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How to Visit Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, Home of the Giant Sequoia Trees

How to Visit Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, Home of the Giant Sequoia Trees

Want to see giant sequoia trees? Look no further than Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park!

I visited Mariposa Grove and loved seeing the giant sequoia trees for the first time.

Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit!

What are giant sequoia trees?

John Muir quote about sequoia trees

Sequoias are the largest trees in the world. They’re part of the redwood family.

They have a distinct, richly colored reddish brown bark that stands out among the neutral earth tones of the forest. If you look closely, it looks almost furry.

Their roots grow outwards instead of downwards to form a solid base and better support their stature.

They can grow to be thousands of years old. One place to admire giant sequoia trees is in Yosemite National Park.

Where can you see giant sequoias in Yosemite?

Trees in Mariposa Grove

There are three groves in Yosemite National Park that have giant sequoias: Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Grove, and Merced Grove.

Mariposa Grove has the largest number of sequoias, with over 500 mature trees.

How do you get to Mariposa Grove?

Shuttle bus with Mariposa Grove showing as destination

To get to Mariposa Grove, guests need to catch a free shuttle from the The Mariposa Grove Welcome Center Plaza.

There is plenty of parking at the plaza, along with a gift shop, educational displays, and restrooms. It is located by Yosemite’s South Entrance.

The shuttle runs every 10 minutes from March through November and drops guests off at the trailhead for the Big Trees Loop trail.

In the winter months, the road to the trailhead and grove remain open for snowshoers, skiers, and hikers.

Is there an entrance fee for Mariposa Grove?

Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza view from the parking lot

Mariposa Grove is included with your admission to Yosemite National Park.

You pay $35 per car upon arrival and your entrance is valid for 7 days.

Note, they only accept credit cards at the entrance.

In the alternative, you can purchase a US National Park Pass. For only $80, you get a year’s worth of access to over 200 parks.

Are there guided tours of Mariposa Grove?

Woman standing inside hollowed out trunk of giant sequoia tree

Occasionally, there are guided tours by the park rangers. The schedule varies.

You can also book a group or private tour through a company like Viator or Get Your Guide.

The trails are relatively well marked and easy to do on your own as well, particularly the Big Trees Loop Trail and Grizzly Giant Loop Trail.

Are there hiking trails in Mariposa Grove?

There are several hiking trails in Mariposa Grove since, depending on how far you want to go, you could end up wandering into other areas of the park.

For our purposes, I’ll summarize the 3 most popular ones.

1. Big Trees Loop Trail (.3 miles)

This is your shortest option if you just want a quick stop. Once you’re off the shuttle, you’ll have a picture of the entrance sign with the sequoias in the background.

The trail takes you to the Fallen Monarch, a tree that collapsed more than 300 years ago but has remained standing.

The tree is famous for having held an entire cavalry (horses and all) in an old black and white picture.

2. Grizzly Giant Loop Trail (2 miles)

This is the best trail for those wanting a moderate hike, consisting of some of the park’s most well-known trees.

After passing the Fallen Monarch, instead of making the loop back to the shuttle, you keep going. Soon, you’ll pass the Bachelor and Three Graces. Then, the Grizzly Giant.

The Grizzly Giant is among the 30 tallest trees in the world and the second largest in Yosemite National Park.

You’ll also pass the California Tunnel Tree, the only remaining tunnel tree in the park.

3. Mariposa Grove Trail (7 miles)

For those wanting a more challenging hike, continue all the way to Wawona Point on the Mariposa Grove Trail.

You’ll see trees like the Clothespin Tree, which looks like a clothespin after the trunk was naturally hollowed out by a fire, and the Faithful Couple, a pair of trees fused together at the base.

Is Mariposa Grove accessible?

If your car has a disability placard, you can drive up the shuttle road to a parking lot that leads to the Grizzly Giant. The trail is well paved and it’s easy to see this tree.

The Big Trees Loop Trail is all relatively even and accessible.

Beyond that, some of the trees are more challenging and in areas where the trail is less developed.

Can you bring pets to Mariposa Grove?

Pets are not allowed in Mariposa Grove.

They are allowed in other parts of Yosemite, like paved and boardwalk areas in Yosemite Valley.

When is the best time of year to visit Mariposa Grove?

Many people visit Mariposa Grove in the summer months, peak season for the park, but in my opinion fall is underrated.

The weather is still pretty warm, and most routes are still open from the summer.

There are less people in the park, so the shuttle is less crowded, and you can find better rates and availability for hotels nearby.

Is Mariposa Grove worth visiting?

Is Mariposa Grove worth visiting during your time in Yosemite National Park? Absolutely!

I loved seeing the sheer size of the giant sequoia trees.

It wasn’t just their stature, but their longevity that put things into perspective.

Some of them were charred from fire, but they persisted.

Even the Tunnel Tree was healing from the inside out!

The sequoia trees have an incredible capacity to outlast natural disasters and human disasters, and that gives you an appreciation for your time and potential impact on the planet.

I enjoyed that the trails felt secluded, even though we were far from the only ones in the park.

It was a tranquil, reflective visit that let me marvel at some of nature’s most impressive work.

If you’re visiting Yosemite National Park, don’t miss your chance to walk amongst giants in Mariposa Grove.

Till next time, safe travels!


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*This post was sponsored by Yosemite Mariposa County. All opinions are my own.