Venturing out into the great outdoors isn’t always about taking a long stroll in the park or going through fast rapids on a river. Sometimes, more relaxing activities such as camping are the better way to go about when in the great outdoors. There are many great camping spots in the U.S. but if you really want a nice and relaxing time ahead, we suggest camping out at some of the countless national parks. Even then, the list is still quite a lot to go through. That’s why were narrowing down your search by taking a look at the Sequoia National Park. If you want to go out camping, then this place is a must for you and your family.
- 1 Getting to Know Sequoia National Park
- 2 Sequoia National Park History
- 3 How To Get To Sequoia National Park
- 4 Rules Of The Park
- 5 The Best Sequoia National Park Camping Grounds
- 6 Hotel Options in Sequoia National Park
- 7 Hotel Options Near Sequoia National Park
Getting to Know Sequoia National Park
The Sequoia National Park is a national park located in the southern Sierra Nevada region just east of Visalia California. The part is known for many things, but it is mostly known for being the home of the world’s largest tree called the General Sherman. The park spans a whopping 404,064 acres of land currently and most of it is a forested mountainous terrain. Aside from having lush flora, the Sequoia National Park is also home to countless animals for you to see.
The area we know now as the Sequoia National Park was once the home of Monachee Native Americans who made the nearby Kaweah River as their home. The native tribes would trek the mountain passes to trade with other nearby inhabitants of Nevada. There are many pictographs to be discovered around the park which all tell a brief story of the park’s long history.
Sequoia National Park History
One of the first European settlers to reside in the area was the man by the name of Hale Tharp. Those who have been to the park might recognize the name as he was the builder of a home made out of a hollowed-out giant sequoia log in the Giant Forest nearby Log Meadow. As one of the early settlers in the Sequoia National Park, Tharp has huge respect for the natural beauty and as such, he tried his best to maintain its untouched wonders. He was also one of the first who defended the forest from loggers.
Despite his attempts, the Sequoia National Park suffered from heavy logging during the 1880s as the settlers from other areas had hopes of expanding even further. The good thing is that the loggers later discovered that the Giant Sequoia trees’ wood were not a great material for construction as it splintered easily. The loggers stopped getting the Giant Sequoia trees then but they still managed to take out at least thousands of trees first.
To protect the large forested area, the park was established on Sept. 25, 1890. Thanks to this, the pristine wonders of the Giant Sequoias were kept guarded for years on end. However, movements to claim the area persisted throughout the following century. During 1978, the park expanded once again thanks to the efforts of the Sierra Club. They fought off attempts by the Walt Disney Corporation that wanted to use an area south of the park to make a ski resort.
Even the big corporations are unable to take the land in Sequoia National Park and that means you can still camp out in the great outdoors. If you are planning on camping here, then here are a few important things you should know first.
How To Get To Sequoia National Park
If you want to get to the park, the entrance you should take is the one in Ash Mountain. The route you should take is Highway 198 as it leads to the park from the town of Three Rivers which is nearby. Take note that the road in this part is narrow and winding. Any vehicles that are longer than 22 feet might have trouble going through the path.
If you are coming to an area outside Nevada, then the closest commercial airports to the Sequoia National Park is the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) and the Visalia Municipal Airport (VIS). From the FAT, you’ll need to take Highway 180 for at least a 105-minute drive to the park. From VIS, you’ll arrive in the park after a 90-minute drive. There are rent-a-car services at the airport for your leisure.
Rules Of The Park
Since this is a national park, the authorities in the area have a few guidelines that you should adhere to. Luckily, these guidelines are fair and very easy to follow.
- Regarding your food, you must always make sure that your food is properly stored and safe from bears. If you don’t have any storage boxes with you, you can rent a bear resistance box in the campgrounds.
- If you are going to start a campfire, keep in mind that gathering down and dead wood is not allowed. You should also put out campfires with water after using it.
- The quiet hours in the campgrounds are 10PM-6AM this means you must turn of any music if there are any.
- You can bring pets with you to the park but you must pick up after them. You should also keep them in a leash that’s at least 6-feet long.
- You cannot camp on the roadside. You can only do so in permitted campgrounds.
- If you have fuel canisters with you, you are not allowed to throw them in the trash cans around the park. You must take them with you when you leave. This ensures that the park is safe from fire hazards at all times.
- You can camp for up to 14 days. Anything beyond that is strictly prohibited.
These rules are very easy to follow and they don’t ruin the trip for you in anyway. Now that you have these things in mind, you can go to the park to camp out. Here are some of the things you need to see as well.
The Best Sequoia National Park Camping Grounds
Sequoia National Park is one of the frequented places in California. It may not offer extreme activities or unique and unusual experiences unlike other California attractions but this place will get you closer to nature. You can relax and see the beauty of nature even more. In fact, many nature-lovers are drawn to it because of its dramatic landscape – the deep canyons, huge caverns, big (actually the world’s largest) trees, beautiful mountains, and foothills. But where should you stay or camp?
There are actually 14 Sequoia National Park camping grounds in total. In the Foothills area, there is Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, and South Fork. Mineral King area has Atwell Mill and Cold Springs. Lodgepole and Dorst Creek, on the other hand, is in the Lodgepole area/Giant Forest. Meanwhile, you can find Azalea, Crystal Springs, and Sunset in the Grand Grove area. Sentinel, Sheep Creek, Canyon View, and Moraine, are in the Cedar Grove area.
