by Amanda Geronikos
Built in 1999, Wuksachi Lodge remains the newest property in Sequoia National Park in California. It’s obvious, too, with a warm, inviting lobby, sit-down restaurant, spacious accommodations, and an onsite amphitheater — the prime place to roast marshmallows beneath a sky that’s glittered with twinkling stars at night. In fact, nighttime views are one of the hotel’s greatest, natural assets. You’ve never seen the stars and constellations the way you can at Wuksachi Lodge — trust us.
You’ve also never experienced anything like Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. If they’re not on your family bucket list, add them now, and when you go, of course, reserve a room at Wuksachi Lodge.
Our Editor Loves
- Rooms for six
- Onsite restaurant
- Nighttime views
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Wuksachi Lodge features 102 rooms -- including 16 suites -- spread across three buildings: Sequoia, Silliman and Stewart. Free parking is available in front of each building, though it'll be a bit of walk to your room -- be prepared to make a few trips upon arrival and departure.
Extras include mini-fridges, coffeemakers (and coffee), flat-screen TVs and ski racks, plus the essentials -- hair dryers, irons and ironing boards. There are also plenty of outlets -- a rarity at many hotels.
Standard Rooms have either one king bed and a sofa bed, or two queens; they sleep a maximum of four guests.
Deluxe Rooms come in two variations. The first has one king bed and a sofa bed, plus a large chair. The other has two queen beds and a table with two chairs. These rooms can accommodate one rollaway bed ($10 per night) or one crib (free), sleeping up to five guests total.
These rooms are most ideal for families, with space for up to six guests. There's a king bed and a sofa bed in one room, and in another room -- easily separated by wooden, sliding doors -- is an additional sofa bed, plus a second TV.
Note: Flashlights are provided in rooms, but bring a few of your own, too. There isn't much lighting on pathways to the main lodge (which is why the stars shine so brightly).
We spent one night at Wuksachi during a visit to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. There are some pros & cons to this property but to enjoy it you really have to adjust your expectations before arriving. As with all properties within our Nationals Parks, you are paying a price for the location and convenience. The service, quality of food & rooms tend to be subpar so know that going in and you should be fine.
The location is ideal—just a short drive to the many of the Big Trees, El Moro, Tunnel Log etc. We stayed in the Sequoia Building on the 3rd floor—there are no elevators (we were warned) but it is still a hike with bags. In the morning we were treated to 6 mule deer grazing in the back yard—this made our stay worthwhile. The room itself is dated, the bed linens and carpet are aged and stained. The entry way to the building smells like stale cigarettes and the carpet is terrible. The bathroom appeared to be clean.
The check in process is a bit awkward-perhaps they are short staffed? We arrived at 3:45 for a 4PM check in. After the clerk assigned our room she told us we would need to wait until 4 to get the keys. We grabbed a drink at the bar, which was quite busy, & got back in the check in line. The girls at the desk were doing their best to move things along but it seemed to be the same process for all—if you arrived a few minutes early, you had to wait for your keys.
Despite the minor flaws, we are happy we stayed at Wuksachi.
This location in the national park is beautiful. The grounds and location of the hotel was magical dusted in snow. Proximity to General Sherman was also fantastic. Its a pricey hotel stay for the three star standard, and rates for meals at the property were on the steeper side without any other options due to the location, but I couldn't fault the stay.
Behind the hotel, across a bridge and down a hill, is an amphitheater. During the summer months, families roast S'mores or join in on talks with park rangers here.
Wonders of the Night Sky
Wuksachi Lodge also provides a prime spot to stargaze -- you'll feel like you're in a planetarium, with amazingly clear views of the Big Dipper, Orion's Belt, Canis Major and other constellations. On select nights, stargazing tours (Wonders of the Night Sky) are offered; dress appropriately and bring flashlights. Tours are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays, May to October, and on Saturdays, May to September.
Lodgepole Market Center
Wuksachi Lodge is approximately 2 miles from Lodgepole Market Center -- it's a fun, relatively easy hike to get there. Plus, Lodgepole offers two restaurants and a market, so you can stop to fuel up before returning to Wuksachi. It is open seasonally from April to October.
The Peaks Restaurant
The Peaks Restaurant exudes a cozy ambiance -- request a table by the window to take in the views, or by the wood-burning fire to warm up. Breakfast is a buffet, complete with the usual suspects -- pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, cold and hot cereals, pastries and more. Lunch includes soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and the like, while dinner delivers pasta, steaks and chicken.
The restaurant also offers a kids' menu, with pizza, macaroni and cheese, pasta, organic chicken, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheeseburgers available.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, year-round.
There's a small bar adjacent to the restaurant, with a seating area to complement it. The bar typically closes by or before midnight.
The Peaks Restaurant provides boxed lunches (for a fee) for day trips to the park. Lunches include sandwiches (with vegetarian options), pasta salad, fresh fruit, chips, a cookie and a non-alcoholic beverage. Order the night before so you can grab lunch on your way out in the morning. Kids' boxed lunches are available and include a sandwich, slice apples, animal crackers and fruit juice.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Free Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby and restaurant, along with the lodge buildings -- there's a different connection for each. It is spotty at times.
There are two stores at Wuksachi Lodge. One is located next to the lobby and is a traditional gift shop with shirts, mugs, ornaments and other trinkets for sale. Downstairs, a market sells essentials -- snacks, drinks, toiletries, mobile device chargers and more. The market also sells outdoor gear, including skis, for both adults and children. Hours vary at both shops, but either can be opened upon request.
Up to two dogs are allowed per room with a $100 refundable deposit and nightly fee of $25. If you can't bring your pets, don't worry -- there's a friendly, adorable dog that lives onsite!
Check-in time is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
Summer is the most popular time to visit Wuksachi Lodge and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. There are fewer crowds in January and February, when skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities abound. Driving conditions can be dangerous, however -- the park often sees several feet of snow at a time. Bring tire chains for your vehicle -- they're required by the National Park Service -- but note that most rental car companies frown upon them. Tip: Use them anyway.
March, April, September and October are especially ideal times to visit -- the weather is typically temperate and crowds are few and far between.
The closest airport to Wuksachi Lodge is Fresno Yosemite International Airport, approximately two hours away. You'll need to rent a car to get to the hotel.
Note: Don't rely on GPS to get you here -- you will lose reception on your way up the mountain. Follow signs to the entrance of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and a ranger will direct you to the hotel; you'll also see signs as you near it.
You need a car to get around Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Parking at the lodge is free.