Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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I stayed overnight at the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park with my family in late August. We loved the lodge’s rustic comfort and beautiful park setting. The location was exactly what we needed to rest up and be close to the park’s attractions we wanted to visit on our way through.
Wuksachi Lodge was pricier than other lodging options, and we needed some clarification about arrival and breakfast service. Overall, I was satisfied with our stay at this beautiful lodge among the trees.
Read on to see the highlights of our stay at the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park.
Wuksachi Lodge sits at an elevation of 7,200 feet in the heart of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which are 2 national parks operated as 1. With a great location, it’s close to many of the park’s major attractions.
The lodge is about 45 minutes from the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon via Generals Highway and only 10 minutes away from the General Sherman Tree. The Giant Forest Museum and Moro Rock, just past the General Sherman Tree, are just 15 minutes from the lodge as you continue on the Generals Highway.
The location was perfect for exploring some of the highlights of Sequoia National Park. Just minutes away from the awe-inspiring giant trees we wanted to visit, this was an easy overnight stop convenient for our planned activities.
We drove to the lodge from Yosemite National Park, taking the southern route out of Yosemite through Tunnel View and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Our route took us through Fresno, then on to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. It took us about 4 hours to drive from Yosemite National Park to Wuksachi Lodge, though we had several scenic stops.
The closest airport to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT), just over an hour and a half away.Hot Tip:
Wuksachi Lodge sits at an elevation of 7,200 feet. You might have difficulty at the lodge if you’re prone to altitude sickness. My eldest child was fine days before in the Yosemite area, where we slept at around 3,500 feet, but woke up with elevation sickness after sleeping at Wuksachi Lodge’s high elevation.
Although I found Yosemite National Park’s in-park lodging booked up, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks had 2 options available inside the park when I planned our visit. I had my choice of the hotel-style Wuksachi Lodge or a rustic tent cabin at Grant Grove Cabins. I also considered chain hotels outside the park in Three Rivers and Visalia, but those were 20 to 35 miles southwest of where we wanted to be.
At about $125 per night, the tent cabins were much less costly than the Wuksachi Lodge’s $325 nightly rate. We just needed to stay 1 night, and I’m willing to sacrifice a little comfort for $200, but the tent cabins would not work for our family. The cabins offered no air conditioning or electricity, had a shared bathhouse, and, most importantly, only had 2 double beds on a rough-looking wood floor that I don’t think my kids would have volunteered to use our air mattress on.
We’re no strangers to tent camping, but I sprang for the lodge when I realized I’d probably have to make a bathroom trek after dark in bear country.
I booked a Deluxe Room — 2 Queen Beds with a rollaway bed. With taxes and fees, I paid $360.25 for 1 night. I paid for the reservation with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earned me 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on this travel purchase.
When I pay $350+ per night for a hotel, I usually expect something more like a fancy historic downtown hotel or beachside resort with amenities. But Wuksachi Lodge fit the bill because it was in a lovely setting that was convenient and comfortable for my family.
Although Wuksachi Lodge is only about 4 hours from Yosemite National Park, we did a lot of touring along the way and didn’t arrive until around 9 p.m., well after dark. I don’t regret our stops, but getting to the lodge late was not a great choice.
Between navigating dark, winding roads and unloading luggage in a barely-lit parking lot with active bear warning signs, it wasn’t a great arrival. If you’re following the Yosemite-to-Sequoia route, do yourself a favor and get checked in during daylight hours.
When we arrived at Wuksachi Lodge, we were greeted with instructional signs that advised us to refrain from unloading our luggage, as the guestrooms were separate from the main lodge building where we checked in. I parked in a lot across the street from the lodge, then headed inside to check in.
Inside was a warm and inviting lodge with wood paneling and beams. It was rustic chic with the wood paired with modern touches like slate gray flooring and clean lines.
The restaurant and gift shop were closed when we arrived, but the front desk was ready to check us in — and we weren’t the only late arrivals.
When it was my turn, the front desk agent quickly got me our room keys and reviewed our visit’s essential details, including the lodge’s breakfast hours. They also warned us that we needed to bring all of our luggage into our room and leave no food or toiletries visible in our car, as bears in the area have been known to break into vehicles for food.
We didn’t spend much time in the lodge building, but it was a nice spot to visit for breakfast and shopping. It had a gift shop, restaurant, coffee shop, deck, bathrooms, and a cozy fireplace seating area.
The front desk doubled as the checkout counter for the gift shop next to it. Around the corner was the coffee bar and restaurant.
A fireplace seating area with comfy armchairs was just inside the front door, next to a small fireplace.
Near the front desk were cute, colorful signs suggesting things to do near the lodge, complete with timing and directions. I had our plans mapped out before we reached the lodge, but this was nice to see!
Another sign detailed some quick trips we could take from the lodge. These were some of the highlights of our visit to Sequoia National Park, and were all very close to the lodge.
There were cute bears throughout the lodge.
This lodge bear near the restaurant passed out high fives.
Aside from the lodge building, Wuksachi Lodge didn’t have many amenities, such as a pool or fitness center.
Cell phone connections were spotty in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. We got enough service for limited communication and maps but didn’t attempt streaming or uploading. Wi-Fi was unavailable in our guestroom, but it was free in the main lodge building.
Parking was accessible throughout the lodge area. We parked across the street from the main lodge building on arrival and had no issues finding a spot.
When we drove to the building where our guestroom was, parking was much tighter. All 3 guestroom buildings shared a single lot, and we had to park in front of a different building than the one we stayed at. That resulted from arriving late in the evening — show up earlier so you don’t have the same issues I did.
If you ask my kids, the lobby gift shop was the best thing about the lodge. It was open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It had apparel, snacks, and souvenirs, including sequoia seedlings.
At the entrance doors was an old-fashioned penny press machine.
Wuksachi Lodge guestrooms were separate from the main building. The lodge had 3 buildings in which we could choose a room: Stewart, Silliman, and Sequoia. All 3 buildings were next to each other, and our building, Silliman, was in the center. We could walk down a pathway from the lodge building or drive to the guestroom parking area.
All 3 buildings were set back from the parking lot, with trees and rocks lining the pathways.
Each building looked identical, with orange-hued cedar shingles standing out from the greenery. I liked that the building was set among the trees with a nice view. And with the separate named buildings, we got college dorm vibes, which was fun.
We didn’t see an entrance in the front of the building closest to the parking and main pathway. The pathway continued around the back of the building to a ramp leading to the building’s doors.
In the dark, I didn’t realize how far this path was or that it had an incline. It was not a hike, but it was longer than I would have liked to carry bags uphill and around the building.
It wasn’t until we reached these doors, bags in the hands of trail-weary children and parents, that we realized luggage carts were inside. That would have been handy as we unloaded our luggage and cleared the car of any hint of food in the dark parking lot at 9 p.m. The following day, as we packed out, the carts were all in the parking lot.
I saw a note about the luggage cart location in my check-in packet, which I didn’t read until we got to the room.Hot Tip:
Don’t be a tired idiot like I was. You can go to the building to grab a cart first before you try to haul your stuff up the path and around the back.
But this was our view heading out to breakfast, so the pathway luggage ordeal was mostly forgiven.
Next to the building was a small seating area among the park setting.
Just inside the doors were some benches.
Inside the building was a bulletin board with lodge and park information, including maps.
There was also a flyer advocating bear awareness to keep bears and visitors safe.
Inside the vending and ice room were rollaway beds. These were available without request — we could just take them from this room.
Behind the building was a pathway to the other guestroom buildings and onto the main lodge building.
Our room was on the second floor of the Silliman Building in room 218.
I booked a Deluxe Room — 2 Queen Beds with a rollaway bed. This room had 2 queen beds, a spacious bathroom, a dresser, a desk, a minifridge and microwave, a small dinette set, an armchair, and enough room for a rollaway bed. We were comfortable here, if only for a night.
As we entered the room, there was a floating bench to the left. This was a good landing spot for bags and shoes.
Next to the bench was the closet, which featured a folding luggage stool, storage shelf, hangers, and an iron with an ironing board.
Beyond that was the desk with a rustic wooden chair, lamp, and coffee maker. The lamp had standard plugs, and we used this area as a charging station.
Next to the desk was a flat-screen TV set on a dresser with 4 large drawers.
Inside the dresser, next to the drawers, was a cabinet shelf with a safe at the bottom of it.
At the left rear of the room was a small dining area with a minifridge, a microwave, and a small dinette set with an ice bucket.
Next to the beds was an armchair with a view out the window.
The beds were comfortable; I have no complaints. The rollaway bed was easy to fold out, and we found extra sheets in the closet. There were plenty of pillows on the queen beds to share with the rollaway bed.
Between the beds was a single nightstand with a drawer, shelf, phone, alarm clock, and lamp. The lamp had standard plugs.
On the wall between the beds and the bathroom was a full mirror. At least for adults, it was too close to the bed to get a full view.
The bathroom with a huge countertop and a single sink was to the right of the front door.
Inside the bathroom door, a hair dryer hung on a towel hook.
The bathroom featured a lit magnifying mirror just inside the door.
The shower/bath combo was basic, with a curved shower curtain rod to add a little more space. The water was hot with good pressure.
On the counter were a couple of amenities: a soap bar and body lotion, both from Essentiel Elements.
Above the toilet were the towels and additional toilet paper.
Out our window, we had a view of the pathway that ran behind the buildings.
Food and Beverage
Inside the lodge was a restaurant — The Peaks Restaurant — and a coffee bar. It was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
- Breakfast was served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. with buffet or à la carte options featuring breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and standard breakfast buffet fare such as biscuits and gravy, eggs, French toast, pastries, and fruit.
- Lunch was from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with inside dining until 2 p.m. or open seating on the deck. The lunch menu had salads, pizzas, and sandwiches.
- Dinner was 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with steaks, roast duck, teriyaki chicken, acorn squash, almond-crusted trout, pizzas, burgers, salads, and more.
