In June 2017 our family took a 9 night trip to California. One of our family’s travel bucket list goals is to see all 50 states, so this was a good opportunity to hit the Golden State. In the middle of our California trip, we spent two amazing days at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, two adjoined national parks in eastern California.
You can read about our full nine-day trip to California in this post.
Sequoia National Park
We arrived at Sequoia National Park around 11 p.m. from San Francisco. Let me just say, that’s not the safest drive to make in the dark. There were a lot of curves and climbs in the mountains. From what we could tell, it would have been a beautiful drive during daylight!
We stayed for three nights at the Wuksachi Lodge, so we had two full days to explore Sequoia and King’s Canyon. The lodge was convenient and the room was passable. You’ll want to stay in the park, as there is nothing really available in the surrounding area that I can recall. I will say that if you have physical difficulties, this lodge might be a challenge. There was a lot of walking up a hill and steps to get to the lodge from the parking area, and I don’t recall an elevator in the lodge.
Our first day was spent the way you are supposed to spend your first day in Sequoia, looking at the mind-blowingly large trees. First we went to see the General Sherman tree and walked around the area. Wow. They really are a sight to behold. I love this picture, because literally as this picture was being taken, the fog started rolling in, which made our pictures in among the trees pretty magical. Once the fog rolled it, it didn’t let up in Sequoia until after we left.
After lunch we were kind of winging it, so my husband and his trusty hiking trail scoping skills led us to the Wuksachi Trail. It started right behind the lobby and restaurant for the Wuksachi Lodge (which, it is important to note, are located across the road from the buildings where the rooms are). And it quickly turned into a magical wonderland with the fog and the rushing waters. If we’d have know we were going to end up taking our holiday card photo on this hike, we might have worn different clothes, but that’s the beauty of travel, right?
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The next morning we hiked the Moro Rock Trail. I’m guessing in good weather that it’s a pretty spectacular view, but since we couldn’t see anything on the overlook, I can’t say for sure.
We heard that King’s Canyon was having less fog and warmer temps, so that’s where we spent the rest of the day. After a record snowfall that year, the spring melting was creating very impressive waterfalls! King’s Canyon is small but mighty. We really enjoyed our time there.
The next day, high off our fun in sunnier, warmer King’s Canyon, we were ready for our voyage to Yosemite. Especially when we opened the curtain to our hotel room and saw this:
Yes, we know it snows in the mountains. But come on, Mother Nature. It’s June. In California. And we’re from Minnesota. We don’t need to see snow on our summer vacation. Cut us some slack!
- Try to avoid driving into Sequoia National Park at night. My husband, frustrated from the ridiculous traffic leaving San Francisco during rush hour, was downright white knuckling by the time we were driving into the park. Lots of curves and mountainous terrain.
- Don’t skip King’s Canyon! It definitely warrants a day trip with its stunning waterfalls.
The trip was a success overall. We saw breathtaking scenery. We have funny stories to tell from our experiences. And we were together, which was most important. And it made me hungry to see more of California with my kids. I’d love to come back to this area again sometime, but it will not be during the early summer.
Travel is about creating memories with those you love. And this trip had memories in spades.