Lodgepole Campground is one of two campgrounds in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park and definitely the most central. Despite the 214 sites, reservations seem to be highly recommended in this popular campground. Like most national park campgrounds, if no site is initially available in your search, be sure to check back frequently. This was how we were able to get a great site over Labor Day weekend just a few weeks in advance.lodgepole-1

As we had no choice in which site we got, we were incredibly fortunate to be in one of the more scenic and remote areas. Site 109 is part of the Upper Lodgepole loop and is tents only. It may be just about as far away from the bathrooms as possible, but the bathroom in upper loop is still within a reasonable walk (especially in comparison with some sites we had later in this trip).

 

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Amenities in this campground include flush toilets, although the bathrooms, like at the bathhouses at all of the parks we came across in the area, are very old. Showers and a laundromat are available about a quarter mile from the entrance of the campground along with a small market. We purchased only souvenirs and (ridiculously expensive) firewood, but could have picked up a few other staples if needed.

The most unique thing about the SEKI/Yosemite campgrounds, in comparison with those back east, are the bear boxes. In all my time camping in bear territory, I’ve never heard of bears that are so determined to get into cars for food. According to the park, these are things that should be stored in a bear box AT ALL TIMES:

  • garbage
  • recyclables
  • soap
  • shampoo
  • toothpaste
  • sunscreen
  • first-aid kits
  • baby wipes
  • lotion
  • hairspray
  • scented tissue
  • air freshener
  • pet food
  • insect repellent
  • tobacco products
  • baby car-seats
  • window cleaner
  • ice chests
  • cans
  • bottles
  • grocery bags

So essentially, the only thing that can be left in your car are clothes. Not only is a bear’s sense of smell reputed to be four times stronger than that of a bloodhound, but the bears in the area recognize some of these items by site. I often refer to black bears as 300 pound raccoons, with a sense of how scary a 300 pound raccoon can be. Of course, we figured a bear breaking into our rental car would really put a damper on our week, so we tried our best to keep everything in the bear boxes at all times. And if ever we thought about being lazy, a sign at the entrance of the campground tallied the recent bear burglaries.

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