Yosemite NP – Mariposa Sequoia Grove


What? : Mariposa Sequoia Grove is a sequoia grove located near Wawona, in the southernmost part of Yosemite National Park. It is the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite Park, with several hundred large trees. This is probably the most beautiful Sequoia grove outside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The Mariposa Grove is the largest of three Giant Sequoia groves in the park and is home to over 500 mature giant sequoia trees.

When visiting here plan for a half a day stay.



Where? : Mariposa Sequoia Grove is located near the South Entrance of Yosemite.

If you are coming from Fresno drive north on Highway 41, after passing the small town of Fish Camp, drive an additional 2.8 miles and you will reach Yosemite south entrance gate. Right after the gates, at the roundabout, turn right and park at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza.

Park your car here and walk to the shuttle bus station.

If you are coming from Yosemite Valley, take Wawona Rd to Tunnel View, you must stop to enjoy the view if you did not visit here until now, keep driving up through the tunnel, from here it is 24.5 miles drive until reaching the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza.

Google Map Link



When? : Mariposa Sequoia Grove is open year round to visitors but….

In the winter when it snows there is no shuttle bus active, but you can still hike up to the grove, this is a 1 mile hike up to the grove hike starting point and you will need to hike this down after your visit.


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Due note 1: During much of the year a free shuttle is available for use between the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza and the Mariposa Grove, this is a two miles drive, but you can also hike on a trail parallel to the road.

No need for any shuttle reservation and the buses run every 10 - 20 minutes and I found them to be very efficient.

Usually, the shuttle is not active from the end of November and resumes at no earlier than mid-March.

For exact road and shuttle schedule see in the following website:




Due note 2: There are restrooms at the Welcome Plaza and in Mariposa Grove Arrival Area.


Due note 3: This park section was heavily damaged during a strong wind event in 2021 and by Washburn fire in summer 2022.

Check for exact trails opening at the website and.



As of 2022 fall the following trails and sections are close: The trail from the Mariposa Grove toward Wawona and the western portion of the Perimeter Trail.

See the map for exact closer:




Due note 4: This is a very popular destination for people visiting Yosemite NP. The welcome plaza has about 300 parking spaces and may fill up by late morning/noon, try to come early morning so you will have parking and shorter line waiting for shuttle.


Due note 5: Pets are not allowed on any trails, roads or on the bus in Mariposa Grove.


Due note 6: There are no food services available at Mariposa Grove. You can find stores nearby at Wawona Hotel & Co. General Store (near the Yosemite History Center).


Due note 7: Bicycles are allowed when the road is open for the season. Bicycles are not allowed elsewhere in the Mariposa Grove.


Due note 8: Gas stations can be found in the town of Oakhurst or in Wawona Yosemite History Center.


Due note 9: It can be a bit windy and breezy up at the exposed rocky viewpoint so consider bringing warm cloth with you.


Due note 10: Stay off open mountains peak during thunderstorms!

It is not safe to be in high exposed location when there are lightnings…


Few general hiking guidelines:

Stay on established trails, pack out what you pack in, Overnight backpackers need a wilderness permit, carry (and drink) plenty of water. Be sure to treat rivers, stream, lake, or spring water.

My thoughts: I really enjoy my late fall (Oct. 2022) visit to this grove, I came early and hiked the 2 miles up the road and I was the only one in the grove.

There are many large trees, and the Grizzly Giant Tree is impressive, even compared to the more “famous” trees that can be found in Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP.

I hiked the longer route all the way to the viewing point and on my way back down I went to more trails.




The Giant Sequoia Trees:

Giant sequoia specimens are part of the redwoods family and are the most massive trees on Earth. they only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range of California.

The giant sequoia is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN, and it is estimated that there are fewer than 60,000 trees remaining.

They grow to an average height of 50–85 m (164–279 ft) with trunk diameters ranging from 6–8 m (20–26 ft). Record trees have been measured at 94.8 m (311 ft) tall.

Giant sequoias are among the oldest living organisms on earth. They can protect themselves from fire by their thick bark that contains tannic acid, which provides significant protection from fire damage.

