Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

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    Bachelor and Three Graces
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  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Mariposa Grove

    by goingsolo Updated Sep 3, 2004

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    Just west of the south entrance of Yosemite is Mariposa Grove. There's a two mile road, which may be closed, depending on the traffic, that leads to the Grove. There are more than 200 Sequioas in the area. The Grizzly Giant, one of the most popular, is over 2,000 years old and is one of the oldest living things on earth. Its slightly younger and less popular than the somewhat famous General Sherman tree located in Sequoia National Park, but its still very impressive.

    There are several short trails that wind their way around the area. The trail leads past several of these fallen giants, including the Fallen Monarch and the Wawona Tunnel tree, which was gutted in the 1800s to create a drive through road for horse drawn wagons.

    This is one of the most well known portions of Yosemite, probably second in appeal only to Yosemite Valley. Its a fun area to explore and a great place to stop off, especially if you've been driving from the south for a long time. But there are other striking and more unique sites up the road as you head towards Yosemite Valley and Tuolomne.

    Mariposa Grove

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    Mariposa Grove and its Giant Sequoias

    by VeronicaG Updated Sep 4, 2007

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    As we walked the paths dissecting Mariposa Grove, I felt like an ant moving through tall grass...expecting someone's big foot to flatten me.

    Mariposa Grove is home to the Giant Sequoias, known to survive for more than 3,000 years. When they topple, they can last decades upon decades before rotting.

    The FALLEN MONARCH is an example of this phenomenon (picture 4). It's roots rise high in the air, while its trunk has laid for over a hundred years on the forest floor undecayed. Why? Fungi and bacteria are repelled by the tannic acid inside its trunk.

    Although Giant Sequoias are true natural sky scrapers, their root systems are typically no deeper than six feet, but these can extend for 150 feet. (picture 3).

    Young Sequoias can reach an impressive girth--these trees are capable of developing bases that grow to 40 feet. (picture 2) Amazing facts!

    Yosemite's Silent Sentinels Giant Tree; Giant Girth The Fallen Monarch Fallen But Not Forgotten
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    Mariposa Grove

    by acemj Updated Jun 15, 2004

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    Well, admittedly, my visit to Yosemite was focused on the most visited section of the park, the Valley floor. However, on our second day in the park we made the roughly 35-45 minute drive down toward the Wawona Hotel and the Mariposa Grove. The size of these trees does not translate on film and even in person, it's hard to comprehend the girth of the these giants.

    First, a clarification. The giant sequoias that you see here are also know at Sierra redwoods, so the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Giant Sierras are not to be confused with the coastal redwoods of California and can only be found here in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

    There are actually three separate groves of giant sequoias in Yosemite. Besides Mariposa, there are also the Merced and Tuolumne groves, but Mariposa is by far the most visited.

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    Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove

    by JanPeter74 Updated Apr 20, 2004

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    Sequoias are the biggest and one of the oldest species of trees. Sequoias can be thousands of years old.

    Apart from Sequoia National Park, these trees can also be found in Yosemite NP. Mariposa Grove in the south of Yosemite NP is an area where Sequoias can be found.

    Mariposa Grove is especially interesting for those people who want to see Sequoias but just couldn't squeeze in Sequoia National Park in their trip.

    Click on pic to see entire tree
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    Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

    by chewy3326 Written Jun 29, 2006

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    Giant Sequoias are probably my favorite trees; they are large, towering, and very beautiful. While Mariposa Grove is not quite as large and it's trees not quite as beautiful as those of Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park to the south, Yosemite's largest grove of sequoias is very much worth visiting. The grove is split into an upper and a lower section and covers a total of 250 acres; the upper section is more interesting than the tourist-packed lower grove. One-hour guided tram tours of the grove are offered, but you should skip these (and save $16) and opt for walking. Trails connect the lower grove parking area (elevation 5,600) to the the famous lower grove trees as well as the Upper Grove, the fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree (elevation 6,600) and Wawona Point (elevation 6,800 feet). At the grove parking lot, you can buy an excellent pamphlet about the grove, written by the late Jon Kinney, a ranger at Yosemite National Park. The pamphlet offers a lot of background information on the trees. Crowds tend to congregate in the lower grove, so hiking the moderate uphill trail from the lower grove to the upper grove, about 4 miles round trip, will bring you solitude. For views and even less tourists, hike the 5 miles round trip to Wawona Point.

