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.
- Day Pack