Sequoia Revealed

Early Spring Splendor in the High Sierra (for those in the know)
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Soggy Season in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park is the brief window between winter and spring, when much of the snow has turned to slush and precarious ice patches slick the trails. This is the time of year when late-season skiers and early-season hikers get frustrated by less-than-perfect conditions. It is also the time of year when the usual bustle of the biggest park villages drops off to a ghostly murmur.

If you think this sounds like a good time to avoid the area altogether, you're not alone. But you'd be missing out on the best season to enjoy two of the parks' least-appreciated activities: snowshoeing and early spring skiing. With lodging prices at their lowest of the year and scenic trails at their emptiest, this could become your favorite time of year to come for a visit.

Start off by setting up a home base in Grant Grove Village, where year-round road access in all kinds weather guarantees you a trouble-free beginning. The main parking lot is just a few miles from the Kings Canyon entrance. Stop in at the front desk, between the gift shop and the restaurant, to get the key to your cabin (though it's not always necessary, reservations can be made in advance: 559-335-5500).

Total walking time from downtown to cabin: less than ten minutes. Lodging options range from the most basic (called "housekeeping" cabins) to quite plush (rooms in the upscale lodge). If you're budget conscious, you'll soon find yourself climbing the slick, wooden steps to your tiny A-frame, which features only the bare-bones essentials: comfortable beds, gas heating, battery-operated lights, and just enough room to stow your gear. Bathrooms and showers are in a separate building, a short walk away. Minimalist, yes. But it puts you in perfect position for the day's activities.

Next stop: the Grant Grove market, just up the street. This is where you'll rent your snowshoes for next to nothing. Trail maps can be found here, too. Since the market closes at 6 p.m. this time of year, and the restaurant closes an hour later, be sure to pick up any food or supplies you might need for the night.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 3 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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