The Wuksachi Lodge

So, we always camp when we go to National Parks.  For our big #2TDgoparks2016 trip we’ve taken a totally different approach:  lodges.  Why lodges?  Two reasons:  we are doing the trip in the spring when the weather is totally unpredictable and we were kindly invited to explore the Parks and lodges.  The Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park was our first stop and it was such a fun experience.

If you're doing family travel to Sequoia National Park the Wuksachi Lodge is a great option. See why! 2traveldads.comThe Wuksachi Lodge is located fairly close to several of the main attractions of Sequoia National Park, most notably the General Sherman tree.  It was really nice to have a lodge to return to after a day exploring the woods, especially when there was… snow.  That’s right, we totally got snowed on and had to bundle up and put chains on the car and everything, but more on that in a different article.

So, having given a bit of foreshadowing, here’s why the Wuksachi Lodge made our Sequoia National Park visit awesome… and actually doable in the freezing cold spring.

Booking tip:  check to see if there’s a local Groupon or other booking option if you’re not sure if the price is right for your family’s travel budget, as you may be pleasantly surprised about the deals you find!

Location of the Wuksachi Lodge

LittleMan and Giant Sequoia in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park 2traveldads.comLike we said, the Wuksachi Lodge is close to some of the prime attractions of Sequoia National Park.  About 7 minutes from the lodge is the Lodgepole Vilage.  This is a great spot to know about because it has a fairly comprehensive grocery store, which also sells warm clothes.  There’s also showers (for campers) and a cafeteria type restaurant to grab snacks and meals.  There is also a Visitors Center at Lodgepole, but it’s closed in the winter, so we have nothing fascinating to share about it.

Beyond Lodgepole, about 10 minutes, is the General Sherman tree and the most impressive grove of Sequoias.  There’s an amazing trail to take you down into the grove and smaller hikes off of it through the Congress grove and all around the General Sherman tree.  And if you drive two minutes past the main parking, there is a wheelchair accessible parking area that’ll get you right to the General Sherman tree (the other trail is NOT accessible).

The Giant Forest is the next stop, which does include an awesome Visitors Center and museum.  And then the hikes that go out of there are just impressive because, well, sequoias are everywhere and you walk around gawking in awe.  Seriously, it was all amazing.

Tip:  always talk to hotel/lodge staff about what they’re favorite things to do in the area are.  There will always be the obvious choices, but sometimes you’ll get an inside scoop or tips.  We talked with one of the chefs who told us to go hiking in the groves despite the snow because the sequoias will be even more striking and beautiful, and she was right!

The Wuksachi Lodge layout

snow at Wuksachi Lodge Sequoia National Park 2traveldads.com (1)

The main building of the Wuksachi Lodge is a beautiful structure nicely settled on a slope looking down into the forest with sequoias dotting your view.  There’s a great living room setup with a wood stove keeping it toasty.  I imagine that in the summer time it’s not burning, but in our faux winter it was a welcome sight.  The dining room, The Peaks, is also located in the main lodge building.

The rooms are located in three separate lodge buildings up the hill from the main Wuksachi Lodge.  We stayed in the… wait for it… Sequoia building.  Being situated up on the hill was great for having a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and sequoia trees.  Really, the Wuksachi Lodge’s selling point is that everywhere you look as you stroll the grounds or look out your window, your view is just gorgeous.

FYI:  all parking is in a lot below the lodge buildings, so you do need to walk up some landscaped stairs or the accessible ramp to get to your room.  If you’ve got luggage, totally accept help from the bell staff, as you’ll notice that the air truly is thinner at this elevation.  To quote Queen Elsa: “up here in the cold, thin air I finally can breath…”  Yeah no.  We’re in shape and walking up the steps to our room left us winded as we carried luggage and kids.  

Tip:  Billy, don’t be a hero.  There’s no shame in accepting help with luggage when you’re traveling.  Tips are appreciated, but if you don’t have cash and need the help, still accept it.

Our room

Taylor Family packing up in room at Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park 1Spacious.  Thank goodness for a spacious room when you’re traveling with kids.  The layout provided ample space for our king bed, a crib/pack n play, and to open the pullout sofa for our oldest… and there was still room to play.  Until you’ve traveled with two kids you may not fully understand or appreciate the need for open floor space for playing.

The other thing that was helpful with the layout of the room was having a desk that was usable but not so huge that it was an obstacle.  Again, until you’ve had to rearrange a whole hotel room to be able to function, that might not seem like a big deal.

Even though we were on vacation, there is still a bit of work that must be done.  The wifi signal in our room, while not strong and speedy, was consistent and allowed for solid connections most of the time.  Truthfully, we typically have low expectations of being able to connect when we’re so remote, so having working wifi to be able to upload and publish articles was awesome.

Tip:  if you will have to do any work while you’re traveling, try to do it when the kids have gone to sleep.  I made the mistake of waiting to do something until the morning and we almost missed breakfast.  Don’t make that mistake.

