The plan was to camp at Kings Canyon National Park, but our GPS plotted a route from Yosemite through Sierra National Forest – a route that, as daylight was beginning to fade and our gas tank was running uncomfortably low, we realized was not going to take us to our destination. While trying to retrace our route around a reservoir in the forest, we met a group of boaters/campers, and thanks to their kindness in giving us directions and five gallons of gas, we were able to make it to Highway 180 – which would have been the smart route to have taken in the first place. Stopping in Squaw Valley to fill up the tank, we noticed a motel next to the gas station, so rather than proceed to Kings Canyon and have to pitch a tent in the dark, we decided to check in.
This is a mom-and-pop style motel, probably built in the ‘50s when life was simpler, so don’t expect large rooms or too many amenities. However, it’s spotlessly clean, the bed and pillows were comfortable, the towels were new and fluffy, there was plenty of hot water, the air conditioning was efficient, and the rooms – I recall seeing only about eight – are set back far enough from the road that you don’t hear traffic. Best of all, there was a patio/picnic area behind the office where we could set up our camp stove, prepare an evening meal and eat in comfort. (There’s a pizza place on the other side of the motel if you’re not planning on cooking, but that may be the only dining option in Squaw Valley.) Next to the patio is a very nice little pool where, as the friendly host explained, you can swim “till you can’t see any more.” Just as there’s no set closing time for the pool, there’s no particular opening hour in the morning, so no problem taking a dip before you hit the road.
This isn’t what most people would call destination accommodation, but it was such a welcome haven when we came upon it that we’d have been happy to stay again on our way out of Kings Canyon had the timing been right. For $65 a night, including tax, in the high season, this surely has to be one of the better deals in the vicinity of a major national park.
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- Also Known As:
- Squaw Valley Hotel Squaw Valley