Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is home to over 500 mature giant sequoias in the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite and is a must-see.

The species can reach 250 feet (76m) and a diameter of 30 feet (9m). 

Inside Yosemite National Park, Mariposa Grove is situated in the southernmost portion.

Many visitors come to Yosemite National Park, California, solely to see these trees since they are among the most magnificent in the entire world.

Within the grove are several convenient trails and a range of hikes, from simple to strenuous. 

A short and easy Big Trees Loop trail is wheelchair-accessible; there are average trails that take 1-2 hours and more challenging ones requiring 4-6 hours to complete. 

This region is open for biking throughout the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing throughout the winter.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Trail has a lot of restrictions because the park administration is committed to preserving a liveable habitat for these endangered trees.

Pets are strictly forbidden; neither horses nor bicycles are permitted off the routes. 

You should also know that the parking lot typically fills up in the morning, so arrive early.

Note: You should always check the current conditions and the best time to visit before visiting this often restricted area.

Free shuttles are available during some months of the year from the southern entrance to the Mariposa Grove—the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias map
Image: NPS.gov

Attractions and Activities at Mariposa Grove

From some of the largest and oldest trees in the world to impressive hiking trails with stunning views, there is much to see and do at Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

Choose from a shorter (quarter mile), a medium-length (2 miles), or a longer (7 miles) track, each of which passes through some of the most remarkable giant sequoias in Yosemite.

Some Significant Trees

The unbelievable Yosemite Mariposa Grove has some of the largest trees in the world. 

Classified as an endangered species by the IUCN, less than 80,000 giant sequoias remain today.

They have shallow, often less than six-foot-deep roots covering a huge area—a mature tree’s roots may cover half an acre or more.

Mariposa Grove has a number of these breathtaking trees to look at. 

Try not to hurt your neck while admiring the tree’s enormous trunk. 

The Grizzly Giant is the second-largest tree in the grove, measuring nearly 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter at the base and more than 90 feet (27 meters) in circumference. 

This tree is estimated to be around 2,000 to 3,000 years old and contains about 2 billion leaves.

It is difficult to comprehend its size and age, but try to grasp its momentousness when visiting the grove fully.

The Bachelor and Three Graces is a collection of four gigantic sequoias.

Three trees grow near one another while the fourth drifts slightly away.

With deeply connected roots, any collapse would also end the other three.

The Fallen Monarch fell more than three hundred years ago and is one of the most famous trees at the grove.

If not disturbed, giant sequoias in Yosemite resist decay, and their remnants can last incredibly long.

This ability to retain some of the original beauty of when it was alive is perhaps the reason for this tree’s fame.

The California Tunnel Tree is the last remaining giant sequoia tree with a tunnel since the fall of the Wawona Tunnel Tree in 1969 and the Pioneer Cabin Tree in 2017.

Ironically, they carved the tunnel in the tree as a marketing strategy to draw tourists to the grove. 

The Faithful Couple results from an unusual event where the two trees grew so close to one another that their bases eventually fused.  

Hiking Trails 

Image: Shedreamsofalpine.com

To see these noteworthy trees, you can take some of the few hiking trails accessible at the grove.

Hiking opportunities in Mariposa Grove Yosemite range from difficulty level easy to strenuous. 

Enjoy a day excursion combining hiking in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias with a convenient pickup to immerse you fully in Yosemite’s natural treasures.

You can enjoy the one-mile hike to the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree from the Lower Grove shuttle stop.

Or, if you want to see more, trek farther and through the Upper Grove to behold the vista at Wawona Point.

Some trails available are as follows:

  • Big Trees Loop Trail 

Starting at the Mariposa Grove Arrival Area, this 0.3-mile (0.5 km) route highlights the Fallen Monarch.

It also features explanatory panels on the life and ecology of giant sequoias as it runs through a forest full of these enormous trees. 

This hike takes 30 to 45 minutes from the trailhead and is wheelchair accessible.

This hike is great for families traveling with kids.

Difficulty level: Easy
Trees covered:  Fallen Monarch 

  • Grizzly Giant Loop Trail

The hike passes famous trees such as the 3,000-year-old Grizzly Giant, Bachelor and Three Graces at the Big Trees Loop on the Mariposa Grove Trail. 

The 2-mile (3.2 km) loop traveling around the grove’s edge and reaching 300 feet (91 meters) in height takes about two hours to complete. 

This hike is ideal for first-timers who prefer to explore the grove on foot.

Difficulty level: Moderate 
Trees covered:  Fallen Monarch, Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, California Tunnel Tree 

  • Guardians Loop Trail

The trail commences at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia’s arrival area with a climb to the serene upper part of the grove.

