1 hour from the Giant Forest area, and is about 1 hour from Kings Canyon itself (Cedar Grove area). So the location is a pretty good compromise if you want to see all those areas. Also nearby are the Grant Grove Cabins but I've never stayed in either so I can't compare them.

There are 2 caves you can visit in SEKI, the Crystal Cave in Sequoia NP and Boyden Cavern in Kings Canyon NP. Both require per-person admission fees for the tour. I don’t know of any caves in Yosemite.

A few things in between SEKI and Yosemite might interest you or the kids. If you like big cats, there is a small but good cat sanctuary on Highway 180 just outside the entrance to Kings Canyon NP. I would stop there in the morning (I think the first tour is at 10) as the days are warm in August and the cats may be asleep in the afternoon. They are in enclosures but you can get within 3 feet of the cage. You can’t walk around on your own, you have to take a tour with a docent, and it’s $9 for adults, $6 for children. http://cathaven.com

Fresno has a minor tourist attraction called Forestiere Underground Gardens, but I'm not sure how much that will appeal to kids. I believe a reservation is recommended to take a tour. http://www.undergroundgardens.com

Between Oakhurst and the southern entrance to Yosemite is the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, a 4-mile train ride. http://ymsprr.com for details. Within Yosemite is the Wawona area, which has the Yosemite Pioneer History Center, which has among other things a 10-minute horse-drawn stagecoach ride for, I believe, $3 for adults and $2 for kids. Also the south fork of the Merced River runs through Wawona and there are opportunities for picnicking and even wading into the chilly water.

Edited: 2:29 pm, July 27, 2012
Walpole...
posts: 2
4. Re: Where to stay

Thanks so much! Would it make sense to stay at the Wuksachi the first night when we are coming from Fresno and then stay at the John Muir the following 2 nights? We are coming from the east coast so I would like to stay at the closest place from Fresno on that first night?

So Cal
posts: 2,488
reviews: 64
5. Re: Where to stay

I've stayed in the Grant Grove cabins - very rustic, which was up my alley. Both Wuksachi and John Muir seem expensive for what they are, but that's par for national parks (you're paying for location). The Stony Creek Lodge is in the national forest between Sequoia & Kings - kind of a distance from anything and rather small, but I mention it in case the others are booked up.

If it were me, I'd just stay at one place in SeKi for a 3night stay. But you might find it easier to switch lodgings than make the drive between them.

Have you checked the nps website, or read the lodging reviews on TA? www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/lodging.htm

So Cal
posts: 2,488
reviews: 64
6. Re: Where to stay

Gah - TA ate my attempt at an edit. Anyway:

John Muir is both the closest to Fresno AND the closest to Yosemite. It's on the 180, at Grant Grove Village. Wuksachi is about an hour southeast, on the Generals Highway.

I really do recommend a good map of the area for your planning. However, comparing Google maps with the NPS's online park map will also do.

San Diego...
posts: 7,521
reviews: 29
7. Re: Where to stay

John Muir Lodge is closer to Fresno than Wuksachi is, and you want the closest to Fresno. You could arrive and check in at the John Muir Lodge, and depending on how much daylight is left, take a stroll around the Grant Grove which is not far from the John Muir Lodge at all. And if there was additional time before dark, you could go up to Panoramic Point which is also near the John Muir Lodge.

If you are staying 3 nights in SEKI, one idea would be to stay 1 night at John Muir, one night at Wuksachi and 1 night at Cedar Grove Lodge, so you can be close to 3 areas of the park, one per day. Or if only 2 places, then I would try to do 1 night at John Muir, the next night at Wuksachi then the last night at John Muir. That might make for less driving, if that can be arranged. You want to try to arrange it so you aren't driving the same stretch of road over and over again.

Whatever you do, don't stay at "Kings Canyon Lodge." Just read the reviews. We stopped there for the advertised ice cream and I felt like we were extras in some psychodrama horror film. For snacks try the Christian camp at Hume Lake. I haven't been to it but someone else on this forum said the snack bar was good there and the prices reasonable.

Edited: 3:17 pm, July 27, 2012
Parsippany, New...
posts: 289
reviews: 7
8. Re: Where to stay

Hey bw...I actually just recently posted about Hume Lake. It was good. We had a very enjoyable lunch and ice cream there. Got to bust my son a little too...told him we brought him there because he was staying for the summer. Let me tell you though, those kids seeming like they were having a blast! Anyway, they had good food and the prices were very reasonable. It was a nice change from park food and a very nice atmosphere.

I also agree with you about Kings Canyon Lodge. We HAD to stop there and use the bathroom (I specifically remembered your warnings about the place and didn't want to go in, but it couldn't be helped since bathrooms are few and far between on KC Highway and my daughter was sick). It was a scary place!

So Cal
posts: 2,488
reviews: 64
9. Re: Where to stay

My sis is in SeKi this week - I warned her to avoid that lodge and she gave me the deer-in-the-headlights what-are-you-on-about look. I shall have to find out if they bit...

Sequoia National...
posts: 463
10. Re: Where to stay

For the record, I'm not trying to self-promote here (a big no-no in the TA community), but since DisneyMom brought it up I thought I would mention we do have rooms that can hold parties of 5. Deluxe rooms can hold up to 5, and Superior rooms can hold up to 6.

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