Giant Sequoia Hikes

A guide to old-growth sequoia trails of the Sierra Nevada

Questions? Comments? Please contact Dave Baselt at db@redwoodhikes.com
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Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

Mariposa Grove in Yosemite Natonal Park

This site covers most old-growth giant sequoia groves with publicly-accessible trails. Some nearby non-sequoia hikes are also covered.

Sequoias are found in 67 small groves, about 40 of which are in old growth condition; the largest grove is about six square miles. The groves occur in sheltered folds and shallow basins about halfway up the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, mostly in and around Sequoia National Park.

The sequoias’ strikingly massive, stout trunks are an arresting sight, often elegantly fluted and with an appealing light tan or salmon color that seems to glow against the dark foliage and grey trunks of the other trees around it. The canopy is usually open enough that the exceptional height of the trees can be fully appreciated. But the big trees are are widely scattered, usually growing as individuals or in small groups, so the forest as a whole tends to look rather mundane — like an ordinary Sierra pine forest studded with the occasional huge tree.

Grant Grove, Kings Canyon National Park

Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park

Walking among sequoias feels much different than coast redwoods. Redwoods envelop you with a welcoming, orderly garden-like appearance, lush green walls of redwood foliage, and redwood-needle-covered paths. Giant sequoia forests are less attractive overall, but there’s a thrill at encountering the massive trees that you don’t get in the redwood forest. Overall, it’s hard to choose a favorite.

The higher-elevation groves are usually the most scenic, since they tend to be more open. These groves often have a stark, otherworldly appearance, with little or no groundcover. Lower-elevation groves are more densely wooded and lush, so the understory tends to block the views.

Depite being in the Sierra Nevada, the groves don’t actually look that mountainous. You have to go to the high country to get real mountain scenery. But the groves do get a lot of snow, so the trails can only be hiked between June and October, and June and July can sometimes be extremely buggy.

List of giant sequoia trails

Key to table colors

Park names
 Old growth sequoia hikes 
Other hikes

 

Overall Rating Distance, miles Climbing, feet Trail name
Placer County Grove (Tahoe National Forest)
0.8 140 Big Trees Trail
★★ Calaveras Big Trees State Park
★★ 1.6 70 North Calaveras Grove
★★ 5.4 610 South Calaveras Grove
Yosemite National Park
★★★★★ Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest
★★ 2.6 500 Merced Grove
2.6 520 Tuolumne Grove
★★★★ 6.0 1250 Mariposa Grove
1.2 200 Nelder Grove
Sierra National Forest
★★★ 0.3 30 McKinley Grove
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
★★★ Grant Grove area (Kings Canyon National Park)
★★★ 10.0 2200 Redwood Mountain Grove
★★★ 0.4 50 Grant Grove
★★★ 3.8 980 Evans Grove
1.9 390 North Grove
1.7 240 Bearskin Grove
1.2 140 Lockwood Grove
2.3 140 Little Boulder Creek Grove
★★★ Kings Canyon (Kings Canyon National Park)
★★★★ 1.5 90 Zumwalt Meadow
★★★ 11.7 1530 Mist Falls and Paradise Valley
★★★ 15.7 5220 Copper Creek Trail
★★ 11.7 3440 Lewis Creek Trail
★★ 7.2 1910 Hotel Creek Loop
10.6 3760 Don Cecil Trail
★★★★ Giant Forest area (Sequoia National Park)
★★★★ 9.6 1380 Wolverton Cutoff Loop
★★★★ 1.9 150 Round Meadow
★★★★ 4.2 530 Muir Grove
★★★★ 2.9 470 Congress Trail
★★★ 14.9 2580 Sevenmile Loop
★★★ 7.3 1360 Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow
★★ 0.3 110 Lost Grove
★★★★★ 22.6 3300 Bearpaw Meadow High Sierra Camp
★★★★ 13.7 3920 Alta Peak
★★★ 12.0 3000 Pear Lake
★★★ 4.1 530 Tokopah Falls Trail
★★ 14.1 2800 Twin Lakes
★★ 9.6 2260 Middle Fork Trail
Other groves
★★★ 4.8 1270 Atwell Grove
★★ 7.8 1370 East Fork Grove
★★ 13.0 3850 Garfield Grove
6.0 1420 Ladybug Trail
Giant Sequoia National Monument
★★ Mountain Home area (Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest)
★★ 2.3 530 Bogus Meadow
★★ Camp Nelson area (Giant Sequoia National Monument)
★★★★ 5.5 2220 Bear Creek Trail
★★ 7.7 1780 Nelson Trail
★★ 7.4 1390 Freeman Creek Grove
★★ 19.3 1600 Black Mountain Grove
5.1 820 Red Hill Grove
1.0 150 Stagg Tree (Alder Creek Grove)
Other groves
★★★ 1.4 120 Trail of 100 Giants
1.5 690 Deer Creek Grove

Map of sequoia groves that can be reached by trail

Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park

Mariposa Grove in Yosemite Natonal Park

Visitor count and climate of Sequoia National Park

Park visitor count is from the National Park Service
Climate data is from the Western Regional Climate Center

The Sugar Bowl Trail, Redwood Mountain grove, Sequoia National Park

The Sugar Bowl Trail, Redwood Mountain Grove, Sequoia National Park


 

© 2012, 2014 David Baselt