Sequoia and Kings Canyon -

Feb 1st, 2012, 03:21 PM
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Sequoia and Kings Canyon -

Well, DH is wanting to go to Lake Tahoe again, and also to catch the Outhouse races in Virginia City. Since this involves us flying out from Florida, it's not a casual impulse. This would go into our 2-week vacation slot in the fall. I was able to secure accommodations in our Worldmark timeshare on the South Shore, now I need to think about the other week. This would be in early-mid October.

I grew up in the Bay Area, and was fortunate enough to visit Lake Tahoe and Yosemite many times. However, I never did get to either Sequoia or Kings Canyon. We thoroughly enjoy short hikes (2-4 hours), particularly in the moutains and woods, and look for opportunities to visit caves, waterfalls, and similar natural splendor. How would these parks fare at that, and would it be worth 2-3 nights?

Some preliminary thoughts:

- 1 week in Tahoe
- Travel down 395, stopping at Bodie, up into Yosemite via Tioga Pass. Maybe spend 1 night somewhere..
- Exit Yosemite via Oakhurst; 2-3 nights Sequoia/Kings Canyon
- Maaaaaybe head for Cambria for a night, then drive up the coast to San Francisco
- 2 nights in San Francisco

We can fly into either Reno or San Jose (Southwest), may consider open jaw flights if car drop charge is not outrageous.

Recommendations on lodging in Sequoia/Kings Canyon? How is Wuksachi or John Muir? Of course, this may all be irrelevant if it's not worth a visit.

I could make this a bit longer than 2 weeks if needed, but don't plan on less.

Anxiously awaiting your most excellent critique, as usual, with gratitude..
sludick is offline  
Feb 1st, 2012, 04:33 PM
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Oh, I should also mention the Redwoods draw for us. We visited Redwoods National Park & Jedediah Smith last September, and have also had several trips to Mariposa, John Muir, Big Basin. Never get tired of these.

I usually plan these things about 2 years in advance, but am humoring DH since his plans for Hungary aren't going to work this year. If he weren't so cute...
sludick is offline  
Feb 1st, 2012, 04:43 PM
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Sequoia and Kings Canyon are very much worth a visit.

The drive from Fresno to Kings Canyon on Highway 180 is surprisingly scenic.

Grants Grove was our favorite place to enjoy the Sequoia, and Kings Canyon is beautiful.

We stayed in a motel type room at Wuksachi. It was o.k., but nothing great. Ditto the restaurant there. It doesn't matter. The main thing is the scenery, and I Iook forward to visiting there again.

Enjoy, HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 1st, 2012, 04:50 PM
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Would recommend you spend a night up at peaceful/scenic Touloumne Meadows when you go up the Tioga pass.

And would definitely get over to Cambria and up the Coast. If you take 46? from Paso Robles - you pass by a number of cute wineries, with Chateaux type B &
B's - and also - if you plan half a day - the tour at Hearst Castle (by San Simeon) is wonderful.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 1st, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Actually - I would also carve out another day/night - and spend a night in the Carmel/Monterrey area - and see the beautiful Acquarium, Cannery Row and take the 17 mile drive.

Lots of choices for good restaurants and fresh seafood in the Carmel/Monterrey area.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 1st, 2012, 07:26 PM
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> We thoroughly enjoy short hikes (2-4 hours), particularly in the moutains and woods,
> and look for opportunities to visit caves, waterfalls, and similar natural splendor.
> How would these parks fare at that, and would it be worth 2-3 nights?

SeqKC would fit the bill for your desires better than any other place but Yosemite. Since you enjoy hikes of several hours length, two to three days will be fine. The hiking opportunities are legion.
PaulRabe is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 07:01 AM
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OK, good deal.

Now...for the stopover between Tahoe and Seq/KC... as much as I would like to stay in Yosemite, it's a little pricey. Would have really liked to stay in the Tuolumne area, but perhaps it's too late in the season - no availability, at any rate. Since we are not planning on really spending a lot of time there (except perhaps stopping for a bite at the Ahwahnee bar), am thinking just going on to Oakhurst. Sound reasonable?

I know the lodging at Sequoia is pretty much basic, that is where I am struggling to choose among the options. Any recommendations are very welcome (and thanks, htty).

Will plan on 2 nights in Cambria. Skipping Monterey this trip, as that has been our normal stop on past trips. Creating some new travel memories here, hopefully.
sludick is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:08 AM
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We were perfectly happy with Wuksachi. We booked there because I got the impression that the restaurant was better there than elsewhere in the park, and the restaurant was o.k.

Kings Canyon NP had been on my list for several years because we were never before able to visit the park when all the roads were open.

We had visited Sequoia NP very briefly fifteen years ago, but I wasn't impressed. I didn't understand that sequoia don't grow in great groves as redwoods do. That is why we liked Grants Grove best--it has sequoia in closer proximity than we saw elsewhere in the park.

