Photo: NPS: Grove (Some rights reserved)
Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove covers 248 acres and contains about 500 mature giant sequoia trees. Some of them are estimated to be as much as 3,000 to 3,500 years old.
Among the highlights of 2018, Yosemite National Park’s Mariposa Grove reopened to the public. Plan your visit!
- A consolidated parking area and information station at South Entrance
- Many of the roads within the grove converted into hiking trails
- Over a half-mile of new accessible trails and boardwalks providing universal access for all visitors to the grove
- Flush toilets replacing vault toilets in the grove
- Removal from the grove of commercial activities such as the gift shop and tram tours
Mariposa Grove is home to about 500 mature giant sequoias, which are among the largest living things on Earth. The grove and Yosemite Valley were protected in 1864 as part of the Yosemite Grant Act, the nation’s first legislation focused on preserving public lands.The National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy donors each provided $20 million to fund the $40 million project. The grove has been closed to the public since July 2015 when restoration activities began.
At a new arrival area, where shuttle buses will drop-off visitors, officials marked the grove reopening with a ribbon cutting and a tribal blessing. Speakers highlighted the grove’s historical significance, the importance of preserving our natural places, and the effectiveness of the National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy partnership to accomplish exceptional work in the park.
Instead of parking amid the grove, a visit today starts at the new Welcome Plaza near the park’s South Entrance, where a cross section of a fallen sequoia that lived for more than 800 years reminds visitors of the ancient place they are about to explore. From the plaza, visitors will take a free two-mile shuttle bus ride to the Grove Arrival Area where habitat grows in what was once parking areas for vehicles, tour buses, trams and employees. The grove’s trails are now made of natural surfaces instead of pavement, and wooden boardwalks hover over sensitive wetland to protect habitat and sequoia roots. Rattlesnake Creek is flowing again after culverts blocking waterflows were replaced by one of the elevated boardwalks. Another new trail invites people of all abilities to experience the famous Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree.
The Mariposa Grove closed in spring 2015 for a large-scale restoration project that was formalized through the Mariposa Grove Restoration Project Final Environmental Impact Statement. The two primary goals of this project were to improve giant sequoia habitat and improve visitor experience. This included addressing the declining conditions of the grove and nearby South Entrance that were adversely affecting the ecological health of the sequoias (e.g., roads, trails and other buildings encroaching on roots of the ancient trees, hydrology issues). The Mariposa Grove reopened on June 15, 2018.