The restoration of Mariposa Grove is an ambitious, multiyear effort, funded in partnership between Yosemite Conservancy and the National Park Service to preserve these majestic trees by balancing visitor needs with ecological protection. In 2015, restoration crews began removing asphalt from roads and parking areas in the upper and lower Groves to restore hydrology, vegetation and habitat for sensitive wildlife species. To restore peace and tranquility, several paved road segments are being converted to pedestrian trails.
Once the project is completed, visitors to the Mariposa Grove will notice:
- A consolidated parking area and information station at South Entrance
- Many of the roads within the grove converted into hiking trails
- Over a half-mile of new accessible trails and boardwalks providing universal access for all visitors to the grove
- Flush toilets replacing vault toilets in the grove
- Removal from the grove of commercial activities such as the gift shop and tram tours
In the fall of 2017 we will once again be able to visit the location that President Abraham Lincoln once set aside to preserve and eventually became the foundation of the National Parks System. We will be able to visit with out the noise of trams or cars, experience natural streams and new growth in its natural state.
Other Places to See Giant Sequoias
Yosemite National Park
Located on the Tioga Road just east of Crane Flat, the Tuolumne Grove has about two dozen mature giant sequoias. Sequoias are only visible after a one-mile hike with 500 feet of elevation loss. (The one-mile hike back to the parking lot gains 500 feet and is strenuous.) Water is not available; bring drinking water for everyone in your group who will be hiking this trail. The drive takes about 1.5 hours from South Entrance. Parking is limited.
Yosemite National Park
Located on the Big Oak Flat Road east of Big Oak Flat Entrance, the Merced Grove has about two dozen mature giant sequoias. Sequoias are only visible after a 1.5-mile hike with 500 feet of elevation loss. (The 1.5-mile hike back to the parking lot gains 500 feet and is strenuous.) Water is not available; bring drinking water for everyone in your group who will be hiking this trail. The drive takes about 1.5 hours from South Entrance. Parking is extremely limited.
North and South Calaveras Groves
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Calaveras Big Trees State Park has perhaps twice as many giant sequoias as all of Yosemite National Park.
Calaveras became a state park in 1931 and includes the Discovery Tree, also known as the Big Stump, the first Sierra redwood noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. This area has been a major tourist attraction ever since, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California. Accessible trails and other facilities are available.
From Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat Entrance, take Highway 120 west to its junction with Highway 49. Take Highway 49 north, through Sonora, to Angels Camp, then take Highway 4 east to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. This drive takes about a two hours.
Kings Canyon National Park
The Grant Grove area was originally General Grant National Park, created in 1890 to protect giant sequoias from logging and contains the General Grant Tree, the third largest tree in the world.
From Yosemite’s South Entrance, head south on Highway 41 to Fresno, then take Highway 180 east to Grant Grove, in Kings Canyon National Park. This drive takes just over two hours.
Sequoia National Park
The Giant Forest is home to many of the world’s biggest trees, including General Sherman, the largest. Forty miles of trails, including the paved Big Trees Trail with wheelchair accessibility, invite visitors to immerse themselves in the majesty of the ancient grove.
From Yosemite’s South Entrance, head south on Highway 41 to Fresno, then take Highway 180 east to Grant Grove Village, in Kings Canyon National Park, then continue on Generals Highway to Giant Forest. This drive takes about three hours.