    Upper Mariposa Grove
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    Mariposa Grove of Big Trees

    by richiecdisc Written Sep 23, 2009

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    The Mariposa Grove of Big Trees is the top hike in the Wawona portion of Yosemite National Park. This 6 mile loop picks up 1000 feet of elevation as it meanders up and down and through a forest of huge sequoias which have to be seen to appreciate. These massive trees can reach up to 3000 years. Redwoods may be taller but these super wides are most awe-inspiring. The lower grove can get quite crowded so it's well worth the climb to reach the upper grove where it thins out considerably.

    extra wide and awe-inspiring sequoias one big tree D gives you some perspective the shallow roots of the sequoia
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    Fallen Monarch

    by travelgirl3 Written Nov 26, 2004

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    Within Mariposa Grove, you will find Fallen Monarch, a giant Sequoia. At the entrance to the Grove, you'll see a large signboard with an old photo of the Monarch. It is an amazing sight, showing an entire Cavalry on their horses, not only beside, but on top of the Monarch. The tree is absolutely huge and must have been quite a sight when it was standing.

    Fallen Monarch, Yosemite NP, CA
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    Grizzly Giant

    by jag17 Updated Jun 16, 2004

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    There are only a few places that giant sequoias grow. If you are near Yosemite, you should definitely take a drive to Mariposa Grove. It is about a 30 minute drive from the valley floor of Yosemite, and contains approx 500 giant sequoias. Easy walking trails, and shade provided by the trees make this an enjoyable few hours. I know this photo can't possibly give you the feeling of the enormous size of these trees, so here are some of the vitals for the Grizzly Giant (biggest sequoia here).

    Age: 2,700years
    Height: 209 feet
    Diameter of First Large Limb: 6.0'

    Giant Sequoia Tree
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    Mariposa Grove Tour is Multilingual

    by atufft Written Oct 21, 2005

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    As I recall we paid $16- per person for the tram that tours through what once was a road taken by tourist cars. I recall the family taking that strip of asphalt many times, with the biggest thrill being a drive through the tunnel tree. The tunnel tree though fell over many years ago, and recent conservation efforts forbid any traffic other than the trams. In any case, the tram has a recorded guide system that explains many things about the Sequoia Gigantia trees and the history of the Grove. These are transmitted by a radio system and headphones, so that tourists speaking languages other than English can appreciate the information. As I recall, Spanish, Japanese, German, French, and other languages were available. For 50 cents, once can also buy a printed copy of a pamplet which is available in several languages. If one has plenty of time, wants to save money, avoid the tram, etc., then hiking through the grove on designated trails is permitted. The trees are typically surrounded by fencing so that the root base is protected from the trampling of tourist feet. Souvenirs are available at the Cabin near the top of the ridge, and at the main entrance shop. Unfortunately, the shops are not carefully stocked with multi-lingual reading material. For example, at the time of our visit, I saw a huge stack of German version souvenir guides, but a Spanish one was not available. However, one can buy a seedling of the great tree, which will in fact grow. I have a two foot tall Sequoia Gigantia in my backyard, which grew from a seedling in only two years.

