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
Rooms & Rates
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 recently spent two nights at the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park. This is the feature park lodge excellently located just a few miles from major sightseeing in the Giant Forest section of the park.
Reservation was made 6 months in advance directly through the park website. Email confirmation was received immediately. 4pm Check-in at the main lodge was very slow, around 30 minutes due to two sets of guest ahead of us in the queue. Hopefully they will learn to check in guests quicker in the future.
Lobby area is nice, includes seating near a stone fireplace. There is a gift shop on site as well as a restaurant called the Peak. We had dinner here one night, it was quite poor (see separate review) so we opted to not eat here the next day.
Rooms are found in 3 separate buildings around 400 metres from the lodge. There is a carpark below. You have take your luggage rather far to get into the building and then up to your rooms. Rooms were decent but not what you'd expect for the room rates normally.
Space was good, furnishing a bit dated and decor common. Bed comfort just ok. Room came with sitting sofa and chair, desk with chair, fridge, flat screen TV and enough closet space for most. Bathroom space was fine, shower water pressure a bit weak but plenty of warm water. We paid higher rate for a room with a view. Our room was a first floor room overlooking the carpark. That felt like a wasted spend.
Overall, you are paying for the location with Wuksachi Lodge. We very much appreciated being so close to the Giant Forest, allowing us to visit early in the morning before too many tourists overwhelmed the trails and sights. It was nice being able to return to the lodge for a bit of a rest before heading back out midday. Otherwise, we felt rather meh about the room considering the high rates and would probably opt to stay elsewhere and just drive in for sightseeing next time.
This is the worst lodge I have ever stayed at. They charged $308 for the room and they charged my credit card a month in advance before I even arrived, when I made the reservations. You had to check in at a building that was a half a mile from the rooms and you could not check in until 4:00 pm. Not to mention you could not pull up to the front desk area to check in - you had to park 300 yards away. So we thought we would go to the bar and have some drinks until we could check in, but the bar was closed to remodeling. Then when we finally checked in - they directed us to some buildings where we had to park and walk over 200 yards to the entrance of the buildings that was in the back of the building - not in the front. Then the room card key did note even work. Then we had to wait over an hour to have dinner and that was with a reservation. There is no pool, spa, jacuzzi - nothing and for fricking $308 a night is is a complete ripoff
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.