A 1.5-mile (2.4 km) path leads hikers past numerous well-known sights, including the Wawona Tunnel Tree, the Telescope Tree, and the Mariposa Grove Cabin.

The 6.5-mile (10.5 kilometers) round trip from the trailhead takes 4 to 6 hours to complete.

Difficulty level: Strenuous
Trees covered:  Fallen Monarch, Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, California Tunnel Tree and the Upper Grove

  • Mariposa Grove Trail

This trail of 7 miles (11.3 km) takes you from the trailhead to Wawona Point and back in around 4 to 6 hours.

Along the path to the higher reaches of the forest, you can view iconic sequoias like the Clothespin Tree, the Faithful Couple, and the Bachelor and Three Graces.

After this relatively challenging hike, you avail yourself of the striking views at Wawona Point, with a total elevation of 1,200 feet (366 m). 

You can also reach the upper part of the grove by a variety of different trails. These trails are typically steeper and more undeveloped than the Mariposa Grove Trail.

This trail is for experienced adventure seekers, not beginners.

Difficulty level: Strenuous
Trees covered: Fallen Monarch, Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, California Tunnel Tree, Wawona Point and the Upper Grove

How to Get to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias?

How to Get to Mariposa Grove
Image: NPS.gov

The Welcome Plaza has around 300 parking spaces close to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park California.

Reach early in the morning to grab a spot for your vehicle. 

However, the trailhead is two miles (3.2 km) from the entrance. 

Near the south entrance, there are some ways to reach the grove from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza.

Where is Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias?

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias address: 4726 Mariposa Grv Trl, Fish Camp, CA 93623, United States. Get Direction

Free Shuttle

Free buses departing from the parking area drop off at the grove every 10 to 15 minutes.

No reservations are necessary; you simply line up and board the bus whenever it stops.

April 1 – May 14: 8 am to 7 pm, buses depart approximately every 15 minutes.

The last bus leaves Mariposa Grove at 8 pm. 

May 15 – September 7: From 8 am to 7 pm, buses depart approximately every 10 minutes.

The last bus leaves Mariposa Grove at 8 pm. 

September 8 – November 7: 8 am to 5.30 pm 

Buses depart roughly every 10 minutes. 

The last bus leaves Mariposa Grove at 6.30 pm.

December 1 – March 30: No buses are available.

Note: The dates will likely vary yearly due to various climatic conditions.

Personal Car

The Mariposa Grove Road is only accessible to vehicles with a disability placard when it is open from about April to November. 

The road provides access to the arrival area and extends further to the area close to the Grizzly Giant.

The road to private vehicles closes at 7.30 am and doesn’t reopen until 7:30 pm.

But if parked at the trailhead, you can leave whenever you prefer. 

Hike from Wawona

If you’re staying near Wawona and are looking for an adventurous day, consider trekking a 7-mile trail to the grove and back.

Mariposa Grove Trail will lead you to Mariposa Grove from Wawona.

Be ready for a considerable elevation change (1,200 feet).

On Horseback

A horseback rider is welcomed at the grove as well.

However, only the Perimeter Trail allows horses.  

The Mariposa Grove in Winter

The Mariposa Grove in Winter
Image: Facebook.com(YosemiteNPS)

The Mariposa Grove is open to hikers, snowshoers, and skiers in winter.

The Mariposa Grove allows skiing and overnight camping, which requires a wilderness permit when there is adequate snow and the Mariposa Grove Road is closed to cars. 

Usually, Mariposa Grove Road closes for cars from the end of November until around the beginning of April. 

Consequently, to reach Mariposa Grove, you must hike two miles for a roundtrip on the Washburn Trail or the Mariposa Grove Road, with approximately 500 feet in elevation gain. 

 During this time of year, snow and/or ice may cover the trails.

The Grove’s Welcome Plaza’s visitors’ center also closes during these months.

Only the welcome plaza has access to water, and Mariposa Grove’s arrival area, Grizzly Giant, and Mariposa Grove Cabin have vault toilets.

Things to know before visiting Mariposa Grove

Certain things to keep in mind before visiting Mariposa Grove are as follows:

  • The Mariposa Grove and its paths or roadways, including the Mariposa Grove Road and Washburn Trail, do not allow pets. 
  • The welcome plaza, arrival area, and areas near the Mariposa Grove Cabin and Grizzly Giant have functioning toilets year-round.
  • Water is always accessible at the welcome plaza; however, it’s only provided at the arrival area in the summer. 

Do not forget to carry your own water bottle during the summer months. 

  • Food is unavailable at either Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza or the main Mariposa Grove area.
  • Mariposa Grove Road allows bicycles to travel between the welcome center (next to the South Entrance) and the Grizzly Giant. 

It is, however, not permitted in other areas of the grove.  

Featured Image: Cnn.com

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