In Sequoia National Park, you feel so small in front of the gigantic majesty of nature. The sequoias of this famous park in California attract the most passionate arborists, or those who simply want to see with their own eyes these giants almost as ancient as the world. Of course, there also those who come to snap a classic tourist picture (which never hurts), in which you try to embrace the General Sherman Tree, or some other monumental tree that grows along the trails of the Giant Forest.
A visit to Sequoia National Park is a must for anyone going from San Francisco or Los Angeles towards Yosemite or Death Valley and vice versa. However, especially if someone tours the parks in the winter, it is common for those who have visited Death Valley to treat Sequoia as a substitute stop for Yosemite, since they are forced to bypass Yosemite itself from the south, due to the closure of the Tioga Road. This would prevent them from crossing Yosemite from east to west, making it virtually impossible to visit it from that side. We talked about this in much greater detail in the article that compares Yosemite to Sequoia. Read it to find some additional insight. Also, at the link below, you will find some specific tips on the trip from Sequoia to Death Valley. Remember that in Yosemite and Sequoia the use of snow chains is mandatory in the winter!
So, after Bakersfield, you can make up for the loss by visiting Sequoia and, if you want, the adjacent Kings Canyon National Park. This brings us to the main issue we wish to address in this article, that is, how do you find accommodations that make it convenient to visit just Sequoia, or both parks. So, where to stay in Sequoia National Park? In the park, in the middle of nature? Or in the small towns in the valley? The decision-making process must be thorough, because visiting Sequoia…
… can be exhausting!
Yes, at least as far as I’m concerned, visiting Sequoia National Park is a bit more tiring than visiting other parks when you consider some more trivial logistical issues. In fact, the park is entirely mountainous, and to reach the points of interest you need to drive a long way on the narrow curvy roads for at least an hour from the park entrance (Sequoia Visitor Center) – not to mention those who want to reach Kings Canyon Visitor Center is must drive another 30 miles of winding roads from Giant Forest.
All right, theoretically it is not a major setback… but the visit could get quite tiresome, especially after driving all day from Death Valley or even from San Francisco or Yosemite. Would you like an example? Read Manq‘s experience and see how disheartening it was!
For this reason, the first thing to do when planning your visit is to choose the most strategic accommodations, i.e. taking into account the necessary travel time inside the park and the possibility to visit the Kings Canyon too! So let’s go and see where to stay overnight, both in Sequoia and in the immediate surroundings.
Map of the Sequoia National Park Area
Hotels in Sequoia: Where to Stay Inside the Park?
We had already mentioned some hotels in Sequoia National Park in our short in-depth guide in the Hotels across the US page. Here is a description of all those available:
John Muir Lodge
Located in Hume (Kings Canyon), the John Muir Lodge is a beautiful rustic wooden structure surrounded by trees and its location is excellent for visiting both Sequoia and, of course, Kings Canyon. In the lobby, well furnished like all the rooms, there is a nice fireplace, and very basic cabins are available. The nearest attraction, one mile away, is the General Grant Tree (Sequoia).
Back in Sequoia National Park, right within the confines of the park, there is the Wuksachi Lodge, another hotel in a breathtaking location, just a few miles away from the trail that leads to General Sherman. It is certainly the most “scenic” of the park but even though the location is phenomenal, the same cannot be said of the rooms. It’s true that they are clean and tidy, but they are very plain, like the rooms you would find in a motel, but four times the price.
Montecito Sequoia Lodge
Along Generals Highway, halfway between Sequoia and Kings Canyon, is Montecito Sequoia Lodge, perhaps the best hotel in the area. I really like the lake that opens up in front of the building that is framed by the green of the forest. The rooms are simple and spartan (I would say functional …!), but the beauty lies in the rate, which includes all meals.
Cedar Grove Lodge
In the heart of Kings Canyon, in Cedar Grove, you will find the Cedar Grove Lodge – closed in winter when CA-180 E is closed- is actually an old motel that boasts a beautiful location in the canyon, right on the banks of the South Fork King River. You will have a comfortable stay at the lodge, which is perfect for those who want to explore Kings Canyon.
Sequoia National Park: Where to Stay Near the Park?
If neither the accommodations nor the campsites in Sequoia Park are within your budget, you’ll need to look in the towns on the slopes of the mountains, as you drive away from Sequoia or Kings Canyon. These are the places you can stay outside the park:
Three Rivers-Sequoia (Visitor Center): 15 min.
