The Giant Sequoia trees of Yosemite National Park are one of the most famous attractions of the park and a must-see. The famous Mariposa Grove is located just out of the Yosemite Valley right by the entrance to the park.

Yosemite National Park is one of the most famous in the world boasting the Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, and more. Yosemite is also one of the most idyllic places to go hiking in. While in California, don't forget to visit the state's stunning coastal redwoods too in the Redwoods National Park.

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About Giant Sequoias

Giant sequoias are the most massive trees on Earth and are listed as an endangered species but the IUCN. There are believed to be fewer than 80,000 trees left. Additionally, it is thought that another 10-14% of the population was destroyed in the recent Castle Fire in 2020 and the KNP Complex & Windy Fire in 2021 (around 9,761 to 13,637 mature trees) according to a new report.

  • Listed: As Endangered
  • Scientific Name: Sequoiadendron Giganteum

Wind fires and climate change are some of the biggest threats facing the giant sequoias today.

Related: Yosemite National Park: How You And Your Dog Can Make The Most Out Of Your Visit

The Mariposa Grove

The most famous sequoia grove in Yosemite National Park is Mariposa Grove. It is located near the entrance to the park and near Wawona. It is the largest grove of giant sequoias in the park and has many of the most famous trees. There are several hundred mature trees in the park and two of the trees in the grove are among the 30 largest giant sequoias in the world.

Today the Mariposa Grove Museum (a historic cabin amongst the trees) is listed in the American National Register of Historic Places.

One of the most famous specimens in the park is the Grizzly Giant. It is probably between 1900 and 2400 years old and is believed to be the oldest tree in the grove.

Grizzly Giant:

  • Age: Between 1900 and 2400 Years Old
  • Height: 210 Feet or 64 Meters Tall
  • Volume: 34,010 Cubic Feet or 963 Cubic Meters

Another famous tree was the Wawona Tree. It had a tunnel cut through it that was large enough for horse-drawn carriages and early cars to drive through. However, the tunnel weakened it and it fell in a storm in 1969.

  • Tunneled Trees: Wawona Tree, California Tunnel Tree, and The Pioneer Cabin Tree

The California Tunnel Tree is the last living giant sequoia tree with a tunnel cut through it. Previously there were also the Wawona Tunnel Tree and the Pioneer Cabin Tree (that fell in 2017).

  • Tunneled: The California Tunnel Tree Was Tunnelled in 1895
  • Washington Tree: Largest Tree In The Grove

Some of the other noteworthy trees in the grove are the Fallen Monarch (which fell over 300 years ago). The Bachelor and Three Graces (they grow so close to each other that if one was to fall, they would all likely fall). The Columbia tree (the tallest tree in the grove at 286 feet or 87 meters). The Faithful Couple (an unusual example where the trees have grown so close that their trunks have fused together at the base).

Two of the (still living) trees in the grove have been shaped by the innumerable fires that have swept through the area through the decades. The Clothespin tree's truck is nearly severed by the repeated fires creating a space large enough for a pickup truck to drive through. While the Telescope Tree has been completely hollowed out from the fires - one can walk in, look up and see the sky.

Related: This Is Why Mist Trail At Half Dome Should Be On Your List If You Love To Hike

Visiting The Mariposa Grove

As at the time of writing the Mariposa Grove is open to the public. Normally there is a free shuttle bus running from the parking lot to the entrance to the grove. But as of the time of writing that service has been suspended. Updates are on the National Park Service's website.

  • Shuttle Bus: There Is A Free Shuttle Bus Running From The Parking Lot To The Grove (Currently Suspended)
  • Note: Vehicles With Disability Placards Can Drive To The Arrival Area
  • Pets: Forbidden On The Mariposa Grove Road, Washburn Trail, And Anywhere In The Grove
  • Parking: There Are Only Around 300 Parking Spaces And They Can Fill By Mid Morning

One, therefore, needs to hike from the parking lot to the grove. This is a four-mile round trip with 500 feet of elevation change. Expect to hike 5.5 miles round trip to see the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree. Remember to take plenty of water as there is no drinking water in the grove.

Facilities:

  • Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza: Flush Toilets And Drinking Water
  • Mariposa Grove Arrival Area: Portable Toilets and No Drinking Water

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