Dining at the Wuksachi Lodge

Omlette station at Wuksachi Lodge Sequoia National Park 2traveldads.comWe’ll be upfront about this:  the breakfast in The Peaks restaurant is the strongest meal.  They have a great breakfast system set up with a wide variety of fruits, pastries and proteins available.  The kids were able to devour endless melon salad and cereal while Chris and I had custom made omelettes with french toast and the best apple breakfast pastry we’ve ever had.  

Tip:  at the coffee/juice station to-go cups and lids were provided.  This is a great way to ensure you get all of the coffee you need for a long, cold morning in Sequoia National Park.

Dinner at The Peaks was an interesting mix of cuisines.  We had shrimp tacos, French onion soup, grilled cheese and breaded snapper.  Nothing wowed us, but we appreciated the variety of the menu.

Funny story:  I ordered a gin gimlet with my dinner and when it arrived I was surprised by an interesting spiciness to it.  Turns out that there’d been a jalapeno mix at the bar and there was a booboo.  The bartender quickly recovered the mistake and brought me a very nice, perfectly crafted gimlet.  I finished the original one though and it was actually pretty awesome.

Another way we dined at the Wuksachi Lodge was by ordering through the bar to bring back to our room.  The full menu was available so why not?  They put together a nice spread for us and we got to have a totally free-form dinner with relaxed kids up in our room.  After a long day of hiking and snow, it was just what the 2 dads ordered.

Tip:  if you’re with tired kids, in-room dining is a fine option.  If there’s not specifically room service, see what the restaurant or bar on property can do.  Usually, it’s easy and a no-hassle way to have a pretty chill dinner.

Service at the Wuksachi Lodge

We didn’t require a lot from the staff at the Wuksachi Lodge, but they were clear to say that they were available to us.  We had great interactions with everybody in The Peaks restaurant though.  Our servers were all very polite and genuine.  The omelette chefs each day were so kind and ready to share tips and stories while they cooked.  The hostess of the restaurant was really wonderful and so engaging with the kids.

Note:  the best way to make a great impression on family travelers, be interested in the kids and thoughtful about the overall experience with kids particularly in mind.

The Wuksachi Lodge was a good first time experience for us visiting Sequoia National Park and a great lodge for our first National Park Lodge experience.  It was great to be welcomed to experience the Sierras in the spring, as it got us to try a few new things… like out of season travel and hoteling in the Parks instead of camping.  

We would love to head back to Sequoia National Park and the Wuksachi Lodge in the summer or early fall, so watch for another article about that in the future.

13 Comments

  • Brian

    My wife and I are national park bucket-listers, and we always love staying at the NP lodges. Our first child is on the way, and seeing such a positive review like this is exciting for future planning.

    May 3, 2016 at 11:22 am
  • Klipdrifters Travel

    We love hiking and the Giant Forest sounds like something we would really enjoy. Always good to have an outdoor gem like this close to necessities and shops. If we ever make it to Waksachi Lodge we going to have to try the Jalapeño gimlet 🙂

    May 9, 2016 at 9:31 am
  • Kevin Wagar

    What a great way to stay comfortable, especially when the parks are still a little frosty!

    May 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm
  • Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs

    Looks like you had a blast! And that choosing Lodges over camping was wise given the snow! Or just a good excuse for some luxury treats 🙂

    May 9, 2016 at 4:41 pm
  • Jennifer

    I don’t know if I would like the snow, but I would totally love to see those huge trees! This looks like a great place to visit and stay at.

    May 11, 2016 at 6:11 am
  • Keri

    Yeah I don’t think I need any convincing in the lodge vs camping discussion. Looks really well set up for families, what a great place to base yourself for exploration

    May 11, 2016 at 9:00 am
  • Marta

    This looks like a super comfortable place and how nice to have a spacious room! We just recently had the camping vs lodge debate as we will be in Yosemite this summer but we ended up opting for camping – the weather should allow it in July, while in the spring I would have definitely chosen the lodge too

    May 12, 2016 at 10:45 am
  • Voyager

    This looks like an ideal place to stay with the family, specially, great to see the different ways and means the kids can be kept interested and engaged.

    May 12, 2016 at 10:49 pm
  • Henar

    Looks like the perfect place to take your kids! So much fun! Definitely keeping it in mind for future reference 😀

    May 14, 2016 at 2:47 am
  • Ann

    Yikes on that drink! But now I want to try it.

    This looks like a beautiful lodge and I appreciate the tip to get someone to help with luggage. We tend to not do that and sometimes get frustrated about that. Were there other dining options nearby to make-up for the fact that the hotel’s breakfast was its strongest meal? (I’m so unfamiliar with this park.)

    May 16, 2016 at 7:37 am
    • 2td-admin

      Not many options in the off season, but nearby is the Lodgepole area which has grocery items and a cafeteria type deli. Summer time would be quite different.

      May 16, 2016 at 7:49 am
  • Ami

    I see that the location is quite convenient and the place is quite kid friendly and well, it is close to the tree I would want to see. Definitely a thumbs up.

    May 16, 2016 at 9:02 am
  • Taylor

    Gotta love Groupon, and awesome to see that it’s growing and expanding to add in new things. And you also gotta love when your drink is mixed up and turns out even better!

    May 18, 2016 at 4:36 pm

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