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Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

new york
Level Contributor
39 posts
6 reviews
Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

We're flying into LA area for college visits in 2 weeks, and otherwise want to see the giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park. I'm debating whether to fly into Fresno and drive into the park from there, to avoid the switch backs on route 198 from Three Lodges. But then I have to drive out of the park to get to Claremont, which might mean I can't avoid 198. I've heard that it can be bad in the snow, and the park has issued a weather advisory for this weekend. It looks like the roads could still be sketchy when I'm driving there. I'd appreciate advice on lodging, areas that we could reasonably expect to get to this time of year (is Moro Rock out of the question?) and best route to take this time of year. Maybe I should avoid going out of the park on 198 and plan extra time to go back out past Grant Grove along route 180? Thanks.

8 replies to this topic
Carmel, California
Level Contributor
4,774 posts
11 reviews
1. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

The Generals Highway between Kings Canyon and Sequoia is closed right now so you can't drive in via 180 and out via 198 (or vice versa) https:/…road-conditions.htm Grant Grove via 180 is the easiest grove to reach. I've been to Kings Canyon but not Sequoia in winter. I don't believe that Moro Rock is reachable by car if there's snow. I'd check on weather and conditions when it gets closer to your trip.

What kind of vehicle will you have? There are 3 levels of chain controls www.dot.ca.gov/cttravel/chain-controls.html 4WD/AWD are exempt from R1 and R2 but they may still ask to see that you're carrying chains.

Edited: 09 March 2018, 18:51
Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,851 posts
2. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

I would rent a 4wd. (Probably need to buy chains too). Stay the night at Wuksachi or 2 nights in Three Rivers.

Consider a tour from Three Rivers.

https://www.sequoiatours.com

(Joshua Tree NP/Palm Springs or Death Valley NP would be easier ...)

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
2 posts
3. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

Hi you'll guys, I'll be visiting my daughter in LA from March the 25th to April the 2nd and wishing to make some tours with her including Sequoia so please keep answering and updating this thread ifd possible, thanks.

Edited: 09 March 2018, 20:09
So Cal
Level Contributor
12,253 posts
75 reviews
4. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

OP, have you looked at the official park website? It's generally updated with seasonal closures etc. www.nps.gov/seki

Yes, the Generals Hwy is currently closed, so no driving between the two areas. No, you can't drive to Moro Rock or Crescent Meadow in winter, but you can snowshoe or cross country ski to them (rentals are available). However, if you have only 2 nights, you can easily spend that day hiking in the Giant Forest.

I just made a trip in February; snowfall wasn't much while there, but we were under R3 chain conditions due to ice. We were at Wuksachi, so drove the 198. It was the first time I'd driven with chains, and we simply went very slowly. (R3 means chains on all cars, so 4WD wouldn't matter.)

It's impossible to predict whether you'd face the same, although I think that'd be unusual for late March. You could elect to stay in Three Rivers, just to be guaranteed a room if you couldn't drive up.

Edited: 10 March 2018, 00:49
So Cal
Level Contributor
12,253 posts
75 reviews
5. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

I forgot to add: if Fresno is your airport, you could just stay at Grant Grove (Cabins or John Muir Lodge) and explore that area. IMO there's a little less to do in that area in the winter.

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
4,774 posts
11 reviews
6. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

If you're on the Kings Canyon side and looking for something else to do in winter, Montecito Sequoia Lodge has groomed cross country ski trails and will rent equipment/sell ski passes to outside guests (you can also stay there) assuming there's still enough snow. There was a big storm last week but this hasn't been a big snow year so far.

Fresno, California
Level Contributor
1,938 posts
7. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

In winter, Montecito Sequoia Lodge asks guests to check with the lodge about driving conditions before arriving.

Depending upon driving conditions, Montecito Sequoia may require guests to wait at Grant Grove Village until late afternoon. If necessary, Montecito Sequoia then has an escort vehicle lead a caravan of guests to the lodge. But that is only if conditions require.

More info for Montecito Sequoia guests about winter travel to that lodge is at this link:

mslodge.com/winter-directions-travel-advisory

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
4,774 posts
11 reviews
8. Re: Best itinerary into Sequoia mid-march to see the giant trees

Yes, it's sometimes necessary to convoy to Montecito Sequoia in which case there are only two times per day you can enter/exit.

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