Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias


 

Giant Sequoia in Yosemite National ParkA short day trip from Yosemite Valley will bring you to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. These super-sized trees are truly magnificent for their size, color, and granduer. If you ever want to feel small next to another living organism, stand next to a giant sequoia. The Tuolumne Grove is one of three groves of sequoia trees inside the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.

Getting there is a short drive from Yosemite Valley towards Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows. Just a 12 mile drive from the valley floor and a short one mile hike into the grove make this trip an easy half-day trip from the valley. The parking lot at the trail head is fairly large with restrooms. Your best bet for some solitude in the grove is to come early in the day. By mid-day the trail and parking lot can get busy. When we visited in early September there were hardly any other fellow hikers on the way down.

The wide paved trail is very easy to follow as it winds down through the forest. It is all downhill for one mile from the trail head to the grove. Keep that in mind as the return trip is one mile all uphill. The trail follows the former Old Big Oak Flat Road which was the original entrance road to the park.

You can imagine the slower paced journey into the park of visitors a century ago. The gradual climb in a car or horse drawn carriage through the sparsly spaced sequoia trees must have been a great appetizer on the way to Yosemite Valley.

Sequoia trees are one of three types of redwoods and are the largest trees on earth in terms of volume. A mature sequoia will measure up to 280 feet high and 26 feet in diameter. Sequoia trees still living today are as old as 3,000 years old!

Overall, plan on 3-4 hours for the trip from the Yosemite Valley and back. You won’t regret it.

 

The Details:

Mileage 2.5 miles Elevation Climbed 400 feet
Experience Level All Route Type Out-and-back
Best Weather Anytime the Tioga Road and the groves are open (usually June – November)
Weather Notes The forest is thick in this area providing cool coverage from the afternoon sun
Crowds Come early in the morning for some magnificent solitude
Fees None

 

 

Trail Directions:

From Yosemite Valley the drive will take about 20-30 minutes as you climb out of the valley towards the northwest side of the park. Crane Flat gas station and a small store are only one half mile from the parking lot for Tuolumne Grove if you need to stock up on anything. Plan on 3-4 hours for the drive and hike.

Start: Yosemite Valley

Mile Marker Description
0.0 Follow exit signs from the valley.
5.0 Follow signs for Highway 120 (towards San Francisco, Tioga Road, Tuolumne Meadows)
12.4 Turn right on Highway 120/Tioga Road towards Tuolumne Meadows. The Crane Flat gas station is on your right hand side.
12.9 Look for the signs and parking lot for the Tuolumne Grove on your left side. The hiking trail leaves from the west side of the parking lot near the restrooms.

 

Base of a giant sequoia in Yosemite's Tuolumne Groves

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