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Hike Mariposa Grove Trail Yosemite

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Hike Guide

In This Guide
  • Turn-by-Turn Mariposa Grove Hike Directions & Video
  • Parking, Maps, and Planing Information
  • Tips on What to Expect on the Mariposa Grove Trail
Total Distance7 miles (11.3 km)
Hike Time4 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,590 feet (485m)
Highest Elevation6,810 feet (2076m)
Fees & PermitsPark Entry Fee
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Yosemite National Park
Park Phone209-372-0200

Nestled in the southern, less-visited part of Yosemite National Park, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias hike takes you on a tour through a grove of 500 mature Giant Sequoia trees, including some that are 2,000 years old. The Mariposa Grove was first protected by Abraham Lincoln in 1864, added as a National Park in 1906, and in 2019 reopened after an extensive restoration. The 7 mile Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Trail hits all of the major attractions in the grove. It’s got a little bit of uphill, but in general, is pretty easy and offers great scenery for the effort.

Where is the Mariposa Grove Trail?

Overall Map Mariposa Grove
The Mariposa Grove is in the southern part of Yosemite National Park, along Rt-41, about an hour’s drive from the Yosemite Valley.

Okay, so parking and getting to the trailhead can be tricky, so please read this section carefully.

Use this trailhead address:
Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza, Wawona Road, Yosemite National Park, 95389, CA

Mariposa Grove Trail 6
Here’s the parking lot at the trailhead. I’m here at sunrise, the only car in the lot on a weekend in July. This is the best time to visit.
Mariposa Grove Trail 3
If you take the shuttle from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center, it will drop you off here at the trailhead.
Mariposa Grove Trail 2
There are bathrooms at the trailhead.
Mariposa Grove Trail 5
There are water refill stations at the trailhead and at the bathrooms.

Gear for the Hike

I recommend light hiking gear for this hike. Having a backpack and at least 1L of water will make the hike enjoyable. The trail surface is good but can get muddy, so trail runners or hiking shoes are a good move. You can also do this in fitness clothing if you don’t have hiking gear. It’s a longer hike, so take some snacks. The vita at Wawona Point is a great place for a picnic.

La Sportiva Spire

The La Sportiva Spire boots feel like comfortable sneakers but offer the protection of hiking boots. They’re great on everything from short hikes to longer hikes of 10+ miles. You don’t want to skimp on your feet.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Opsrey Stratos Blue

I test a lot of gear, and for short to medium day hikes, travel, and everyday use, the Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) are consistently the best. They’re lightweight, hold a hydration bladder to make drinking water easy, have lots of pockets to organize gear, and most importantly, are incredibly comfortable. Check out the reviews; they are impressive.
Reviews & Colors Here: Osprey Stratos (men) and Osprey Sirrus (women) 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2020.

My September 2020 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Mariposa Grove Trail Maps

This hiking guide follows the route of the Mariposa Grove Trail, the longest hike in the grove. The trail has a fair amount of twists and turns, so saving this guide on your phone or printing it out will be helpful. If you have a GPS, I strongly recommend loading my GPX track (below) and bringing it along. It’s good to cross-check your position on the GPS if any part of the trail confuses you.

Click Here To View Map

Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

Your best move to navigate this hike is to take a paper map, compass, and a GPS device. Load the GPX track from this hike onto your GPS to ensure that you’re on the trail. I’m a big fan of GPS watches; I just glance down at it to cross-check my position and use paper when I want a deeper dive. The GPS watch that I’m using now is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (price: REI or Amazon). It’s pricey but has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of other wellness, fitness, and smart-watch applications. For a more affordable option, check out the value-packed Garmin Instinct  (price: REI or Amazon), a similar watch without some of the features. There are also great smartphone GPS apps like GaiaGPS. If you end up getting GaiaGPS premium, I’ve arranged for a 20-40% discount for my readers.

Elevation Profile

Mariposa Grove Trail Elevation
The route has ups in downs, but in general, you’ll be climbing until you reach Wawona Point, and then heading back down. The section between the California Tunnel Tree and the Telescope Tree feels most like an uphill, but compared to the other hikes in Yosemite NP, the climbing here is much easier.

3d Map

Mariposa Grove Trail 3d Map
Overall the Mariposa Grove Trail is a big loop hike that’s pinched in the middle. From this view, you can also see that the climbing is gradual as yo head up to Wawona Point.

Quick Hike Brief

Mariposa Grove Trail 12
Wildlife abounds at the Mariposa Grove but tends to scatter as the crowds come in. Here’s a female mule deer close to the Fallen Monarch tree.

“He is the best mountaineer I ever met, and one of the kindest and most amiable of all my mountain friends.” – John Muir on Galen Clark, First Guardian of the Mariposa Grove

