From the Mariposa Grove Museum, a short 1/4-mile nature loop trail leads through a meadow and many giant sequoias. This trail is often empty of people but full of sights. While walking this short path, take the time to appreciate your surroundings; the wildlife, the trees, the meadows, the streams flowing around you. Notice that the upper grove is basically confined in a small basin between two low ridges. Interpretive signs along the trail will tell much of the story of this sequoia forest; how it benefits from fire, the sequoia's weaknesses, and its strenghs.
Yosemite National Park was originallhy established to protect the Sequoias at Mariposa Grove. Today, it is one of the many special sights of Yosemite. I got to this place in the middle of the afternoon on Memorial Day. By then, the area was filled almost to capacity. There was no place to park, so I had to turn around. I must say I saw the largest trees that I had seen for a long time. These trees are huge. Worth the stop when it is less crowded.
This tree made me very sad; a monarch giant sequoia that has lived at least 1000 years, with a tunnel cut through it's base. It's disgusting how early park management would vandalize the trees in this way; and while walking through this tree may seem fun, stop for a moment and take a walk in the tree's shoes. Past the California Tunnel Trees, the sequoias begin thinning out as you climb a dry slope that can often be hot during the summer. From the California Tunnel Tree the trail climbs almost 1,000 feet to the Mariposa Grove Museum.
After a moderate uphill climb from the lower grove, we reached the upper grove, where there is a beautiful meadow and many giant sequoias. The Mariposa Grove Museum there has some good information concerning sequoias, but is not quite as comprehensive as Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest Museum. The museum is rather dark inside; but it details a sequoia's life cycle, as well as some early pioneers (including Galen Clark). It also states the importance of sequoias in the formation of national parks; three of the first four US national parks preserved giant sequoias.
Located 35 miles south of Yosemite Valley is the largest of 3 sequoia groves in Yosemite. This was a pleasant surprise for me since I never associated these giants with Yosemite.
The giant sequoia is largest of all living things and they live for thousands of years. Some are over half hollowed out due to fires but they still thrive and do not die of old age.
It was difficult taking photos of an entire tree since they are so enormous! One must really experience this in person.
There are hiking trails but certain areas are only accessible by tram tour.
Visit the Mariposa grove which is 36 miles south of the valley. here you can see the giant Sequoia trees in all their glory. These giants of the forest are awesome.
Depending on the time of year you visit there is a trailer ride which will take you from the parking area up the road thru the grove.
Several hiking trails wander through this sequoia grove. Most people will hike to Grizzly Giant (pictured) and California Tree but that's it. As a result much solitude can be found if you continue. I find the upper grove to be more interesting anyway! I recommend hiking the grove all the way to the back at Wawona Point, but if you'd rather not hike uphill, then during the summer take the tram tour to the Fallen Wawona Tunnel tree and hike back to the parking lot from there. NOTE: The tram costs money. Check for prices at the ticket office.
A lot of Yosemite's great wonders require little exertion to explore. The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias lies near the southern entrance, where leisurely strolls can be taken among these giant towers. Thankfully the park service has discontinued the practice of allowing bear-feedings in Yellowstone, and here they have thankfully discontinued the old frolic of driving through the trunks of these enormous trees.
Though quite tall, the sequoias are extremely fat trees, with almost disproportionately wide diameters. Few photos would accurately describe the scale, since most of the trees are not subject to consortium with park visitors.
From the Galen Clark Tree, a sign reads "Wawona Point .5 mile". The trail leads gently up to Wawona Point, elevation 6810. The wide view from the point encompasses Wawona Meadow down below, as well as the South Fork Merced River, Wawona Dome, and the Chowchilla Mountains. Best of all, you'll probably be at this viewpoint alone, without the crowds. Most everyone else has either stopped at the end of the lower grove, or at the museum in the upper grove. Be sure to sit for a while and soak in the silence. Although the view here was not quite up to par with Glacier Point, it is still very wonderful and it is one of my favorite places in the park.
Mariposa grove was so extraordinary. You rarely experience trees of this magnitude. Unfortunately, it was raining when we went and did not have alot of time to wander.
However, we got a good idea of the grove and will definately put this region first when we come back.
First of all this is not Sequoia National Park which is a bit further south from Yosemite. This is just part of the massive Yosemite National Park at the southern edge of the park. Sue and I only had a few hours to spend here before meeting VTer Kathymof and her husband for dinner nearby, but we did do a little hiking to a couple of the marked trees along the trail. And that's about all we were going to be able to do as Sue did not bring her walking shoes not thinking we would do some walking in the woods today.
We took the drive down from Mariposa where we had spent a portion of the day. As stated in the general directions below the entrance is off Highway 41 near the town of Oakhurst. Once you enter Yosemite here you will have about a 2 mile ride on Mariposa Grove Road until you get to a relatively small parking lot where you can begin hikes or possibly take the tram. We thought about taking the 1 hour tram ride, but I think the cost is somewhere in the $20 range for about a 60 minute tour which I thought was a little steep.
Anyway we began our initial walk which I found out later increased about 500 feet over a little less then a mile hike (no wonder we were a little winded). We saw three of the named "tall tree attractions" in the Fallen Monarch, Bachelor and Three Graces and Grizzly Giant. You can see all three of these within an hour walk which is about what we did.
The forest is full of very unafraid deer. They are so use to people walking through that they almost don't give you a second thought as you traverse through their part of the woods.
This grove on the southern edge of the park, just above Fish Camp, contains some 250 awe-inspiring giant sequoias, the largest trees on earth. Many are nearly 3,000 years old, and several trees stand nearly 200 feet tall and l5 or more feet in diameter. These trees can be seen from the parking area, but to view the largest, take a short walk or tram tour. The tram six-mile loop provides easy access for viewing and photographing these magnificent wonders. The star of the tour is the "Grizzly Giant." The Giant has a circumference of more than 100 feet, is almost 35 feet in diameter and is the oldest known giant sequoia.
On an alternate trail from the Mariposa Grove Museum back to the Lower Grove parking area, you'll find two rarely visited trees: The Clothespin and the Faithful Couple. The Clothespin is a giant sequoia that has been badly burned many times, creating a natural tunnel in its trunk. The hole is actually large enough for a car to drive through (the size of the tunnel in my photo doesn't show how big the it really is). The Faithful Couple, about 0.2 miles away, is a pair of giant sequoias that began growing very close to each other and eventually merged at their bases.
The giant Galen Clark Tree is 1/10 of a mile down the tram road from the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree. It is set rather far back from the road, so you really can't get a good view of it. Galen Clark, the namesake of the tree, was diagnosed with lung disease in 1853 and told by doctors that he only had a few months left to live. Clark decided to spend the rest of his time in the mountains before he died. Upon entering the Sierra Nevada, he found the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. He lived here for the most of the rest of his life, guarding and fighting for these trees. In the 1863, his work helped President Lincoln to set aside the Yosemite Grant, which preserved Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. By 1890, he and John Muir had succeeded in establishing Yosemite National Park. Clark later died at the ripe age of 90.