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Lodgepole as Destination?

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Las Vegas
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Lodgepole as Destination?

My wife and I are going to be in Fresno around Nov. 9 & 10. We'd like to drive to Sequoia NP & take a hike and see the Giant Trees. ( Is Crystal Cave closed?) Our questions are 1) Is Lodgepole the best destination for a day trip to the park? 2) Should we be concerned about driving conditions or snow at this time of year? 3) Is the drive to Lodgepole on a good road? Thank you for any help anyone can offer.

Fresno, California
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1. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

From Fresno, it is only a 1 hour drive to Grant Grove on Highway 180. Easy road to drive and probably the simplest if your goal is to see some of the trees.

There you can hike the loop trail to see the General Grant tree (the Nation's Christmas Tree). The Grant is the 3rd largest tree by volume in the world, the General Sherman in Giant Forest is the largest. But the difference in heighth is only about 8 feet so it is hard to see the difference from the ground.

Other trails around Grant Grove allow you to see other sequoias up close. In Grant Grove Village you can grab lunch.

After Grant Grove you can drive the General's Highway to Lodgepole. Decent road but if all you are interested in is seeing a few sequoias then Grant Grove would make the most sense.

I think Crystal Cave closed for the season on Oct 29. If you are interested in touring a cavern, try Boyden Cavern. It is on a section of 180 between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove. I think it stays open, weather permitting, until sometime this month.

Fresno, California
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2. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

Actually as I think about it, I would recommend planning on only visiting Grant Grove in the park but making a couple of other stops along the way.

You might check out the Sierra Cat Haven on Highway 180. This wildlife conservation facility is dedicated to the survival of the large cats, such as tigers and jaguars. 1 hour guided tours available.


You can also stop at Squaw Valley Herb Gardens, also along Highway 180. The gardens included many different species of herbs and flowers in a foothill setting. Check the photos then click the tour links.


New York City, New...
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3. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

Lodgepole has a visitor center (main one for Sequoia) and campground, but it is not a destination if you want to see the Big Trees. There are no giant sequoias in the immediate area, but the best grove in the park is only five miles further along the General's Highway, The famous General Sherman Tree, the biggest living thing, is just down the road.

From Fresno, you'd take Hwy 180 to the General Grant area (officially part of Kings Canyon NP). There's a grove of giant sequoias there, and another visitor center, cabins and campgrounds. This is the closest lodging to giant sequoias anywhere in the two parks. Continue along the General's Highway, turn right at the "Wye", the Wye may be before you reach the Grant Grove, I don't remember, so check it out.


Anyway, the main part of Sequoia park (for vehicles anyway) is south of the Grant Grove area, along the General's Highway, named for the two large trees, General Grant and General Sherman, named in a fit of patriotic fervor after the US Civil War. You'll pass through a stretch of National Forest land with private inholdings then enter Sequoia National Park itself. There's a small grove of giant sequoias, the Lost Grove before Lodgepole, also there is the Wuksachi Lodge, where you can stay withing hte park.

The Giant Forest Grove is just past Lodgepole, it has the largest tree General Sherman and a large area to hike in. Check it out on the site.

Fresno, California
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4. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

The "wye" or fork mentioned above is before Grant Grove, not far after entering the park from Highway 180. Left is to Grant Grove, right is to Sequoia via the General's Highway.

If you chose to go to Lodgepole, figure about 1 hour driving time from the Grant Grove/General's Highway wye, 2 hours round trip not including time at the visitors center at Lodgepole or hiking.

FYI, the General Sheman was named about 10 years after the war by a former officer in Sherman's army. Roughly about the same time there was another group that attempted to have it named for Karl Marx. I think I like the Sherman better.

The General Grant was named immediately after the Civil War.

There are also trees named for Confederate heros, Native Americans, other presidents, etc.

No. California
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5. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

I suggest you go to the area where the General Sherman tree is after a stop at the lodgepole ranger station. At the station you can get a good map of the area and ask for a suggestion from the ranger for a hike that meets your ability and interest. I prefer the groves in and around General Sherman. It really is a forest of trees not just a grove. General Grant tree and its surrounding are simply a sampling of what you can see just off the beaten path at General Sherman.

You are in the mountains and the highest end of the mountains at that. You might hit snow but in early nov it is not likely. Check the weather before you leave the flatland.

Fresno, California
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6. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

Currently there is a 30% chance of snow in the forecast this week. So be prepared in case it turns to snow.

The microclimate in the Lodgepole area is such that it sees snow at times when Grant Grove does not, although both are at about 6,500 feet elevation.

To show what I mean, Wolverton is just a few miles from Lodgepole and was home for many years to a small downhill ski resort. The next nearest runs were about 75 miles away.

7. Re: Lodgepole as Destination?

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