It's all about the trees in southern Yosemite. There are other pleasant hikes here, but the Mariposa Grove is the reason people trek the roughly 30 miles (48 km) from Yosemite Valley to this part of the park. It contains more than 300 Giant Sequoias, many of remarkable antiquity. The Grizzly Giant, at an age of 2,700 years, was first casting its shadow at about the same time the ancient Greek and Roman states were founded. It was already hundreds of years old when, among others, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Plato were born.
Southern Yosemite is also home to the Wawona Hotel, a national historic landmark. Dating from 1879, it's a mere 2,500 years younger than the Grizzly Giant. In the Wawona area you'll find the Wawona Valley trail, a pleasant 3.5 mile (5.5 km) loop that circles both the Wawona meadow and the golf course that inexplicably occupies a portion of it. You may also want to visit the Pioneer Yosemite History Center near the Wawona Hotel. It includes various historic buildings, a covered bridge, and a collection of stagecoaches.
The historic Wawona Hotel has 104 guest rooms, half with private baths and most opening onto verandas. It's been entertaining distinguished
guests since its completion in 1879, when Ulysses S. Grant stayed there. It's across the road from Wawona Meadow (and the golf course therein) and seven miles (11 km) from the Mariposa Grove.
There's free bus service from the hotel to the grove in the summer.
Fish Camp, two miles (3.2 km) outside the southern entrance, has a handful of small inns; the not-at-all-small Tenaya Lodge, an all-purpose lodge with spa facilities and a variety of hosted activities; and the Narrow Gauge Inn, which has its own antique logging train.
The sprawling Wawona Campground (100 sites) is just up the road from the Wawona Hotel and Meadow. Summerdale Campground is a mile outside the park, between the south entrance and Fish Camp. Both require reservations and fill up quickly in the summer. Summerdale is closed winters; Wawona is open year-round.
There's a restaurant at the Wawona Hotel and a mini grocery round the corner from it. In Fish Camp, there are two restaurants in the Tenaya Lodge and another at the Narrow Gauge.
Available at Wawona and in Fish Camp.
|Crowd Factor||Scenery Factor||Difficulty|
|Chilnualna Falls||8.4 (13.5)||2,300 (700)|
|Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias||2.2 (3.5)*||1,200 (360)*|
|Wawona Meadow Loop||3.5 (5.6)*||< 50*|
Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias