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Review of Wuksachi Lodge,
Sequoia National Park, California
As many of you know, we are big fans of California’s state and national parks, so when we were invited to check out Wuksachi Lodge, in the heart of Sequoia National Park, it didn’t take us long to get packing. Here’s what we found on our recent stay at Wuksachi Lodge:
Wuksachi Lodge is ideally situated for anyone wanting to explore Sequoia National Park’s most famous attractions without roughing it one iota or spending extra time on the road reaching them.
Just off the Generals Highway in the heart of Sequoia, the lodge is only 10 minutes' drive from the trailhead to the largest tree in the world ("General Sherman," if you haven't yet met). Other popular attractions await just beyond, including the Giant Forest Museum and Lodgepole Visitor Center.
In fact, if you'd like to kiss the car (and car seats) goodbye during your stay, you can easily catch the park shuttle here as it makes frequent stops at Wuksachi Lodge between trips to the Giant Forest Museum, Wolverton historic site, and Lodgepole stops.
Perched at 7,200 feet, Wuksachi Lodge fits right into its High Sierra surroundings. It is actually a series of buildings, beginning with the “lodge” proper, which houses the guest services, gift shop, conference rooms (lower level), and restaurant: “The Peaks.” Because the three guestroom buildings are spaced apart with trees, granite boulders, and paths between them, we were able to enjoy lovely “nature walks” with our little explorers between the restaurant and our room for both breakfasts and dinners.
By day two, we lost track of how many fuzzy-antlered mule dear we’d watched grazing along our route, and one woman had observed a mother bear and cubs en route to dinner. Benches scattered throughout the grounds also made a welcome roost for early-morning coffee drinkers watching the sun shift over the mountains (and if you want to slip out while the rest of the family sleeps in, remember coffee is hot and ready to serve yourself in the lobby entrance around 8 a.m.).
Wuksachi Lodge offers a range of family-friendly guest room options, including:
Standard rooms, sleeping up to 4 people in either two queen beds or one king bed with pull-out sofabed.
Deluxe rooms are slightly more spacious and may sleep up to 5 people with the addition of a rollaway bed or crib. Again, these rooms may have two queen beds or a king with sofa bed.
Superior rooms are the largest rooms available at Wuksachi, and they can sleep up to 6 people while also accommodating a portacrib very easily (available from lodge on first-come, first-served basis).
In our superior king room, we were surprised to find two double sleeper sofas in addition to our king bed (one shown left of our bed above, one shown below), plus a comfy arm chair, and small table with two chairs.
The main room itself proved plenty spacious for our king-size bed, other furniture, our toddler's travel bed—and still we had plenty of floor space for nightly gymnastics performances by the younger members of our troupe.
Still, I think we were all drawn to the sitting room that adjoined it through sliding wooden doors, with sunny windows on two walls, a fold-out sofabed for the “big kids,” the table, armoire with TV, and small refrigerator. Later, it crossed my mind that we might have chosen that room for ourselves and put all the kids in the big room instead.
All of the guest rooms at Wuksachi include a small refrigerator, private bath with tub, AC and ceiling fans, ironing board & iron, hair dryer, and free Internet access via dataports (bring your own cable for in-room access, or head to the lodge for free WiFi).
TIP: Accessible rooms are also available and may be preferred if you plan to push your stroller around the grounds (or want the easiest time getting baggage and gear to and from your room).
"The Peaks" is the newly revamped restaurant at Wuksachi Lodge (formerly the "Wuksachi Dining Room"), and it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since dining options within Sequoia National Park are limited to this dining room, the seasonal Wolverton BBQ events, and the casual dining options at Lodgepole Market Center, this is a popular restaurant for guests of the lodge as well as others visiting the National Park.
TIP: Dinner reservations are strongly recommended and may even be required if you're visiting in high season, as they were for us. Fortunately, with just a couple of days' notice we had no trouble getting 6 p.m. reservations both nights of our stay. Make sure you book your dinner reservations before your arrival to ensure you get the time you like. High chairs and dining boosters are also available for younger patrons.
Depending on your plan (or “package”), the daily hot buffet breakfast may or may not be included in your stay. If not, the buffet consisting of scrambled eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes, fresh fruits, hearty steel-cut oatmeal with embellishments and more, is $12.95 per adult and $6.35 for children 12 and younger. A "continental" breakfast option is also available.
We did not have lunch at the lodge, but did enjoy two dinners as “the peaks” through the trees out the windows for which it was named, turned rosy for us. A children’s menu is available, with the likes of cheese pizza, burgers, mac ‘n cheese, and more (ranging $5 - $9), as well as activity booklets with baskets of crayons to help busy the little ones while grown ups meditate on the likes of dijon-crusted salmon (shown right) or a simple chicken caeser salad.
Pre-ordered box lunches are also available from the lodge. More details included below.
■ While the rooms are a short walk from the parking area, luggage carts are available and ready to go where you need them – which is especially nice when you need to cart out not just baggage, but a possible cooler and any combination of car seats and boosters from your car for overnighting in active bear country. Assistance with baggage is also readily available upon request at check-in.
■ Box lunches from Wuksachi, including savory sandwiches or wraps along with kettle chips, fresh fruit, cookies and drinks, can also be ordered the night before your day’s excursions to pack with you on your trip to Crystal Cave or wherever adventure takes you. Adult options are $12.95 + tax, and additional kids’ box lunch options are $8.95 + tax.
■ Check in is not until 4 p.m., but if you’ll be arriving at Sequoia National Park earlier, you may “pre-check-in” and deposit a bag with your toiletries, snacks, and any other scented items you wouldn’t want to leave in your car and risk tempting the prevalent bears while visiting the other sights.
Content (c) 2013 by Shelly Rivoli.
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