The redwood groves of Yosemite National Park are more than just stunning to look at – they can claim responsibility for Yosemite’s National Park status, and perhaps for the existence of all national parks!
As more and more people made their way to California during the gold rush of the late 19th century, people began to realize that the land that we now know as Yosemite could potentially be destroyed by those looking to make a profit. In order to protect the heritage of the site – including the Mariposa Grove of sequoias – Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864. This act preserved Yosemite for public use, and guaranteed that the land would be preserved and remain cared for and protected. Those same trees Lincoln acted to protect over 150 years ago still tower over the valley, drawing millions of visitors each year.
Seeing the sequoia groves is on most people’s to-do list in Yosemite – and rightfully so! The majestic trees are breathtaking in their scale, and a visit to them won’t disappoint. Here are the different groves you can visit:
Located near Yosemite’s south entrance, Mariposa Grove contains almost 500 sequoias. These trees are thousands of years old – in fact, the Grizzly Giant, one of the largest trees in the grove, is estimated to be about 2,700 years old. This massive tree measures about 200 feet tall with a circumference of 96 feet at its base. Other famous trees in the grove include The Bachelor, the Three Graces, and the Faithful Couple. The famous Fallen Monarch fell over 300 years ago and has not decayed. If you decide to get a photo there, you’ll be in good company – you can find one from 1899 with U.S. Cavalry members taking the same opportunity.
Hiking to Mariposa Grove can happen via various routes, as the park has strived to make the sites more accessible when possible. For those with physical limitations, the Big Trees Loop is an easy walk, and is wheelchair-accessible. There are several other trails of various difficulty, but the fact is – if you want to see Mariposa Grove (and you do want to see it!) there’s a way that’s right for you!
If you’re up for a bit of a walk, the hike to Tuolumne Grove is an easy downhill stroll – although what goes down must come up, and the hike back to the trailhead can be a bit more taxing. This is a popular area for snowshoers.
Quieter than Mariposa Grove, Merced Grove is the smallest of Yosemite’s sequoia groves. A fairly easy hike, this grove, like Tuolumne, is downhill on the way there with an upgrade of 600 feet on the way back.
The splendor of the sequoia groves in Yosemite can’t be overestimated. In fact, you may like to reflect on the magnitude of what you’ve seen over a delicious dinner or a cup of tea. Wherever your adventures take you, end the day in your Yosemite cabin rental to enjoy luxury in your home away from home.