Mariposa Grove Trail Directions

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Video Directions

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

Mariposa Grove Trail 7
Start the hike by walking up the big boardwalk from the trailhead. Here’s what it looks like at sunrise. At 9am it will be jammed with people.
Mariposa Grove Trail 8
After a minute or two you’ll reach the Fallen Monarch, which fell over 300 years ago. Giant Sequoias are very resistant to decay, which is why it still is intact.
Mariposa Grove Trail 9
At the junction, bear right and continue hiking.
Mariposa Grove Trail 10
Keep hiking up the wide path toward Grizzly Giant.
Mariposa Grove Trail 11
Keep going straight up the stairs.
Mariposa Grove Trail 13
When you get to the road, cross it to continue the trail.
Mariposa Grove Trail 14
You’ll pass by the Bachelor and Three Graces.
Mariposa Grove Trail 15
Keep heading up the path toward Grizzly Giant.
Mariposa Grove Trail 16
Bear to the left, past the trail on the right.
Mariposa Grove Trail 17
And in front of you will see Grizzly Giant, the largest and oldest tree in the park. When the Grizzly Giant was a sapling 1800 years ago, the Roman Empire controlled much of Europe and the Mediterranean.
Mariposa Grove Trail 18
Continue past Grizzly Giant and bare to the left.
Mariposa Grove Trail 19
And right after that you’ll arrive at the California Tunnel Tree. This is the only tree still standing that has a tunnel cut into it; this one was cut in 1895. The Giant Sequoia can still live with the tunnels cut into them, although they are weaker. Hike through the tree.
Mariposa Grove Trail 20
Once you leave the California Tunnel Tree, the crowds start to drop away. Continue up the trail.
Mariposa Grove Trail 21
The trail crosses the road.
Mariposa Grove Trail 22
At the junction make the hard left and start the climb to the 5-point intersection.
Mariposa Grove Trail 23
After about 0.8 miles of climbing you’ll arrive at the 5-point junction. Make the first left.
Mariposa Grove Trail 24
As soon as you make the left you’ll see a sign for the Telescope Tree, that’s where we’re headed next.
Mariposa Grove Trail 25
This stretch of trail is peaceful, passing through many unnamed Giant Sequoias and offering nice views into the valley on the right.
Mariposa Grove Trail 26
When you reach this Giant Sequoia right in the middle of the trail, make the left.
Mariposa Grove Trail 27
Right in front of you will be the Telescope Tree, Walk inside and look up; the tree is hollow and you can see the sky. Giant Sequoia trees don’t need an entire trunk to live. This tree is alive but obviously weakened.
Mariposa Grove Trail 28
Just past the Telescope Tree, make the right onto the trail.
Mariposa Grove Trail 29
Soon you’ll see the massive root of the Wawona Tunnel Tree.
Mariposa Grove Trail 30
The Wawona Tunnel Tree, now renamed the Fallen Tunnel Tree, was the first tree in the park with a tunnel carved through it in 1881. At the time carving the tunnels was a novelty and good photo opportunity to attract visitors. In 1969, after 2300 years of life, the tree fell and died during a heavy snow. The event was an eye-opener for the parks system, and from then on their focus started shifting to conservation.
Old Wawona Tunnel
Here’s what the Wawona Tunnel Tree looked like in 1904. Photo Ted Orland
Mariposa Grove Trail 31
Continue straight down the trail from the fallen tree.
Mariposa Grove Trail 32
The trail twists around to the right and you’ll see the road. Continue up the road to Wawona Point.
Mariposa Grove Trail 33
This paved road used to be open to cars. Hike up the small hill to the point.
Mariposa Grove Trail 34
When you get towards the top, you can go either way and check out the viewpoints.
Mariposa Grove Trail 35
Wawona Point is the highest point on the hike at 6,810 feet. From the viewpoints you can see into the Wawona Valley.

After you visit the point, walk back down the road to the last intersection.

Mariposa Grove Trail 36
When you get back to the intersection where you joined the road, continue down the road to the right. Avoid any small side trails you see that say Wawona Valley.
Mariposa Grove Trail 37
Keep heading down the road. You’ll see a marker for the Mariposa Grove Trail.
Mariposa Grove Trail 38
Now is your payback for all the climbing you did earlier. Cruise down the road.
Mariposa Grove Trail 39
When you get to the intersection, make the hard left to head to Galen Clark’s Cabin.
Mariposa Grove Trail 40
After the turn you reach Galen’s Cabin. Today it serves as a museum. The original structure was built in 1858. This structure replaced the old cabin in 1930.
Galen And Cabin
Here’s a picture of Galen at the cabin in 1904. Photo NPS
Mariposa Grove Trail 41
From the front of the cabin head straight.
Mariposa Grove Trail 42
You’ll pass bathrooms, go straight past.
Mariposa Grove Trail 43
Stay left at the junction with the trail to Wawona. If you were staying at the Wawona Hotel, you could take the left to hike directly there.
Mariposa Grove Trail 44
Head back up to the 5-point intersection.
Mariposa Grove Trail 45
And go straight through towards the Clothespin Tree.
Mariposa Grove Trail 46
After a descent you’ll see the Clothespin Tree, where the tunnel is actually created by forest fires, not man. This view is looking back at it (behind you has you hike) which captures it better.
Mariposa Grove Trail 47
You’ll reach the road again, head left down the hill.
Mariposa Grove Trail 48
You’ll see a trail marker that confirms you are on the Mariposa Grove Trail.
Mariposa Grove Trail 49
At the bottom of the hill when you see a wood fence, make the hard right off the road to continue on the trail. This turn is easy to miss.
Mariposa Grove Trail 50
From here on out, you’ll start seeing signs for the shuttle bus arrival area, which is the end of the hike.
Mariposa Grove Trail 51
At the first junction, make the left.
Mariposa Grove Trail 52
And soon after that, make the right at the next junction.
Mariposa Grove Trail 53
Soon you’ll reach the boardwalk area where you started the hike. After the peace of the last section of trail, I’m sure you’ll know that you are arriving at the end because you’ll hear the crowds. Continue hiking down around to the right.
Mariposa Grove Trail 54
And here you are, back at the trailhead. That’s the hike!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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