What a horrible This is a letter that we sent to the National Parks Services...this place was the WORST experience we have every had. We are also filing a report with the BBB and the health department. As you read on....I guarantee you will NEVER want to visit this place.....EVER!
Dear Sir or Ma'am,
I’m writing to inform you of the appalling experience my family and I had at the Kings Canyon Lodge and to recommend that the National Park Service remove this lodge from its official maps and guides of the Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park.
For our family summer vacation this year we are spending the week visiting Kings Canyon/Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. We have six kids with us for this trip: four of our own (ages 9, 9, 6, and 3), a cousin (age 14), and a friend of our older two (age 8). We drove up from the LA area on Friday, July 2nd and are staying at the KOA in Coarsegold. We made our first foray into the National Parks on Sunday, July 4th, spending the day at Kings Canyon/Sequoia.
Our day at the Park was fantastic save our very unfortunate visit to the Kings Canyon Lodge. We spent the morning at Grant’s Grove and were driving the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway in the afternoon toward Cedar Grove when we decided to stop at the Kings Canyon Lodge for fuel and to feed the kids.
I got fuel and my wife ordered lunch inside the Lodge for she and the kids. The woman who took our order (she appeared to be the Lodge owner) was from the start generally unpleasant. She did not smile and was short with my wife. We got the impression that we were an inconvenience to her, though our family was only one of two sets of customers present at the time. After ordering we sat outside at one of their picnic tables awaiting our order.
While waiting, a couple of our kids (with my wife) used the restroom (for customers only), which was simply disgusting: no hand soap, no toilet paper (upon our request, while one of our kids used the bathroom, the proprietor remedied this situation by delivering half a roll), no paper towels, urine on the floor, and overflowing trash bin. Our kids, the waitress, and a man who worked there (he appeared to be another owner) went in and out of the Lodge a few times, the spring-loaded door slammed each time, and the female proprietor barked “who keeps slamming the door.” When a couple of our kids walked up the stairs outside the building to see if there was seating upstairs, the female (apparent) owners snapped “No one’s allowed up stairs!” However, there was no signage to indicate that going upstairs was prohibited. This is more or less how things went until lunch was served and the service descended from discourteous to downright belligerent.
The waitress brought out the soup for two of our kids first. A while later the female proprietor came out with a couple more of our orders and went completely unhinged. I didn’t register everything she said, but it began by yelling at us that she couldn’t believe how incredibly rude we were to bring drinks into her restaurant. (In point of fact, we were outside at one of their picnic tables and had simply given the kids juice boxes.) I said the kids wanted juice boxes and my wife protested asking what we had done to offend her. At this point the woman was rolling in an all out rant, there was no reasoning with her. She said why don’t I just take the food and you get out of here, this is our restaurant, people like you don’t deserve our food. My wife attempted to protest and the woman continued her tirade and called my wife an obscenity. At this point I said, “Let’s go,” rounded up the kids and headed for our vehicle. The woman grabbed the plates, literally pulling food from a couple of our kids’ hands and stormed back to the kitchen. She continued to yell and spew obscenities at the Lodge staff and anyone else unfortunate enough to be within earshot. After loading the kids, I came back and paid (the male proprietor) for our fuel while the female proprietor was in the kitchen stewing. We then departed the establishment post haste.
Now, I can live with paying over $4.50/gallon for gas (to be precise, it was $27.50 for the minimum 6 gallons). I can even put up with dirty bathrooms, expensive burgers/grilled cheeses, and generally discourteous behavior. But, attacking my family for the infraction of giving our kids juice boxes with their, in total, roughly $70 lunch and, most egregious, using obscenities in front of our children and grabbing food from them is something I will not tolerate, nor should anyone!
So, what’s the National Park Service to do?
I understand the Park cannot choose its neighbors, however there’s no reason the Park Service should condone or even acknowledge this independent—not affiliated with the Sequoia National Forest, National Park, or Department of the Interior—establishment. Yet, this blight on Kings Canyon National Park is recognized on official Federal Government produced National Park Service maps. This does not make sense to me. In essence, the Park Service is providing a free form of advertising for this independent business.
We reported our experience to one of the rangers at the Grant’s Grove station on our way home. The ranger indicated that this business had been grandfathered access in the Sequoia National Forest and mentioned that they had been receiving these types of complaints from Park visitors for eight years. She lamented the fact they could not do anything about it because, for the most part, people did not formally write up their experience and hence the Park did not have hard evidence upon which to take action. She also mentioned that they, the rangers, were prohibited from commenting one way or another on this or any other private establishment (e.g., “This is a great place” or “That place is terrible”) to Park visitors.
This makes sense to me; government workers cannot and should not lobby for (or against) a private business in their official capacity. But, by simple extension, official government documents—e.g., Park maps—should not cite private businesses. To be fair, I’m certain this business (and others) are listed with the intent of better serving the Park visitors; specifically, there’s no gasoline service in the Park and this business provides gasoline in an area between two parts of the Kings Canyon National Park. But if this business (and any others) want to maintain this implicit partnership with the National Park Service then it is not unreasonable to expect they maintain a minimum level of quality of service of which the government would be proud to be affiliated. From our experience, the Kings Canyon Lodge fell far short of any standard the government would set.
So, in closing, I recommend either this business submit to some government oversight, quality check really, in order to maintain a listing on official National Park Service maps, or, remove this business from the map. And, I hope our experience can serve as a warning, or even better a catalyst for change in the Park Service relationship with this neighbor, such that other families do not have to suffer the same experience.
* We looked up the Kings Canyon Lodge on Yelp.com and Tripadvisor.com and found several derogatory entries. I'd recommend the Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park consider these entries in their collective body of evidence against the Kings Canyon Lodge.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.