Sequoia National Park

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by 5lilfish, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. 5lilfish

    5lilfish DIS Veteran

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    Seeing the giant Sequoia Trees and Redwoods is high on my list. I think we will be out in California next year for the last week of December and first week of January. I know winter weather closes the roads in this park. I also know that can change year-to-year. In a general sense, what I can I hope to be able to do at that time of year. If there is 'weather' is there anything that safely remains open?

    As we are putting an itinerary together, we are also considering Yosemite and Death Valley. I know we will end with The Rose Bowl Parade and 3 days at Disneyland. Other than that, we can arrange our time around whatever we make a final decision to see. We will have a vehicle and have no issues doing some driving. I'd love suggestions. We have 5 kids ranging from 11 to 21...fairly adventuresome and good travelers.

    Thanks...
    Jess
     
  2. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I posted this to another thread:

    https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/road-conditions.htm

    You'd have several options. One is to visit Grant Grove in the little detached part of Kings Canyon NP. It used to be like a little island before another section was annexed (from the Forest Service) in the 90s that sits against the boundaries of Sequoia NP. You could drive there from Fresno. The road from Grant Grove to Lodgepole isn't plowed, but it also isn't closed. From the south they say they plow from the south (Ash Mountain) entrance to Lodgepole. This section is where Giant Forest and the General Sherman Tree are located. However, that drive up is extremely twisty. I've taken that road a few times in the summer, and it's slow and winding. Never tried it in the winter; I might even be too scared.

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    Technically they were established as two national parks, but they're run together by the same superintendent and operated like it's a single national park. I generally call it SEKI like it's called in the NPS website.
     
  3. isabellea

    isabellea Combining beach and Disney!

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    The roads in red, it's written Open summer only. What do they mean by summer? We will be staying at the Wuksachi Lodge April 21-23 and we're hoping to see as many things in the area as possible.

    I read many reviews on Trip Advisor on Wuksachi Lodge and many stayed there in December so I guess there's some areas open all year long?!?
     
  4. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    I've had lunch at Wuksachi Lodge. It was quite nice but rather pricey. It was allowed after the former Giant Forest Village was removed. Here's a better map from the NPS website:

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    https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/upload/SEKImap3_2015.pdf

    The way it works is that a lot of the smaller roads are listed as "Roads open summer only". Also the road from Hume Lake Junction to Roads End (Kings Canyon Scenic Byway) is closed for winter. The roads that are "open summer only" are mostly spurs coming off of Generals Highway. That's stuff like gravel roads (Chicago Stump, Redwood Mountain Grove) as well as some of the side roads to Crystal Cave, Panoramic Point, and Tunnel Log. For example, Crystal Cave's tour operating season is May 25 to September 30.

    http://www.explorecrystalcave.com

    If Redwood Mountain Grove is open, I would say go there if you can handle the fairly reasonable, but long hiking. I did it with my wife - she wasn't really in great shape and handled it well. That's the biggest sequoia grove anywhere, and it has a less developed feel than Giant Forest or Grant Grove. The trails are completely unpaved, and none of the trees have any kind of identification. The tallest known sequoia tree is located there.

    Mineral King might be open. That place has quite a controversial history, where Walt Disney was looking to build a ski resort there when it was under Forest Service control. They never did it, and the Walt Disney Company gave up about a decade after Walt died. Country Bear Jamboree was originally developed for Mineral King, with the idea that it would be a dinner show for visitors.

    There is that part of the map that says "no gasoline sold in parks". Technically true, but that doesn't tell the entire story. There are still gas pumps inside the park (I remember they were Chevron back when I visited as a kid) but now they're only available for NPS/Forest Service/concessioner use. There is fuel sold in the area, but it's all in the Forest Service areas (aka Giant Sequoia National Monument). There is fuel sold at Stony Creek Village. The Hume Lake Christian Camp has fuel too, but the last time I was there I only saw regular and mid grade. It was also difficult to find someone to start the pumps, which at the time needed a key. I don't know if they've upgraded since to more modern pumps. There may also be fuel at Kings Canyon Lodge, but I'm not sure after the lodge burned down. I heard their fuel pump (antique gravity fed pumps) survived. When I was there I remember fuel was only sold at a 5 gallon price, where they have to hand pump the fuel into graduated glass vials, and then gravity feeds the fuel to the nozzle.

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