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Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

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SanClemente, CA
posts: 176
reviews: 1
Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

I've been told various ways to make this trip. We are traveling on August 19th.

99 to 198 to 245 to and back to the 198

99 to 65 to 245 to the 198

99 all the way to Fresno....180 to the 198

I checked these routs on Mapquest and it says that the first two routes are approx. 2 hours and 50 minutes. The third route....through Fresno....it says is about 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Help! Thanks!

So Cal
posts: 3,724
reviews: 63
1. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

I've always gone 99 to 198. I don't know why you would want to divert to the 245 (maybe if you want to get off the 99 but don't want to drive the 198 in?). Anyway, the 198 is the southern route into Sequoia NP, and is the one that has a gazillion switchbacks etc. Very scenic, but not for anyone with an RV, trailer etc.

The other main route is the 99 to the 180 - that goes into Kings Canyon NP. I haven't driven it, but apparently it's a more gentle ride.

Three hours can't be right - where is your Mapquest starting point?

SanClemente, CA
posts: 176
reviews: 1
2. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

The "starting point" on mapquest is simply "Bakersfield".

We are actually coming from Orange County, but plan to either stop and spend the night in Bakersfield or Fresno (so that we don't have to do the drive all in one day.......with young kids). Obviously, if we stay in Fresno we'll take the 180 to the 198. But, if we decide to stop in Bakersfield.............I'm stumped on which route to take.

Fresno, California
posts: 1,039
3. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

3 hours is probably pretty close, maybe a little on the high side, but it depends upon mountain traffic.

For the northern route (99 to 180), Bakersfield to Fresno is roughly 110-120 miles depending upon the points used. At freeway speeds that is about 1.5 to 1.75 hours. Then Fresno to Grant Grove via highway 180 is about 1 hour to 1.25 hours. Anywhere else in Sequoia or KC would be more time.

Bakersfield to Visalia is only about 70 miles. But the drive on highway 198 from Visalia directly to the Park on highway 198 has 130 curves and 12 switchbacks which can slow traffic. That route from Bakersfield can probably range from 2hours 30mins to 2hours 45mins depending upon the mountain traffic and the actual park destination.

Instead of considering only Bakersfield or Fresno as stopping points you might also look around the Visalia or Tulare areas right in between the two. Visalia is the larger (and I think nicer of those two cities) with lots of hotels and many restaurant choices plus activities. But Tulare has 2 or 3 hotels that would be fine for a one night stop.

Edited: 5:58 pm, July 30, 2012
So Cal
posts: 3,724
reviews: 63
4. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

Honestly, even w/ kids I'd just drive straight through. My very young niece and nephew made to Yosemite in a day, and also from LA to Salt Lake City in a day - kids are all different, but it can be done. With apologies to Bakersfield, Tulare & Visalia (and all my friends and relatives who live there), none of them are really worth a stayover. And August in the central valley is pretty hot.

If you *must* stay a night, I'd make it Visalia. Closer to the 198 (scenic way in), cute-ish old downtown.

Sequoia National...
posts: 463
5. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

Just for future reference, I generally recommend using Google Maps over Mapquest. Mapquest basically picks the most direct route from point A to point B, even taking into account small seldom-used roads, which can cause trouble (especially in the mountains). 99N to 198E is the best way to go, unless your kids are prone to car sickness, in which case you might want to consider 99N to 180E. Hope this helps!

Fresno, California
posts: 1,039
6. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

In a previous thread, the OP indicated this was four families (kids aged 4-10) headed to family camp at Montecito Sequoia. They had previously looked at a couple of different routes with one overnight stopover and had asked about things like rafting/floating if they used the inland route. There were a couple of river and water park ideas posted on that thread.

Since it now appears the group is leaning toward using 99 with possibly a stop overnight, I thought I'd add a few child oriented stops to consider depending upon the interest of the group to go with the river/water park ideas.

Bugseum - located in Shafter, off Highway 99 just north of Bakersfield. Hands-on insect museum with a kid orientation, gives just a little of the ick factor.


ImagineU - in downtown Visalia. A nice children's museum, its currently in a temporary location while a new 13,000 sq ft building is constructed.


Sierra Cat Haven - located on Highway 180 between Fresno and Grant Grove. (can't forget this since it is bw92116's favorite stop!) This is a park dedicated to the preservation of several large wild cat species. Open 10am to 5pm (last tour at 4) every day but Tuesdays.


Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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reviews: 42
7. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

Also please read this for roadconditions in Seki.


SanClemente, CA
posts: 176
reviews: 1
8. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

Wow.........such great responses! Thanks so much to everybody for taking the time to offer such thoughtful advice.

After speaking with the folks at Montecito Lodge they suggest taking the 99 to the 180 because the lodge is in Kings Canyon and I'll only be on the 198 for 7.5 miles (entering the park at "Big Stump"....Grant Grove area).

On a side note.........it looks like we may stay in Fresno because we're going are planning to do the 3-4 hour "river float" offered by "Kelly's Beach" in Reedley, CA (30 minutes outside of Fresno).


Fresno, California
posts: 1,039
9. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

If you can, post a report about that float after you return. I haven't been at Kelly's in several years so I'm not current on the atmosphere of either the beach or trips.

Are you taking your equipment or buying it there (Kelly's only rents life jackets and provides transportation up river)?

The Kings River is a nice float. I know a rancher north of Highway 180 who has allowed me to use his property to enter the river then float to a spot just a little north of Kelly's Beach.

SanClemente, CA
posts: 176
reviews: 1
10. Re: Bakersfield to Sequoia...help please.

I'll be sure to come back and let you know my thoughts on the float. We are bringing our own equipment as it's much cheaper than purchasing rafts/tubes from Kelly's.

Thanks for your help.