While these campgrounds are all beautiful and have different things to offer, there are still a few Sequoia National Park camping grounds that stand out. If you’re planning to visit this place, here are some of the top Sequoia National Park Camping Grounds and why they are a cut among the rest.
Located in the Lodgepole area (also known as the Giant Forest), Lodgepole camping area is one of the top Sequoia National Park camping grounds. It has a mix of sites on both sides of the river. There are sites that are nicely treed, especially on the south side of the river. It also has campsites that are near a waterfall. If you want to stay in this area, head on to the very last loop just at the upper end of the river. There, you’ll see a waterfall cascading over huge boulders and smooth rocks. It’s great for those who want a very relaxing site.
If you want a quieter area, you can head on to the mountain tops, beyond the falls. There, you’ll be shaded with large pine trees and you can get to enjoy a more forest-like setting. What’s even better is that you can have more privacy compared to other sites. This is because there are rocks that form like boundaries for every camping space.
On the opposite side of the river, however, is a much more open camping area. This means that there are no boulders that serve as boundaries unlike in the mountain tops. It’s still a good option, though, especially for RV campers.
Also located in the Lodgepole area/Giant Forest, Dorst Creek is also one of the top Sequoia National Park camping grounds because of its convenience. It has a nice location for travelers who want to explore both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park as it is the first camping ground you’ll see when you arrive at the Kings Canyon National Park and it’s just a few miles away from the Giant Forest area. In addition to that, it’s much easier to hike the trail of Muir Grove as the park shuttle stops at this campground.
Dorst Creek is a large campground so you won’t have a hard time finding a campsite for you. In fact, there are more than 280 campsites available in this area. And unlike the Lodgepole area that can seem busy at times because of the Lodgepole Village nearby, Dorst Creek campground offers a quieter ambiance. What’s even better is that it can accommodate nearly all sizes of RVs.
In the Foothills area, there is Buckeye Flat, also one of the top Sequoia National Park camping grounds. What makes this campsite one of the best is that it is also a quiet place to camp. It’s less crowded too as it only offers less than 30 private sites that are only for tents. What’s even better is that, here, you’ll be surrounded by large deciduous trees. It may not offer a clear view of the river, though. But you will still hear the rushing water below and it’s still a relaxing spot to set up a camp. The best part of it is that it is only a few minutes away from the park’s major attractions such as the General Sherman Tree and the Moro Rock.
However, note that the temperature here can be hot, especially during summer as it only has an elevation of 2,800 feet. But don’t worry much. If you’re really eyeing this campground, make sure to visit during spring and fall as the temperature here is much more pleasant during those seasons.
Like the Buckeye Flat, Potwisha is also located in the Foothills area. It offers a much different setting compared to all the other campgrounds in the said park. Potwisha campground is a very open campsite and it’s also the hottest area to set up a camp. At first glance, you’ll likely pass on this area. But what makes it as one of the top Sequoia National Park camping grounds are the views that it can offer and its location.
Potwisha campground may be the hottest site in the park but it has the most beautiful views to offer. here, you can get to see a good view of the distant mountains. It is also much grassier and has several oak trees surrounding the area. In addition to that, each site offers more space for campers. Plus, it’s close to Sequoia National Park’s main attractions.
Sequoia National Park camping is indeed one of the best things to do in California as it lets you get closer to nature, bond with your friends and family, and just get away from the bustling city. However, do note that not all of Sequoia National Park camping grounds are available throughout the year. Also, there some campgrounds have limited sites too and some require early reservations. If Sequoia National Park camping is impossible during your visit due to limited sites, fret not, you can still spend the night in some of the lodgings available in and near the park where you can still enjoy nature.
Hotel Options in Sequoia National Park
If you will head into the heart of the giant sequoias, there you’ll find Wuksachi Lodge. Aside from its nice location, this hotel also boasts of its charming stone and cedar lodge and its own restaurant. Sequoia National Park also has Montecito Sequoia Lodge and Summer Family Camp, an all-inclusive hotel. Here, you can get to enjoy a lot of activities, making this place a much better alternative for big groups with children.
Hotel Options Near Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is also near several hotels that make a convenient place for when you’re visiting the park. If you’ll head a little bit south of Sequoia National park, you’ll see the small town of Three Rivers. Here, you can find hotels like Lazy J Rach – Americas Best Value Inn and Comfort Inn and Suites Sequoia Kings Canyon that are just an hour away from Sequoia National Park’s highlights.
If you have a limited budget, head on to Fresno, northwest of Sequoia National Park. It has several budget-friendly hotel options like Days Inn Yosemite Area. For mid-range hotels, you can check out the Doubletree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center or La Quinta Inn and Suites Fresno Riverpark. It may take you approximately two hours to get to Sequoia National Park but these hotels will not make you break the bank.
It’s nice to get some time off the bustling city life and pause and reset in places that can get you closer to nature. If you’re looking for a place to do that, California’s Sequoia National Park is the best place to be. Here, you won’t just get to enjoy the best views of nature but you’ll also have a place to bond with your family and friends. For more info and updates, head to their website so you’ll know how you can make the most out of your visit all the more.
Do you know other hotels and Sequoia National Park camping grounds to recommend? Tell us in the comments below.