    View up to the world's largest living things Big Trees Tram Mariposa Grove Fallen Tunnel Tree Mariposa Cabin Deer in Maripose Grove
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    the Giants

    by PA2AKgirl Written Jan 13, 2004

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    The Mariposa Grove is a great place to see the Giant Sequoias. There is a parking area and then a tram that takes you up on a tour. You'll learn about the names, why these trees are so fascinating and stop at the visitor center. You have the option of walking as well.I mapped these trees for a summer and learned so much about them. Most interesting, to me, are the twins and groups of trees that end up growing together. Also, the shallow root system and the tiny cones (please don't take any) The trees also reproduce by being burned, the cones open that way...so it's common to see a lot of the trees with burn scars. This doesn't hurt them, just opens a tunnel in some cases through the bark. These giant trees have were cut down originally because people thought since they were massive, they must be good lumber. Not true--I think some people even tried to make pencils out of them. Anyway, the history of the groves and the trees is very fascinating and you can get the chance to learn all of that on the ride and in the visitor center. It's also interesting to find out why they only grow in these particular areas...they aren't spread out all over the Park.

    Grizzly Giant
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    Living Giants!

    by acebruin Updated Jun 1, 2007

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    Located less than 2 miles east of the south entrance to yosemite national park, mariposa grove is a must visit place in the park. With minimal hiking to do, there are several giant living fossil living in the grove. Approximately 500 giant sequoias are in the grove. These giant sequoias can live up to thousands of years.

    One of the first you'll see is the "Fallen Monarch". It fell around 300 years ago and it still hasn't completely decayed yet. As you can see from the picture, these trees are HUMONGOUS! Hike a little east and you'll encounter the "Bachelor and three graces". After that it's the "Grizzly Giant" and "California Tunnel Tree". There are plenty more famous sequoias in the grove. It's about 1.6 miles from the parking lot to the Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree. With an hour or two of hiking, you can enjoy and appreciate these living monuments!

    When you think these giants are hard rock and deeply rooted, you're wrong! These are actually gentle and fragile creatures. Touch one and you know what I mean. The bark is very spongy, not as hard as I thought it would be. And the roots are very shallow. They require a lot of delicate balancing in their life time. Please take care and give them the respect they deserve.

    If you're too lazy to hike, there are tram tours available in the grove.

    The Grizzly Giant California Tunnel Tree A group of friends posing More posing Tiny flower in a giant world
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    Fallen Monarch

    by chewy3326 Written Jun 29, 2006

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    From the Mariposa Grove parking lot, walk along the paved and easy trail about 0.2 miles to Fallen Monarch, a giant, toppled tree. Because sequoia wood has a lot of tannin, it rots slowly, as in the case of this tree. It's been about the same since a famous photo was taken of it with a line of US cavalry standing on it in 1899.

    Fallen Monarch
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    Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree

    by chewy3326 Written Jun 29, 2006

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    Originally a way of publicizing the grove, a tunnel was cut into a tree in the upper grove that allowed cars to drive through. This tree, the famous Wawona Tunnel Tree, highlights the park's early mismanagement of its resources. However, the only place you'll see the tunnel now is in photos; the tree toppled in 1969 because the tunnel had weakened it. It is estimated to have died 1000 years prematurely.

    Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree
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    The Bachelor and the three Graces

    by chewy3326 Written Jun 29, 2006

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    The Bachelor and the Three Graces are my favorite trees in the lower grove. Obviously, I'm not alone; you'll find quite a few hundred tourists gawking at these four giants with you. The Three Graces are triplet sequoias growing side-by-side; the Bachelor is much larger, taller, and older.

    Bachelor and the Three Graces
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    Grizzly Giant

    by chewy3326 Written Jun 29, 2006

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    Massive Grizzly Giant is one of the biggest trees in the park. This 2,700 year-old monarch has giant limbs sticking out from all sides, the largest being 7 feet in diameter and larger than most other trees in the forest. However, despite it's size, the Grizzly Giant doesn't have the power of Sequoia National Park's General Sherman Tree. Also be warned, the tram stops here and deposits a wave of passengers who inundate the area.

    Grizzly Giant
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