“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir
I’ve become a little lax in following actual rules since becoming a stay-at-home mom. This past October, for example, I pulled the kids out of school for a couple of days so that we could jet out to our beloved California. This has never, ever been done before in our household. Mark and I are both educators. We know how important it is to have butts in chairs all the days possible. School is important. Necessary. But Mama gets lonely and a little bored at home all alone day after day…as evidenced by the many pictures of our cats in my Photos folder on my phone.
I convinced Mark that it was SUPER IMPORTANT to pause for a family getaway, and he agreed without too much of a discussion. Maybe because of the cat pictures. Or the way I enthusiastically greet him after work and follow him around retelling all the EXCITING events of my day like a maniac. Bless him. He’s a good man.
We chose Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks because we didn’t have a lot of time, but wanted a big impact. October is a great time to visit California– the weather is cooler and the parks don’t seem overrun with visitors.
There isn’t a major airport near Sequoia/King’s Canyon, so we flew into LAX on a morning flight. (It goes without saying that we got a great deal on plane tickets through Google Flights…it’s our go-to flight finder. Our flights from Dallas to LAX were about $120.00 a piece.). The drive was roughly four hours, and once you’re in the mountains, the scenery makes the time fly by.
One thing you should definitely keep in mind if you plan to visit Sequoia/King’s Canyon is that there are two entrances. The North entrance is about a four hour drive from LAX, but it is open all the way. The South entrance is under construction, and there are road closures and areas where the road is only a single lane. We found very little traffic going into the park on a Friday afternoon through the North entrance, and even though it was a much longer drive, it probably saved us time in the long run. When we left the park, we used the South entrance because we left in the morning. The outbound lane moved along just fine, but the incoming lane was a traffic nightmare.
The weather up in the mountains around Sequoia/King’s Canyon can be a little dicey in October. The weekend we visited there was snow forecasted so we packed our hats, gloves and jackets. Although we left before the snow, it was quite chilly and we needed everything but a heavy jacket.
There’s lots to see in Sequoia/King’s Canyon, and as you might imagine, a lot of it involves giant trees.
The kids were really in awe of the giant redwoods, and enjoyed walking the path around the groves. Both of them, however, like to strike out on their own and bushwhack along trails and off the beaten path.
We pulled over quite a bit to hike around, and I bet this is what the kids will remember most. The weather can change quickly up in the mountains, and at one point we had to call the kids back because fog was rolling in fast and thick. By the time we got back to the car it was a complete white out.
We stayed in the Wuksachi Lodge and Village in Sequoia and it was quite comfortable. The lodge is not a Ritz Carlton, but it is clean and comfortable, with a ski lodge feeling. One thing to note is that it’s quite a trek uphill from the parking lot to the lodge. We had rolling carry-on luggage, and managed just fine, but there are luggage trolleys for those who have more to carry. If you need assistance getting everything up to your room, just let the desk workers know when you check in. They are happy to help those who need an extra hand.
Finding food in Sequoia is a challenge simply because everything is so spread out. There is a small store by the John Muir Lodge, and some snacks for purchase in the Wuksachi Lodge, so we brought our own snacks and drinks and stored them in the mini fridge in our room. This wasn’t our first rodeo, ya’ll.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the Wuksachi Lodge, and the food is quite good. For dinner, I recommend making a reservation AS SOON as you check in because they have limited seating. We did that, and got a decent reservation time, but others who did not had to eat dinner at 9 o’clock! Also, be sure to request a window table, because the view will only enhance your delicious dinner. We recommend the pot roast with mashed potatoes. It. Is. Sogood.
After two days hiking among the giant trees, and exploring the wild woods it was time to head out. We left through the South entrance and along the way we pulled over to watch a black bear meander through the tall grass. She was beautiful!
Once we left the park boundary, we stopped for lunch at the Gateway Restaurant and Lodge in Three Rivers.
I can highly recommend the fish and chips lunch, and if the weather is decent, ask to sit outside beside the river. It’s the perfect way to end a journey into the woods with those you love.
As always, I would love to hear from my readers! If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to comment below. Thank you for following along!