The small town itself is not that interesting, but it has the advantage of being the gateway to Sequoia National Park and, for this reason, there are several cheap accommodations here. As you approach the entrance to the park, you will find other hotels along Generals Highway:
The Gateway Restaurant & Lodge: While Three Rivers is the gateway to the Sequoia, this cute motel-lodge is right on the park’s doorstep ready to welcome you. It’s not a modern hotel (that’s the problem with a lot of accommodations around here), but the location overlooking the river is spectacular. However, it takes about fifty minutes to get to the redwoods.
Comfort Inn & Suites Sequoia Kings Canyon: A little further into the valley, in the middle of the village, you will find the Comfort Inn & Suites, which is very affordable and everything is right there at your fingertips: supermarkets, restaurants, pizzerias and anything you may need for a restful stay before or after visiting the Sequoia.
Visalia-Sequoia (Visitor Center): 45 min.
Visalia, about half an hour from Three Rivers, is located halfway between Bakersfield and Fresno, the two largest cities in the area. This little town – where Kevin Costner (!) was born – is a bit further away from the park, but has some good accommodation. I recommend:
La Quinta Inn & Suites Visalia/Sequoia Gateway: It offers all amenities – swimming pool and breakfast included – typically found in a quality motel. La Quinta Inn is a good option for those who need a place to stay on the way from Death Valley to Yosemite-San Francisco.
Lindsay and Porterville
Lindsay-Sequoia (Visitor Center): 50 min.
Porterville-Sequoia (Visitor Center): 1h
South of Three Rivers, on SR-65 N (a road a little more direct than the parallel CA-99 N), you will find two towns that break up the monotony of the Californian landscape of this area: Lindsay and Porterville. Finding accommodations here can be convenient for those who don’t want to stray too far from Bakersfield, keeping in mind their next or previous stages (Death Valley above all).
- Holiday Inn Express Porterville: Porterville has every kind of motel imaginable, but of the whole bunch maybe it’s worth choosing the Holiday Inn Express. Why? It has a hot tub!
Super 8 Lindsay Olive Tree: For those who enjoy staying at Super 8, it’s worth getting to Lindsay, which is at least closer to the destination. The reason for the name is that among the decorative palm trees of the square, stands a sturdy olive tree. In addition to its location on the way to the Sequoia, it’s worth mentioning that it’s close to some fast-food restaurants and it has a swimming pool. Also, you can find the World’s Largest Olive in the parking lot.
Fresno-Sequoia (Visitor Center): 1h 25 min.
Fresno-Kings Canyon (Visitor Center): 1h 10 min.
Fresno is the largest city in the area after Bakersfield and is the perfect intermediate stop between Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Yosemite/San Francisco. However, keep in mind that the city is a little closer to the entrance to the Kings than to the Sequoia. There is a little more choice in Fresno, and finding a good quality motel is not difficult. I particularly recommend the following:
Garden Inn and Suites Fresno: Small family-run hotel/motel with a swimming pool. The owner is a plant lover and will probably proudly show you her garden with fruit trees, which makes the motel much less impersonal than many others in the area.
- San Joaquin Hotel: The hotel has a gorgeous interior and exterior design, with a very well kept flower garden. The rooms are spacious and tidy and there is a nice lounge. It is in the vicinity of Fig Garden, and not far from a shopping center, which is useful if you need to do some last-minute shopping.
For more tips on accommodation in Fresno click on the link below.
Bakersfield – Sequoia (Visitor center): 1 h 50 min.
Finally, I want to tell you about Bakersfield, 1 hour and 50 minutes from the visitor center and at least 2 hours and 30 minutes from the first notable sequoias. You are probably asking yourself, why should we mention a city so far from our destination? The fact is that the stops have to be seen from a wider and more strategic point of view. There’s a good chance that you will arrive at the Sequoia from Las Vegas, maybe after the visit of Death Valley: in that case, you will certainly want to stop in Bakersfield, an optimal intermediate stop (about 7 hours by car, including the tour in Death Valley).
- Padre Hotel: Bakersfield is much bigger than Visalia, Porterville and Lindsay, so there’s a way to find facilities a little more equipped than the usual motels. One of these is the Padre Hotel: modern, cozy and with clean and spacious rooms. We are in the heart of downtown: in case you want to take a walk, there is the Art District that, in addition to various art galleries, houses the 1930 Fox Theater, the city’s leading attraction.
- Hotel Rosedale: The Rosedale, which has a large swimming pool, is a cheaper and ideal alternative for those who, as in your case, are passing through. Also, to get to downtown Bakersfield, you must travel a couple of miles and cross a little river.
For all other cities or towns where you can stay at Sequoia National Park, or simply to search for accommodations according to your exact needs, click on the following link: