Sequoia in snow

Hiking the Mariposa Grove Trail

The mighty Giant Sequoia are the largest trees in the world and can only be found on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range, including Yosemite National Park, putting this hike on the list of “must do’s.” The Mariposa Grove is home to hundreds of these trees, but most famously the 1,800-year-old, Grizzly Giant.

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Mariposa sequoia

History of the Mariposa Grove Trail

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia’s is located at the southernmost entrance of Yosemite.  It is home to over 500 mature Sequoia trees, the largest grove in the park.   The national park idea started with Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. In 1864 President Lincoln signed the “Yosemite Grant” protecting the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley for the purpose of public use.  This is the first time in American history the federal government set aside wilderness to be protected for the benefit of future generations.

3 Best Day Hikes on the Mariposa Grove Trail

Hiking the Mariposa Grove trail has 3 different loops from easiest to hardest.  Whatever fitness level you may be you are sure to enjoy a hike in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia’s.

Below are the primary options for day hiking the Mariposa Grove Trail:

Destination Miles Elev Difficulty Style
Big Trees Loop .3 mi 0 ft Easy Loop
Grizzly Giant Loop 2 mi 300 ft Moderate Loop
Mariposa Grove to Wawona Point 7 mi 1,200 ft Strenuous Loop

1. Big Trees Loop

The Big Trees Loop winds through a forest with many giant sequoias, and features the Fallen Monarch and many interpretive panels on the life and ecology of giant sequoias. This loop is flat and is wheelchair accessible and very easy to follow.  The perfect trail to view these trees if you have family or children and are looking for a short walk.

2. Grizzly Giant Loop

The Grizzly Giant Loop starts along the Mariposa Grove Trail at the Big Trees Loop.  The hike continues past notable trees such as the Bachelor and Three Graces, the Grizzly Giant, and California Tunnel Tree. One should allow 1-2 hours to enjoy the full loop and includes 300 feet of elevation gain.

3. Mariposa Grove to Wawona Point

The trail begins on the south end of the grove and heads west along a maintained walkway passing the “Fallen Monarch” and the “Bachelor and Three Graces” within the first mile. Continuing on another ¼ mile and a 300ft gain in elevation we will arrive at the Grizzly Giant. This is the tallest, 209 ft, and oldest tree in Yosemite national park. Moving on, the trail climbs steadily as we head past many other massive Sequoia’s namely the “Faithful couple” and the aptly named “Clothespin” tree. From here we are roughly 2 miles from the stunning Wawona Point. As you continue your climb you’ll reach your final destination with stunning views of Wawona Valley, Wawona dome and the South Fork of the Merced river down below.

Maximize Your Visit to Mariposa Grove on a Hiking Tour

Guided day hike tours and multi-day packages allow visitors the opportunity to make the most of their time in Rocky Mountain National Park and to do it hassle-free. Guided tours include gear (backpack, trekking poles, crampons in winter), meals, accommodations on multi-day tours, local transportation, and a professional Colorado hiking guide. Through their knowledge, stories, and personal passion, guides can bring a place to life in a way that’s much more difficult to do on your own. Read more about Yosemite National Park Hiking Tours.


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Winter Maripposa

Join a Guided Yosemite National Park Backpacking Trip

Joining aguided Yosemite National Park backpacking tour is a worry-free, adventurous way to experience Yosemite. With your gear, meals, local transportation, permits, and fees taken care of for you, you can travel light and focus 100% on enjoying the hiking experience, while the guide company takes care of everything else. Also, by going with local experts you’ll enjoy a greater level of safety and gain a much better understanding of the history and ecology of this remarkable region. Read more about a guided Yosemite backpacking trips.


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Giant Sequoia

When to Hike and Seasonal Considerations

The best time to visit The Mariposa Grove is anytime.  The month’s of May-Oct are ideal for weather.  The days can be hot (70-90F) with cool nights (40-50F).  There is little rain in the summer months although the Sierra Nevada is known for unpredictable weather so best to always be prepared.  Winter is cold and temps during the day can range from 10-30 degrees F.   Sierra Nevada translates to the “Snowy Range” in Spanish, so you can expect there to be snow if visiting in wintertime.  Despite the cold and the wet, winter is a lot quieter than the busy summer months with a lot less people.  Remember if your hiking to the grove in the wintertime you’ll need to hike an extra 2 miles one way up the unplowed road to the grove.  Snowshoes are recommended in the winter.  For information on Yosemite National Park weather, click here

Necessary Permits

Day Hike Permits

You do not need a permit to Day Hike in Yosemite National Park.

Backpacking Permits

You will need to secure a permit to backpack in Yosemite National Park.  Permits are reservable 6 months in advance to the date you wish to start hiking.  You can also try and secure a permit the day before your trek in person at any wilderness permit center before 11 am.  For more information on Yosemite’s permit system, click here.

Getting to the Mariposa Grove Trailhead

From the town of Oakhurst on Highway 41 getting to the Mariposa Grove is pretty simple.  Head North on Highway 41 toward Yosemite National Park.  The Grove lies at the southern entrance station of the park.  Once you pass through the park gates the trailhead parking area will be on your right hand side along the roundabout.  You can’t miss it.  There is plenty of parking.

From Yosemite Valley, head out of the park on Northside drive until you hit the junction of Highway 41.  From here you will continue south, through Wawona until you reach the southern entrance of the park.  The Mariposa Grove trailhead and parking area will be on the left hand side of the roundabout.

In the summer time you will park at the trailhead and take a 15 min, free NPS shuttle into the grove.  The shuttle runs every 20 min or so and is super easy to board,  In the winter if you are going to hike Mariposa Grove, you will have to park in the same area and then hike the 2 miles on the unplowed road to get to the grove.  Snowshoes are recommended.

Suggested Packing List

Day Hike Packing List (edit)

  • 3-6 liters of water (more in summer)
  • Salty, calorie-rich snacks
  • lunch
  • backpack
  • trekking poles
  • crampons (in winter)
  • wide-brimmed hat
  • sunscreen, sunglasses
  • cotton t-shirt (spring-fall)
  • non-cotton t-shirt (winter)
  • rain jacket
  • warm non-cotton layer
  • 1st-aid kit

Backpacking Packing List (edit)

  • all items listed for day hikes PLUS
  • multi-day backpack
  • 3-season tent
  • sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • backpacking stove and fuel
  • backpacking meals
  • 3 pairs wool socks
  • extra t-shirts

Please Respect Our National Parks – Leave No Trace

We strongly recommend abiding by all Leave No Trace ethics guidelines and practices so that our national parks and public lands are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations and for the people and animals who call these places home. Simple things like packing out your trash, obeying national park rules, and respecting the peace and quiet of our national park trails is a great start. If you’re going on a backpacking trip, you can read about more about the 7 Leave No Trace Principles.

About WildlandTrekking

Wildland Trekking, a home-grown USA adventure travel company started in 2005, has become one of the world’s leading trekking companies. Learn about the origins, mission and people of Wildland, America’s #1 source for Unforgettable Hiking Vacations!

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