Merced Grove Trail Map

Hike Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip
Trailhead Elevation:  6,000 feet (1,800 meters)
Total Elevation Change:  600 feet/180 meters (downhill to grove, uphill on return)

The stretch leading to the fork in the trail is mostly level. After the fork (turn left), you'll descend steadily to the grove. The trail keeps going for miles and miles after the grove, and there's no sign to tell you that you've reached the end of the grove, but if you find a big uprooted tree that's taken a massive divot out of the trail, you'll know you've passed beyond it. The absence of giant sequoias is another reliable indicator.

The trailhead is just a few miles west of Crane Flat, where the Tioga Pass Road begins. (You can see the Tioga Road near the right edge of this map.)

There'll be a stream off to your left as you wind your way through the grove. It seems unlikely that it carved out the canyon it's passing through, but then again it's not impossible for small bodies to do big work, as anyone with termites in their basement can tell you. The stream has inspired an interesting variety of wildflowers to grow here, from tiny, ground-dwelling bride's bonnet to the large & eye-catching flowers of the Western Azalea, which looks like it should be growing in a Hawaiian rain forest rather than the High Sierra.