The Tuolumne Grove Trail provides access to the second largest grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park. The trail descends 1.4 miles from the parking lot on Tioga Road along the Old Big Oak Flat Road
. It enters the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias where the Tuolumne Grove Loop Trail
works its way amongst these giant trees. Due to the Rim Fire, which moved through the area in 2013, the trail also offers the opportunity to witness a forest that is recovering from wildfire. Due to its proximity to Yosemite Valley and the short distance, this trail is popular for those wanting to see Giant Sequoias.
This trail descends into the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, and the only way out is to climb back out. Make sure that you have water for the trip, and that you have enough energy to make it back to the parking lot.
The trailhead is located on Tioga Road half a mile from Highway 120 on the left-hand side. There is a large parking lot at the trailhead along with picnic tables and restrooms.
The trail leaves out of the back of the main parking lot past some picnic tables. There are informational signs on the right of the trail that provide insights into the life of the Giant Sequoias and the trail. The trail moves along a concrete trail toward the grove through the forest. The Rim Fire burned through this area in 2013, so you get to observe a forest recovering from wildfire. Because more sunlight reaches the floor of the forest, smaller plants and shrubs are growing back. Dogwoods flourish along the trail in the spring as sunlight reaches them through the open canopy. At roughly a third of a mile, the trail begins to descend toward the grove. Even through the fire burned through the area, the trail is well shaded from the sun.
At roughly .7 miles, the trail cuts back to the left and continues to descend through the burnt forest. If you know what you are looking for, you may be able to see the tops of a couple of the Giant Sequoias off to the right-hand side of the trail. As the trail circles to the right, you pass a sign indicating that you are entering the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. Continuing downhill for another .1 or .2 miles, the first Giant Sequoia sits off to the left side of the trail. Because the root system of a Giant Sequoia is wider (not deeper) in order to absorb more moisture, there are fences that prevent visitors from getting too close to the trees. People running around the bases of the trees compacts the dirt, making it more difficult for the root system to absorb water and nutrients. Do the trees a favor, and stay on the appropriate side of the fence.
Continuing straight ahead, the trail arrives at the Tuolumne Grove Loop Trail
, which is a short loop through the grove that sits on the right side of the trail. Informational signs line the trail providing information about the giant trees, their life cycles, and the impact that they have on the forest. A couple of Giant Sequoias stand tall in the forest on the left side of the trail. The Old Big Oak Flat Road
continues straight ahead toward Hodgdon Meadow. Most people take the Tuolumne Grove Loop Trail
and then return to their car, climbing back up the road that they descended earlier. This trail is an opportunity to see another one of the natural wonders that the National Park protects.
Dogwoods, various types of evergreens, and Giant Sequoias can be found along this trail.