We recently took an extended trip through California and Oregon visiting National Parks. I like to stay in the actual park and not try to “commute” from outside the park. For Kings Canyon, I chose John Muir Lodge.
John Muir Lodge met our basic needs but was not one of my favorite locations. Our rooms were clean and nicely decorated in a “sanitized” rustic style and up to date. But, the place just had more of a motel feel than a lodge feel. I am very aware that National Park concessions are run by management companies and are high volume, highly used facilities. Some manage to balance that fact with some feel of rustic but John Muir errs on the side of motel rather than lodge. The openly visible, rodent catchers were a necessity but a little off putting in plain site everywhere.
The access to the room from the parking lot was perfect for our low impact, minimum “baggage” travel logistics. But if, you have to travel with many large suitcases, coolers, etc then the transport from the parking area to the lodge is always a hassle for one night stays. Every location we visited was enforcing a “bear aware” policy so all coolers and food containers and luggage containing scented items (deodorants, etc.) have to be removed from the car and stored in the bear proof containers or taken to the room. So I recommend that you prepare for that reality when traveling to western parks and pack a smaller suitcase to carry back and forth to lodgings like John Muir.
There is no food service in the Lodge but the restaurant adjacent to the Visitors Center is walkable and an excellent “down home” choice.
It gets warm in the daytime and cold at night in the mountains and in the desert. We encountered only one lodging out of 10 that had AC. If your visiting time is spent in your lodging room, then the fans are no substitute for AC and it will be warm during the day. If your lifestyle is to have a lot of day time room time, then researching AC should be a priority. We were very comfortable at night with windows open and the small fan running. I suggest booking on the first floor and not the upper floor as it will be much cooler during the day.
The location is adjacent to other Park housing choices. If you want a more “authentic” park lodging experience, then consider the wood structure historic cabins located just down the hill. I recommend the ones in the more wooded setting and not the more utilitarian cabins which are in an unwooded and stark field.
Remember that it is KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK and not GRANT GROVE NATIONAL PARK. By that I mean that allowing a full day to drive to “end of the road” in the Canyon is what the park is all about. If you are not visiting Sequoia, then Grants Grove is also a must for a second or partial day to soak up the ambiance of the Big Trees.
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- Also Known As:
- John Muir Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park
- Hotel John Muir