Sequoia & Kings Canyon Lodging

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Kings Canyon

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Spring, photo by Doug SteakleyWhen Spring arrives in the Sierras, it brings with it the first blooms of wildflowers. The foothills are awash in an array of colors. Lupine, red-bud, buckeye, and laurel dot the hillsides so that the landscape appears to be an impressionistic painting. Wispy fog often rolls through the forest canopy at this time of year, enveloping the natural beauty of this area with a surreal quality. The air is so thin and dry that the sky appears almost purple. In the high country, ice and snow are just beginning to melt, feeding the Kings River so that it surges through the canyon walls and waterfalls roar and tumble over granite rock. The meadows, filled with snow runoff, become ponds for a chorus of frogs. The blue-gray scrub jay, which screeches at anything that moves, and the black-and-brown towhee, which sings something like "drink your teeee," are found at lower elevations. If you are lucky, you may glimpse a mule deer feeding at dusk, a gray fox hunting in the foothills, or possibly a bear lumbering through the forest.

Horseback RidingSummer is the busiest time of year in the parks for both people and animals. The National Park Service offers its most extensive array of programs during this time of year for adults and children. NPS naturalists offer talks, slide shows, films, guided nature and history walks, and evening campfire programs. Programs may range from a Star Talk program, at which you can enjoy the beauty of the Sierra night sky, to the Sawed Tree Mystery tour of a sequoia that was nearly sawed completely through a century ago, yet is still alive and growing. You'll find high-country meadows brimming with vibrant wildflowers and the water of the parks' many lakes delightfully cool after hiking on a hot day. Be a cowboy or cowgirl for a day or more and take a horseback ride into the canyon in search of the parks' more remote natural treasures. While exploring, be on the lookout for wild animals: bobcats, mountain lions, and coyote, to name a few


Ella Viola Falls Sep 2005, Photo by Matt MillerFall is typically a quiet time in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, yet it is one of the most beautiful seasons to visit the parks. Fall foliage is vibrantly colorful, with oak, dogwood, aspen and other trees turning gold, scarlet, and amber. You will hear chipmunks and ground squirrels chatter, and see them dash across the forest floor gathering acorns as they prepare for the winter. The days are still warm during autumn, but the nights are cool. This makes for ideal hiking weather and you can practically have the trails to yourself. This time of year you can also try your hand at trout fishing. The season lasts through November 15, but you'll need a fishing license. After a challenging day of climbing or fishing you'll enjoy relaxing your feet in front of the fireplace in the John Muir Lodge.


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