Giant trees and large crowds
By Austin Explorer on 10/11/2018
Distance: 2.67 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Mariposa Grove is one of the most popular trails in the park. Coppertone and I got there early enough to walk the paths in relative solitude, one of the benefits from staying in nearby Fish Camp. But it was not too long before busload after busload of visitors arrived to fill up the paths. A large group of schoolkids pierced the earlier quietness with shreeks and hollars.
The Sequoia grove has undergone an extensive transformation recently with car choked roads of cars replaced with boardwalk trails and lots of informational signage. We never visited the area prior to the transformation, but we're convinced that things must have been improved dramatically.
We overheard the radio of park employee yesterday that reported a bear sighting at the grove, but we saw no sign of it today.
We kept our hike short here both due to threatening rain that never fell, but also due to tired legs from our hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls yesterday. We did the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail which provided us views of several of the important named trees in the grove included the California Tunnel Tree and the imposing Grizzly Giant.
The start of the trail from the trailhead is a boardwalk path (almost certainly ADA compliant) studded with information signage. Once the trail gets to the Fallen Monarch conditions get slightly more difficult with a bit of elevation gain, but nothing in this loop would be considered challenging.By the time the trail gets to some of the other named trees the path is well worn compacted dirt.
After the California Tunnel Tree the trail becomes far less regimented. Up to that point the trail is boardwalk with railings or a well marked path with barriers on either side keeping people on the trail. The rest of the loop is easy to follow, but the "guard rails" are all gone. Thankfully people staid on the trail anyway, but the lack of barriers does mean you get a bit closer to the Sequoias than in earlier segments.