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).
Height: 209 feet
Diameter of First Large Limb: 6.0'
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.
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.
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 is estimated at 2,700 years of age. Among the huge sequoias of Mariposa Grove, it stands out like a giant. The most distict feature of Grizzly Giant is its huge limbs. Some of its limbs are more than 7 feet in diameter. Just its limbs are thicker than most sequoias in the Grove.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Giant Sequoias 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.
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.