Just a short drive away is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Giant sequoias are also known as Sierra redwoods – not to be confused with the coast redwood, which are found in a separate range along the California coast. Giant sequoias are native only in isolated groups on the western slope of the central and southern Sierra Nevada. There are three groves of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park – the Mariposa, Tuolumne, and Merced Groves. Of these, the Mariposa Grove is the largest and most often visited. It contains about 500 mature giant sequoias, and you can spend several hours to a full day exploring this
wonderland of towering giants.
- Plan to start your visit to the Mariposa Grove either early in the morning or mid-to-late afternoon. There is limited parking at Mariposa Grove. During summer months and spring and fall weekends, the Grove parking lot is usually full by 10:00 am, and parking opens up again after 3:00 pm. There is a free shuttle bus from the Wawona Store to the Grove during these peak hours.
- Pack a backpack lunch or dinner, as there is only a seasonal gift shop with very limited snack items at the Grove.
- There is both an Upper and Lower Grove in the Mariposa Grove. All the trails in the Grove are uphill, so we recommend buying a ticket for a ride on one of the open-air trams that run about every 20 minutes. Ride the tram to the Upper Grove, where you can visit the Mariposa Grove Museum. Pick up a trail guide before boarding the tram.
- If you’d like to add a scenic view of the Wawona Basin to your day, take a short hike from the Wawona Tunnel Tree (a tram stop – ask the driver for trail directions) to Wawona Point. From the Point you’ll see Wawona Meadow, golf course, and Wawona Dome. The short round trip walk should take less than an hour.
- After exploring the Upper Grove, you can either board the tram, or hike down to the Grizzly Giant. Again, you can board the tram at the Grizzly Giant or hike down to the parking lot. The full hike from the Upper Grove to the parking lot is 2 miles, and should take about 2-3 hours. The hike from the Grizzly Giant to the parking lot is just under a mile, and along the way you’ll see an abundance of majestic sequoias that make up the Lower Grove. If you have time for only one hike in the Grove, this should be it. Allow about an hour for the one-way hike from the Grizzly Giant to the parking lot.
- Check the Yosemite Guide for a variety of ranger-led walks in the Grove, if you’d like to hear the fascinating story of the giant sequoias from a park naturalist.
- During the winter season, trails in the Grove are marked for cross-country skiing or exploring on snowshoes.
On any day trip, always take along a pack with water, snacks, camera, binoculars, insect repellent, and sunscreen. Most scheduled activities, such as ranger-led programs, are offered primarily during the summer months.