OverviewLodgepole is the main access point for the northwestern sector of Sequoia National Park. It serves as park headquarters, and is the closest logistical center to Sequoia's most famous groves of giant trees. Wilderness permits, required for any overnight foray into the backcountry, can be obtained at Lodgepole's visitor center. Lodgepole boasts many car-camping options, and even the conveniences of restaurants, a hotel, a well-stocked market, a laundromat, and the all important public showers (in 2002 this was $2, coin operated - quarters only!).
Getting ThereAir Travel
The closest commercial airport to Lodgepole is at Fresno, California, roughly 80 miles (130 km) to the west. Lodgepole is roughly equidistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles, both of which have better connectivity with the world's air corridors. Car rental is available at all of these major airports.
Travel by Private Car
Depending on which direction you approach from, there are two access routes to Lodgepole. 1) From Fresno and points north (e.g. San Francisco), the best route is State Highway 180, east from Fresno. From Fresno, proceed approximately 60 miles (95 km) on 180 until you reach a fork in the road. Highway 180 is the left fork, which continues into Kings Canyon National Park. To reach Lodgepole, take the right fork, Highway 198 (Generals Highway) and follow obvious signs to Sequoia National Park. Lodgepole is approximately 20 miles (30 km) from the fork. 2) From points south (e.g. Los Angeles), take Highway 198 west from the city of Visalia. Simply follow 198 until you reach Lodgepole, approximately 65 miles (100 km) later.
Both highway 180 and 198 are snow-plowed during winter months. Still, you are required by law to carry tire chains, regardless of current conditions
Unfortunately, public transportation options are scant. To quote GORP, "Public transportation to the parks is limited to small tour companies outside the parks. Air, bus, Amtrak (train) and rental cars are available in Fresno and Visalia."
|Driving information from Major Airports|
|City||Distance||Yahoo Driving Directions|
|Fresno||71 miles||FAT to Lodgepole|
|San Francisco||300 miles||SFO to Lodgepole|
|Los Angeles||247 miles||LAX to Lodgepole|
Red TapeA $20 fee buys your entry into both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which are jointly administered. The fee is good for seven days after purchase.
If you drive a private car into the park, you must adhere to strict regulations on the storage of food, because black bears in the park have grown accustomed to "liberating" stored food from vehicles, at any time of the day or night. If a bear breaks into your car to steal food (even candy-bar wrappers constitute "food"), you are liable for $500 or more in fines.
The two major campgrounds for RV's and car-camping in a tent are 1) Lodgepole Village Campground, which is a short walk from the Lodgepole Visitors Center, and 2) Dorst Creek Campground, which is approximately five miles west (toward highway 180/Fresno; not Visalia) of Lodgepole on Generals Highway (198). Both campgrounds charge a camping fee (around $10) and take reservations (recommended during the summer months). Dorst Creek is closed in the winter months, while Lodgepole Village is open year-around.
Generally, backcountry camping is permitted anywhere in the wilderness, i.e., more than a mile from the nearest paved road. Wilderness permits (free, issued at Lodgepole Visitors Center), required for any overnight stay in the backcountry are issued on a quota basis, however, so you may not be able to camp in the most popular areas once the quota for those areas fills. Along the more popular trails, special backcountry campgrounds exist. Sometimes these campgrounds have water (important during summer in dry regions), and they almost always have secure bear storage boxes. This can save you carrying the weight of a heavy bear-proof food container. In regions without bear boxes, a canister may be required, depending on the area. Canisters can be rented at wilderness permit stations.
The new Wuksachi Village/Lodge, located roughly 2 miles toward Fresno/Highway 180 from Lodgepole, boasts excellent food and comfortable accomodations. Here is some general information, rate information, and dining information from visitsequoia.com. Additional information can be attained by contacting the park headquarters at Ash Mountain Visitor Center at (559) 565-4212.
Nearby Points of InterestNearby Mountains on SummitPost
- Giant Forest: 2 miles south (toward Visalia) on Generals Highway from Lodgepole. General Sherman tree is the most popular attraction.
- Wolverton: 1 mile south (toward Visalia) on Generals Highway from Lodgepole. Turn left toward "Wolverton". The site of an old ski area. Some concessions. Large parking lot for access to many Lodgepole-area hikes.
- Crescent Meadow: 4 miles south (toward Visalia) on Generals Highway from Lodgepole. Turn left toward "Crescent Meadow", "Moro Rock", and/or "Auto Log". Crescent Meadow, with a nice display of Sequoia trees, is also the terminus of the High Sierra Trail, the main Trans-Sierra route to Mount Whitney.
- Delaware North Parks Services
The primary concessioneer in Sequoia. They operate the market and restuarants at Lodgepole and the Wuksachi Lodge.
- Excellent travel information from Delaware North Parks Services.
- Lodgepole-Area information from GORP.
- National Park Service camping reservations.
- National Park Service Sequoia/Kings Canyon homepage.
- Weather information from NOAA
- California Department of Transportation
Up-to-date road information. Check California highways 198 and 180.
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