One of the reasons I love living in Northern California is that some of the most beautiful places in the United States are right in my backyard. Yosemite National Park is at the top of this list.
Over the years I’ve visited Yosemite a handful of times (some photos here, here, and here), but there are still lots of places I haven’t explored. When my mom told me she wanted to visit the park on her recent trip to California, I asked that we add the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to our list of things to do in Yosemite. The grove has about 500 Giant Sequoia trees, some of the oldest and largest living things in the world.
The Mariposa Grove is located near the southern entrance to Yosemite, only about a 30 minute drive from our vacation rental in Oakhurst, California.
We did the most popular hike in the grove, 1.6 miles (out and back) from the parking lot to the Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree. There are more distant trees if you take more time to hike or buy tickets for the one hour Trolley Ride. We opted to hike so we could stay close to the car — we brought Posey, and dogs are not allowed on National Park trails.
More Mariposa Grove/Yosemite photos:
The Fallen Monarch, a massive tree that fell more than 300 years ago. Sequoia wood is decay-resistant, so felled trees can stay intact for hundreds of years:
Lots of the trees show scars and burn damage from wildfires or the “controlled burn” fires occasionally set by park staff to encourage new growth:
The Bachelor and Three Graces, a group of four trees growing very close to each other. Their roots are so intertwined that if one of them were to fall, it would bring the others down along with it:
The Grizzly Giant tree is estimated to be 1,800 years old:
The California Tunnel Tree is one of the last remaining hollowed out “tunnel trees” in California. The National Parks stopped this practice decades ago because it weakens the trees and reduces their lifespan:
Mom and me under the California Tunnel Tree:
Spring flowers and new growth in the aftermath of a wildfire: