Our 3rd time here in 3 years leaves me feeling like an expert on the area. I hope my review can help you come prepared for an amazing time in our favorite National Park, and we hit alot of them. Seki (Sequoia & Kings Canyon) has ample camping. If you have camped in Yosemite, you no doubt have had to deal with the crowds and reservations. You can roll into Azalea on Friday at 6pm and have many amazing choices of open, first-come, first-served campsites. The privacy of some of the sites is unparalleled with what we have found everywhere we go. Every time, we find a better spot. Site #2 is great (2008). Site #37 was awesome (last year). Site #60 is the site that all future campsites for the rest of our lives will be measured against, with a caveat. There is not much room for an RV. If you have a tent...you will agree, as long as you don't mind a walk to the bathroom. Look up the site on a nps map online and you will notice the privacy. The whole area is on high ground and there are no streams, so bugs are not a problem, and there is almost no chance of bears. By the way, the park almost never has a problem with human-food conditioned bears (meaning, that bears don't see our camps, cars, or coolers as a food source). The bears here want to eat bugs in logs, berries on bushes, meadow grass, and acorns. They don't know about people food. Please do your part to keep it that way.
Grant Grove vs Cedar Grove vs Lodgepole, Dorst, and outlying other campgrounds:
Cedar Grove is lower elevation and is hotter in the summer. It has terrible conveniences and is at the end of the road in Kings. We met 2 campers that drove from Cedar Grove to Grant Grove just to shower (the ones in Cedar were closed). Only camp there if you plan to stay there or trek into the high country. I admit, having the Kings river rush through the campgrounds is appealing, though. Lodgepole has the best facilities, but is always crowded. There is a small river. This campground has the best chance at a bear visit, although rare. The showers are great. The visitors center is great. The unmistakable advantage in Lodgepole is you can use the free shuttle right from camp to get into the giant forest. Dorst is beautiful, but not near anything. A free shuttle gets you into the busy areas. The topography is diverse and we were astounded that some of the sites were considered usable because of the lack of flat area to set up. The small creeks mean you will get bugs, but also have a very rare chance of a bear visiting. Between Cedar Grove and Giant Forest, you will go in and out of park boundaries, which means there are US forest campgrounds and off road camping all over the area. Stony Creek is in the middle and has good shower and laundry facilities. Hume Lake is a beautiful reservation only campground in a young pine grove. It's a bit too cozy with neighbors for me. Ignore the foothill areas, where it's hotter and drier, with no or few pine trees.
Bring medium sized to small coolers and food boxes to make using the bear boxes simple. You need to store all food and other fragrant items (toothpaste, deodorant, diaper wipes, etc) in them. It can drive you nuts loading and unloading them multiple times each day. Come prepared for cold weather if you aren't here in July or August. We came on Memorial Day Weekend one time (May 28) and froze so bad that we drove to Fresno to get more cold weather gear. find time to hike around Crescent Meadow, regardless of your fitness level (except handicapped). The trails between Crescent Meadow and Sherman Tree are the most beautiful, quiet, and pristine hikes I have seen in the world. They are tons better than the paved and busy trails around the main attractions.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A scenic campground surrounded by sequoia trees and good hiking trails. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Azalea Campground Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park