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.

Pack List

  • Day Pack
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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RT Distance 3 Miles
Elevation Gain 600 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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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.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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