Mariposa County, California

Hiking the Merced Grove

3 Miles Total - 600 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Rob Witt

Giant sequoia grove. Beautiful forest hike. Solitude compared to the crowded Yosemite Valley. 3 mile roundtrip hike with 600' elevation gain.

Merced Grove is technically the smallest and most secluded of the three sequoia groves found in Yosemite National Park, which lends itself to be less crowded offering a peaceful solitude hike. The trailhead is located at the Merced Grove parking lot on Big Oak Flat Road. This trail begins by following an old road, after 0.6 miles (1 km) bear left at the junction to continue heading down and into the sequoia grove. The trail itself is very wide and gradually descends, making it a great hike for families even with children.

Be sure to not only look out for and admire the giant sequoias, but also take in the gorgeous forest scenery. Vibrant green moss covers many of the trees providing great color contrasts with the richly textured bark. The wildlife comes and goes as with any hike, but we saw a large amount of Steller’s Jays, a pretty blue bird with a pointy black mohawk related to the blue jay. Most of the really large sequoias are several thousands of years old.

Once you enter the actual grove there is an iconic cluster of large sequoias right in a row, providing an exceptional photographic opportunity. You can’t miss it. Walk around and be humbled as you stare up at such massive and ancient living organisms. Keep your eye out as there are also very large sequoias in the distance that you can see in between the gaps in the forest.

At the end of this loop, around 1.5 miles (2.4km), you will arrive at an old cabin. The cabin was the summer retreat for park superintendents back in the day, some prime time real estate for sure. Return back the way you came, however be aware the hike out has a gradual uphill climb gaining about 520 feet of elevation, so be sure to have a snack and hydrate if needed. The trailhead does have a restroom and a few picnic tables shaded under the large trees.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Excellent leisurely hike!

I am a real fan of this little excursion. It's a reasonably short adventure, about three miles round trip. You can go as far or as short as you'd like though. It's great because you have a lot of tree shade and the sequoias in the grove are incredible. Definitely plenty of photo opportunities around here. I took my film camera and went to town with it. Yosemite has no shortage of these excellent spots!

Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else in the world. It's even more incredible in the winter when most of the crowds are gone and snow blankets the forest floor.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Groveland, California

Lost Claim

Groveland, California

Crane Flat

Tuolumne Grove Road

Hodgdon Meadow

Groveland, California

Dimond O

Nearby Adventures

Tours

Win a Vacation Getaway to Santa Cruz!

Experience all Santa Cruz County has to offer this season! Enter to win a customized “Let’s Cruz” vacation getaway and choose from an array of activities to enhance your visit. 

Grand prize includes a 2-night stay at a three-bedroom condo at Pajaro Dunes Resort, a $150 “Capitola Dine & Shop Experience” gift certificate in Capitola Village, a Craftbar Experience at Annieglass Studios for four guests, four tickets to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and four tickets to Roaring Camp Railroads.

Customize your “Let’s Cruz” vacation package entry by selecting four activities below to include outdoor adventure, dining, beer and wine tasting, family fun, spa treatments, and relaxation.