I urge you to make the effort to visit Kings Canyon and Sequoia NPs. They are remote and beautiful--a refreshing change from wonderful but overrun Yosemite.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:16 AM
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We stayed at John Muir Lodge in the park about six years ago:

It was fairly new back then, but it seemed like a really nice and welcome lodging option in the park.

It is a beautiful park; you won't be sorry.
musicfan is online now  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:16 AM
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HTTY, thanks again. I've booked 2 nights at the Wuksachi.

Moving on with Cambria area plans now, probably will do 2 nights there as well - we have a "2 night" rule, and try not to do a single night stay more than once a trip. Tomsd, your advice on the cute little wineries really piqued DH's interest, thanks.
sludick is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 11:34 AM
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Are you going to overnight in Oakhurst? If so, try to stay at the Best Western Yosemite Park Inn. Oakhurst is not a very scenic town, (my in-laws live there) but the BW is a nice place with buildings scattered up a forested hillside. Ask for a room near the back of the property, 2 queen beds usually gets you a large room with a balcony.

Then in the morning, I think it's about a 3 hour drive to Sequoia so you would have a good chunk of the day to spend in the park.
gigib is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:01 PM
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It sounds like a nice trip. Would definitely keep Bodie in your plans. We visited Bodie a few years ago, It is an amazing place, and one of the memorable places we have visited while on our travels.
Lateagain is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:27 PM
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gigib - good to hear, that is indeed where I reserved a room, and did go for that room type. Nice to know that I made a good choice I'll ask for a room near the back, as you suggest.

Lateagain - Given the long day from Tahoe to Oakhurst, I think we won't do Bodie that day. But we'll be in Tahoe for 7 nights, and will very likely do it as a day trip that first week. We went to Bodie a few years ago and agree that it is well worth the effort to go there.

By the way, I was able to get a mid-sized SUV in Sacramento for $161 a week. Southwest's fares into there (extrapolating from September, as October is not available yet) are good as well. We have often thought about flying into Sacramento; another new thing to try.
sludick is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Paso Robles, near Cambria has a beautiful wine district. We visited recently, and I submitted this:

"We recently spent a lovely day in the Paso Robles Wine District, which is one of the most beautiful regions of California.

To visit the area from Cambria, drive about three miles south on Highway 1 and take Highway 46 toward Paso Robles.

Drive 17.3 miles and take a left onto Vineyard Drive, which passes a dozen wineries before connecting with Adelaida Road. Adelaida Road will take you past another half-dozen wineries and into Paso Robles.

There are several good restaurants in downtown Paso Robles.

Returning to Cambria on Highway 46 you will drive past another dozen or more wineries.

This drive, without side trips, is about 75 miles.

Here is a link to the Paso Robles Wine Tasting Map:


If you locate my trip report here you will find wineries some Fodorites like.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 03:01 PM
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Cannot help you with advices as both times we were with a tour group, but Sequoia and especially Kings Canyon are worth a visit.

Don't miss Muir Rock - scroll to the middle of the link. And all photos are great, you will want to go!
Dayenu is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2012, 04:37 PM
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I am overwhelmed by all this wonderful info, thank you very much. Thanks to your help, I am quickly finalizing this.

Just booked a King Fireplace room at Cambria Pines Lodge for 2 nights, I was drawn in by the gardens (DH loves to take garden pics). However, still open to other recommendations, if anybody thinks that's not a good choice.

Since we really enjoy wineries and have never had the pleasure of visiting Paso Robles, it's a sure thing we'll be shipping some wine home.

Will do the usual Priceline for SF as things get closer, so won't worry about that. By the way, did the sea lions migrate away from Pier 39? Was in Florence, Oregon, last September and the docks were full of them. Signage said they thought the were the same sea lions that were hanging out At Pier 39 previously.

Y'all really rock! Thanks!
sludick is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 10:08 AM
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There is a colony of elephant seals near San Simeon (I can't remember if it's north or south, but it's just a little ways N of Cambria) that is a lot of fun to see. I think October is somewhat quiet, animal activity-wise, but these huge creatures with their blubber and snorting are something to see. It's right off of Hwy 1 and there's a parking lot, you can't miss it, there's even a sign on the highway.

A good place for lunch is Sebastian's store at San Simeon bay, just downhill from the castle. Huge delicious sandwiches in an old store on the Hearst property.
gigib is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Well, here's an update and end to this post for now:

I finalized all the plans and reservations, and within a couple of days the notice came out in my company that all vacations are cancelled for October/November due to an expected strike. So....

Fortunately I have been able to cancel, and we will take this trip in October 2013. Instead, heading out to Durango and who knows where else. Totally different thread though.

Thanks, all.
sludick is offline  
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