We arrived for breakfast around 9:30 a.m., hoping to catch the end of breakfast service that was over at 10 a.m. In keeping with our theme of running late on arrival and now breakfast, it turned out we’d cut it too close.
Our check-in packet instructed us to order breakfast at the Wuksachi Bar, the coffee bar right outside the restaurant seating area, which I thought would be fine with 30 minutes left in the breakfast service. The Peaks Restaurant online menu says to order at the bar, too. I’m not sure if we were too late for bar orders or if that’s not happening anymore, but bar ordering didn’t happen for us.
We went to the bar, checked out the menu, and waited to order, but no one was behind the bar to take our order. A server came by to grab something from behind the bar but didn’t acknowledge us.
Other families lined up outside the dining room to be seated, and then they were taken in and got tables. I hadn’t planned on sit-down service so late into breakfast hours, but we gave up on our bar order and followed their lead to get a spot in the dining room.
With orders in mind, we asked our server if it was too late for à la carte breakfast. It was closer to the end of breakfast service since we’d wasted time waiting at the bar. She told us it was indeed too late to order, but we could hit the breakfast buffet.
Since it was the end of service and they weren’t replenishing the buffet at that point, she offered to only charge us kids’ prices for each of us, which I thought was fair. When we got the bill, she’d only charged us for 3 kids’ buffets even though we had 2 adults and 3 kids. Way less than we’d planned to pay à la carte, and we tipped her appropriately for her kindness.
The buffet was sparse when we got to it, but we all found something we liked. Our kids cleaned out the last of the breakfast meats. I didn’t like the looks of the fresh fruit or oatmeal that seemed like it had been sitting out too long, so I opted for still-hot food in the warming chargers — eggs, French toast, breakfast potatoes, and biscuits and gravy. We all left stuffed and ready for more adventures in the park.
If you show up on time for the breakfast buffet, you’ll pay $21.99 for adults and $12.99 for kids 6 to 12. I probably wouldn’t arrive to breakfast late again on purpose, but we got a big, hot meal with the cheapest dining bill we had on our entire trip.
We sat inside for breakfast service, but there was also a deck with lots of seating. We weren’t there for lunch or dinner, but it looks like this is where you can sit after you grab some food at the bar.
This window connected the inside bar and patio —- it seems you can order inside and then pick up your food at the window.
The deck had a nice view of the lodge’s park setting.
We had some hiccups at Wuksachi Lodge, which would have been smoother if we’d been on more typical service hours. I missed the memo on luggage carts, which was a disaster in a dark parking lot. And arriving toward the end of breakfast service made our morning meal confusing (though ultimately still tasty and a great deal). I recommend arriving during the daylight hours and not cutting it close on meal service hours like we did.
All of the staff we interacted with were warm, and our breakfast server was nicer than she had to be for her last table of the morning in the dining room. The front desk agents were cheery and helpful at check-in time and when we paid for our gift shop purchases.
The Wuksachi Lodge is a beautiful hotel with an excellent location in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. It was a warm and inviting place to stay on a quick overnight as we passed through the parks. While it was a good spot for our short visit, the lodge seemed more suited to extended stays, where you can make the lodge your home base as you explore points within the parks and return for meals and rest. It would be a good location for gatherings like a family reunion, where you could take advantage of the common areas and walking trails in the lodge’s park setting.
We were awed by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and I’m glad we could stay at the Wuksachi Lodge inside the park. Waking up just minutes from our day’s sights certainly enhanced our enjoyment of the park, and I’m eager to return and have a more extended stay among the sequoias.
I would return to Wuksachi Lodge with my husband or other adults not prone to elevation sickness. But if we return to the parks with our kids, I’ll probably try to book earlier and look for options at a lower elevation (and hopefully a lower price point). While the lodge was lovely and convenient, I would be hesitant to roll the dice on a kid getting altitude sickness again at the lodge’s 7,200-foot elevation.
Featured Image Credit: Jessica Merritt. All images credited to Jessica Merritt unless otherwise noted.
Frequently Asked Questions
How high is Wuksachi Lodge?
Wuksachi Lodge is at an altitude of 7,200 feet. Some people struggle to sleep well at high altitudes such as this. One of my kids woke up with altitude sickness, despite being fairly acclimated to altitude from a few days in Yosemite National Park.
Is Wuksachi Lodge air conditioned?
Yes, Wuksachi Lodge is air conditioned in the main lobby building and guestroom buildings. Some other lodging options in the park, such as the Grant Grove Tent Cabins, do not have air conditioning or electricity.
How many days do you need to visit Sequoia National Park?
We saw most of the park’s highlights in an evening and the better part of the next day, but it would have been nice to stay longer. Next time, we’ll target a 3- to 4-day visit.
Is there a restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge?
Wuksachi Lodge features The Peaks Restaurant, which is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Are there bears at Wuksachi Lodge?
Wuksachi Lodge is in an active bear area. There are warning signs about bears, and bear boxes are available. You’ll need to remove your luggage and any signs of food or toiletries from your vehicle when you stay at the lodge. We didn’t see any bears at the lodge, but we did see a bear within the park, which is home to several hundred black bears.
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