Hiking the Merced Grove

Yosemite Merced Grove Trailhead

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.

Pack List

  • Day Pack
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

600 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

about 1 year ago

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.

about 1 year ago

Added by Rob Witt

More Adventures Nearby

Rock Climb Penthouse Cracks, Yosemite NP

Yosemite / Yosemite Lodge Parking Area

The Penthouse Cracks in Yosemite Valley are a great introduction to crack climbing, in a safe environment. With fixed protection above the routes, you are able to safely top rope these climbs.

Trevor Cox
7 Saves

Hike Panum Crater Trail

Yosemite / Panum Crater Trail

If you are visiting Mono Lake, the Panum Crater Trail is not to be missed! From 395, take highway 120 east for about 2.5 miles.

Tori Marsh
5 Saves

Hike to McLeod Lake

Yosemite / Mammoth Pass Trailhead

Start your journey at the Mammoth Pass Trailhead at the back of the parking lot for Horseshoe Lake. From the start, the trail ascends steadily through dense pines, and big granite stair steps.

Tori Marsh
11 Saves