The giant sequoia regenerates by seed.

The roots of giant sequoias are shallow, usually less than six feet deep, but spread over a large area - half an acre or more for a mature tree, therefore it is so important to protect the soil near the trees.



There are 2 others Sequoia Trees Grove in Yosemite National Park (Tuolumne and Merced Groves) but Mariposa grove is the most beautiful and rewarding to visit.



The Visit:


During peak season the shuttle provides transportation from 8am to 7pm but if you can do as I did, come here at 7am and hike the 2 miles up to the trail starting point, this is 45 min hike on the road. coming early, I was the only one up there and had the entire park to myself.

After my hike, at noon, I took the shuttle on the way down back to the car parking lot.


Between 2015 and May 2018, the Mariposa Grove was closed and went under major renovations to make it more “friendly” to giant sequoias. Paved roads have been removed and replaced by boardwalks and gravel roads to minimize their effect of damaging the sequoias' shallow root systems. All trails are in good conditions, even after the wind and fire damage.




There are a variety of trails from easy to strenuous within the grove, as well as some accessible trails.


Big Trees Loop Trail (0.3 mile):

This is an easy loop starting at the Arrival Area. Winding through a forest with many giant sequoias. This loop is flat and is wheelchair accessible.

Here you can also see the Fallen Monarch Tree that got famous for old photograph of U.S. Cavalry officers on their horses up on top of the tree.



Grizzly Giant Loop Trail (2 miles)

This moderate loop starts along the Mariposa Grove Trail at the Big Trees Loop and from here you will hike up (300 feet) passing a few large trees all the way to one of the most impressive trees you will ever see; The 3,000-year-old Grizzly Giant.

The Grizzly Giant Tree is by far the most impressive and beautiful tree in the grove (Washington tree is larger but less impressive). This oldest tree in the grove is 210 feet tall, nearly 30 feet in diameter and 90 feet in circumference.

After enjoying the view of this giant tree walk down to the nearby California Tunnel Tree.

From here the loop trail turns left and you will gradually return to your starting point, this will take you 1-2 hours.


Mariposa Grove Trail and Guardians Loop Trail (8.8 miles):

This is a strenuous 8.8 miles long hike that combines all main park sequoia groves into one hike.

Start as you are doing the Grizzly Giant Loop and right after Grizzly tree turn right and hike up Mariposa Grove Road, you will pass several large trees along the road (famous sequoias such as the Bachelor and Three Graces, the Faithful Couple, and the Clothespin Tree). This section is all uphill but not so steep because it follows an old road path.

After walking 2.5 miles from the hike starting point you will turn right to the nearby Mariposa Grove Cabin. Galen Clark’s built the cabin in 1864 to host people and promote the protection of this grove and add it to the Yosemite NP.

Here you can enjoy the large trees near the cabin’s small meadows.

From here walk to the nearby restroom and after passing it turn left and walk up on Guardians Loop Trail. At this section you will pass a few large trees and at the end you will reach the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree. Keep walking until you reach the road.

Continue hiking straight up the road and after a short walk you will reach to historic Wawona Point, an overlook with panoramic views.

The total elevation gained from the starting point is 1,200 feet.

Here you can rest and enjoy the panoramic view of Wawona Valley north of this point.

In this upper section, and to the valley below you can clearly see the Washburn fire damage (2022).

After enjoying the view, you will walk back on the same road you went up, get near the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree and just before turn right down the stone stairs into an unnamed trail that will lead you to Mariposa Grove Cabin.

Pass the cabin and instead of turning left turn this time to the right and hike down a trail that will lead you to Clothespin Tree (this is a 0.5-mile-long section).

From here turn left and walk down to Grizzly Giant Tree, turn right, and visit California Tunnel Tree.

The California Tunnel Tree is the only living sequoia in Yosemite with a man-made tunnel drilled through it. The tree was carved out for the benefit of tourists in 1895.

From here follow the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail and hike down to the arrival plaza.

Allow 4-7 hours hiking time to this long trail.









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