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.
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
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.
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
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:
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
The Giant Sequoia Trees:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
straight up the road and after a short walk you will reach to historic Wawona
Point, an overlook with panoramic views.
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 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.
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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