7.5 miles, Half day
No trip to Wawona is complete without spending a day exploring the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. This protected grove of trees is home to over 300 giant sequoias, some almost 2,000 years old! This walking tour will start at the base and take you all over the grove showing you the most popular trees in the area while giving you a lesson on the history of the area, made famous by Galen Clark, as well as sharing some facts about the life cycle of sequoia trees. Let’s get started!
You have 2 options to get to Mariposa Grove: to drive in or take the shuttle in. While driving in may seem more convenient, be aware that the parking lot is usually completely full by as early as 10am.
If you are leaving later than 10am or don’t want to drive in, consider taking the free Yosemite Shuttle. The shuttle stops in 2 spots: a the gas station next to the Wawona Lodge (every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour), or near the Southwest entrance to Yosemite National Park (but be aware that if the bus is full by the time it gets here you will not be able to get on).
The ride is about 20 minutes from Wawona, or about 5-10 from the second stop depending on traffic and seasonal road construction.
Taking the Tram
The best way to see the Mariposa Grove is on foot, but the trails up can be a little steep for some people’s taste. Instead consider taking the open-air tram up to the top of the grove and hike/walk back down while stopping at all of the major trees along the way.
Tickets are $25 for adults and come with an audio guide, or half price for children 12 and under. The tram is of the hop-on, hop-off style with a stop at the museum about half way up the grove. The Tram stops for 10 minutes here allowing you to walk inside or use the restroom, but feel free to stay longer because another tram will arrive 30 minutes later and you will be able to catch that one instead.
If you choose to forego the tram and walk instead you can make your hike as long or short as you want. You should at least make it as far as the Grizzly Giant and the California Tree, and can extend the trip up to the Museum, Telescope Tree, Wawona Tunnel Tree, and even the Wawona vista point if you wish. On your hike back take an alternate route to see the Clothespin tree and the faithful couple.
The outer loop is about 8 miles total, but you can see all of the major sights in just about 7 miles round trip. Let’s get started!