escapaditaMost of the ESCAPADITAS we feature in Giving Back Magazine are about relaxing, pampering and getting away from it all. This month, we share with you Sequoia National Park an experience that will certainly change your lives. Only six hours away, Sequoia National Park will transport you not only to another time, you will experience another world.

Our journey to Sequoia began by driving North on the 5 Freeway until arriving to central California, then East into the elevations of the Sierra Nevada. The drive can be made in one day, but we decided to split the drive into two days spending the night in Visalia, a small city outside the park. The next day, we woke up early to enjoy the drive up the mountain and its breath-taking views.

We visited Sequoia National Park in winter to see snow and experience a winter wonderland. As we drove through the one of the most beautiful National Parks in the country, we had no idea that we would be greeted by snow up to 20 feet deep.

At 7,200 feet of elevation, we arrived to the beautiful Wuksachi Lodge. This stunning hotel built with style and elegance offers outstanding views of the Sierra Nevadas. The lodge’s architecture and rustic lobby showcase dark wood paneling, wildlife décor and tall ceilings. The upscale mountain resort features 102 spacious guest rooms, a full-service restaurant with a large fireplace, a cocktail lounge and ski shop. The remote location offered a serene environment making our stay relaxing and invigorating. The Lodge is open all year but be aware that some parts of the park (and roads in the park) might be closed due to snow and construction, so always plan your route carefully.

In the summer, there is also the option of Bearpaw Camp, a luxurious camping experience in the backcountry with tent cabins, twin beds and hot showers. Breakfast and dinners are served daily making this the perfect balance between outdoor experience and luxury treatment. From here you can experience day hikes and fishing. You can also enjoy cave exploration including Crystal Cave which is 3.4 miles long.

The highlight of our trip were the Giant Sequoia, the largest trees on earth. These trees can be up to 300 feet tall, 25 feet in diameter and up to 3,500 years old. To be near these trees is to glimpse back in time and a unique emotional experience. In the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are the activities of choice and the best way to explore the forests. We tried snowshoeing; renting our equipment at The Wuksachi Lodge ski shop and exploring the General Sherman Tree trail. Snowshoeing on twenty feet of snow made us feel closer to the Giant Sequoias. After spending a couple of hours on the snow, we were exhausted and ready to relax with some good food and wine.

A full bar featuring specialty mountain-themed cocktails, an extensive wine list and a large selection of beers was appreciated as we unwound by the fireplace after a long day of snowshoeing. At dinner in the Wuksachi Lodge Dining Room, we enjoyed contemporary dishes along with breath-taking forest views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The majestic mountain peaks in the background allowed us to reminisce on the incredible experiences of the day. Throughout our stay, we enjoyed hearty yet healthy and fulfilling meals such as Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf and Portobello Mushroom Fettuccini; though lighter fare is also available.

An ESCAPADITA with a bit of adventure but worth every minute of it, Sequoia National Park and the Wuksachi Lodge are an amazing and unforgettable destination for all.

www.visitsequioa.com