Home to over 500 ancient giant sequoias, Mariposa Grove in Yosemite offers unique experiences like walking (or driving) through a living tree trunk.
In the southern reaches of Yosemite National Park, Mariposa Grove is a quiet testament to the lasting and impressive nature, home to over 500 mature giant sequoias. Among these ancient trees, the Grizzly Giant stretches toward the sky, noted for its considerable age that extends beyond recorded history, and California Tunnel Tree offers a unique passage through its living trunk.
The largest of Yosemite's three sequoia groves, this forest invites visitors to wander through an environment that has stayed almost the same for thousands of years. The trees here are among the largest living things on Earth, with some reaching more than 60 meters (200 feet) tall and measuring over 9 meters (30 feet) in diameter.
The grove offers a different take on a forest walk; the Big Trees Loop Trail provides an easy walk among these large trees, while the Mariposa Grove Trail leads to a more challenging hike to the upper grove, revealing quieter, less-visited trees. In winter, snow can cover the trails, turning the grove into a silent, white landscape—though it's important to check for trail closures or required equipment like snowshoes.
Accessibility to Mariposa Grove has been a key focus, with steps taken to protect the root systems of these long-standing trees. A free shuttle bus from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza transports visitors into the heart of the forest from spring through fall, helping to minimize the impact of foot traffic on this sensitive ecosystem.
The grove's historical importance is evident, with human interactions dating back to the mid-19th century. The Galaxy of Giants exhibit provides insights into the natural history of sequoias, while interpretive signs along the trails discuss the cultural history of the grove.
For many, the highlight is seeing the Grizzly Giant—a sequoia estimated to be over 2,700 years old. It's a living connection to the past that demands respect and thought. Even with the natural draw of these large trees, visitors are encouraged to stay on marked paths to protect the grove's condition for future generations.
In Mariposa Grove, each step among these respected trees is a reminder of nature's lasting magnificence and the small yet meaningful place humans have within it.
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