Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks offer 13 campgrounds, three of which are open year-round (Lodgepole, Azalea, and Potwisha). Campgrounds are first-come, first-served, except for Lodgepole (summer visits only). A list and map of all campgrounds is available at www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit.
Lodgepole (summer reservations 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov, $18–20) is located along the Kaweah River and is 21 miles from the Sequoia entrance. In summer, there are 214 sites for tents and RVs, flush toilets, showers, laundry, and bear-proof containers. Off-season, there are 25 walk-in tent sites (first-come, first-served).
Azalea (Grant Grove, 110 sites, $18) is located 3.5 miles from the Kings Canyon park entrance and within a half-mile of the visitor center. Potwisha (42 sites, $18) is also on the Kaweah River, about four miles from the Sequoia entrance. Amenities include flush toilets, RV disposal, and bear-proof containers.
More adventurous campers should check out the High Sierra Camps. Start at Crescent Meadow, about 10 miles south of Wuksachi on Generals Highway, to get to the Bearpaw High Sierra Camp (866/807-3598, www.visitsequoia.com, June–Sept.), an 11.5-mile hike into the gorgeous Sequoia back country. This camp takes a leaf from Yosemite’s book with its accommodations and amenities.
This camp offers six tent cabins that sleep two people apiece, and come complete with bedding, towels, and sleeping pads. You can even fit a third person on the floor of your cabin, if that person brings bedding and a towel for herself. A bath house offers flush toilets and hot showers (heaven!), and each stay comes with a full dinner and full breakfast, served family-style. You can even buy a box lunch to take with you on your next day’s journey.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition