Sequoia-Kings Canyon AccommodationsIn the spring of 1899 Visalia ranchers Ralph Hopping and John Broder partnered up to establish the first commercial accommodations in the new Sequoia National Park. For $35 a head they provided stage and pack service up the Old Colony Mill Road, a horse to ride on for the last four miles to Round Meadow, a week’s lodging, and three meals a day. Camp Sierra, as the enterprise was called, consisted of a collection of simple platform tents at the edge of the Giant Forest. The operation was abandoned in 1908. Accommodations of this sort are still available at Grant Grove, as well as at The Sequoia and Bearpaw High Sierra Camps. Otherwise, lodgings within the parks range from modern, relatively-upscale motel rooms to the ricketiest board-and-batten-style tourist cabins of the 1920’s and ‘30’s.
As always, one’s appreciation of the simpler amenities will improve significantly having first slept on the ground somewhere, or exhausted oneself on some dusty trail in the wilderness, or at the very least driven long hours on empty, winding mountain roads with the windows down and the iPod cranked.
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* denotes special recommendation