Julie Elstner · Oakhurst CA · June 27, 2017
Although the final dirt road to Shadow of the Giants is pitted, dusty and slow, it is worth going. As a local it's a place where I find peace and quiet, and I enjoy the very easy mile trail. The Giants, of course, are awe-inspiring but the whole park is worthy of photos. Linger around the creek and its happy gurgling. The park usually isn't crowded, and sometimes you have it all to yourself. 5-STARS!
Shadow of the Giants 1 mi loop
Abigail McGee · Arkansas · August 5, 2016
Staying at the Tenaya Lodge, this trail is only 30 minutes away.
It was super beautiful, but a total change in scenery from the Yosemite mountains.
It features a lot of Sequoia trees and the posts beside them are really informative. We came across some cattle too, so that was really neat.
It is a great place to come to if you are looking for some shade, a light hike, and a full forest trail.
Excellent, peaceful adventure.
Andrea · Coarsegold, Ca · July 10, 2016
This was our 1st time hiking Nelder Grove and it was wonderful. The drive up on Sky Ranch Rd was fine, with the occasional rut in the road after the pavement ends. We have a Toyota Matrix and we drove in all the way.
We did the Bull Buck trail, this is a spectacular old Sequoia, the Shadow of the Giants, and the Chimney Tree Trail. All of these trails were easily doable by novice hikers like us. We will be going back soon to do the Graveyard of the Giants Trail. We live fairly close to Yosemite but didn't want to deal with the crowds during the summer so we opted for Nelder Grove and are very glad we did.
One previous reviewer stated that there were no picnic tables to eat on, how 'bout a tree stump or downed tree.
Contrast of an aged old Sequoia grove with Clive Bundy culture
Randy Ambrose · San Jose · October 6, 2015
Truly a beautiful Sequoia grove off the beaten path that I've visited a dozen times. Despite its beauty you will get occasional reminders that the very national forest you are in is not sufficient protection for this beautiful grove. 1/3 of my visits I hear nearby target shooters. On another visit I saw quad runner tracks on trails not intended for motorized vehicles. Yes, this can be a beautiful grove, but at the same time there are many who visit this forest who are happy to treat it as their personal target range. Oh, and don't get me started on the cow manure in the middle of the grove. Our giant sequoias deserve better.
Quiet and Beautiful Place
Carrie Payne · Oakhurst, CA · September 4, 2015
My boyfriend and I love to visit Nelder Grove! We've been there now I think during every season. I drive an all wheel drive Subaru Outback and just take the washboard dirt road slowly.
We are in our 60's now and this hike is really just a walk on a peaceful trail surrounded by incredible, majestic sequoias. We have only hiked the Shadow of the Giants trail, but will soon explore the other trails that were mentioned in a previous post!
Our favorite thing about this hike is that it is closer to Oakhurst compared to Yosemite and always few or no people are ever there! We feel as if it's our own private forest paradise :)
It's also dog friendly so our entire family can be together during these glorious times at Nelder Grove.
A nice nature hike
Allison · Massachusetts · July 22, 2015
Since Mariposa Grove is closed we first went to Tuolumne Grove. Tuolumne was crowded with a mile paved downhill trail just to get to the grove, where trees were mostly behind fences. At Nelder grove the trees are just as impressive and you can walk right up to them. The trail is very easy, well-marked and mostly flat with little information signs along the way. Getting here was easier than I expected, as the turnoff for Sky Ranch road was well marked (maybe the signage improves when Mariposa Grove closed). There were several other cars at the dirt lot but we didn't see anyone else on the trail. This was a trip highlight. A nice way to see some old large trees without having to deal with crowds. I am so glad this place was listed on this site or I would never have known about it.
Easy and Beautiful
Patricia Martin · Oakhurst, CA · May 25, 2015
Doesn't look like much when one starts on the trail....but oh boy, just yards in and the sequoias are bigger and bigger till one comes across the giants. Easy stroll. Just minutes from Oakhurst.
What did I miss?
Kay · Washington · April 18, 2015
I don't get what the excitement is all about. It's trees. Sure, they're tall but there are tall trees in Washington and these are just comparable, not exceptional. While I saw two or three that I would grant the adjective "giant" to, the biggest trees have been cut down or lying dead on the forest floor. I considered it a waste of time, fuel, and personal energy to walk through this forest of mostly ordinary trees.
Me · Coarsegold · April 4, 2015
I first want to mention the drive to Nelder Grove. I was a little nervous about it, because I had read and been warned that the drive is rough. What a joke. My driveway is worse. Sure, there are a few deep ruts, but if you're actually looking at the road, you can steer around them. It wasn't bad at all.
On to the actual hike. This was more of a walk, and less of a hike, but it got us out and exploring. BEAUTIFUL. I went with my sister, her 2 year old, and my 3 and 6 year olds. We did Shadow of the Giants, Bull Buck Tree Loop Trail, Big Ed, and some general exploring. It was incredible, and I plan to go back soon, so I can visit the other trails.
Nelder Grove 3/7/15
Matt Ruggles · Fresno, CA · March 7, 2015
My girlfriend and I made the short drive to Nelder Grove today and we were so happy we did. It was a beautiful day and even at 56 years old we were amazed at how easy the hike was.
You have to go!
Awesome easy short hike
Robert · Fresno · February 1, 2015
Shadow of the giants is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. The giants trees here are not the biggest around but the unique landscape and mixture of old giant stumps, burnt and fallen trees make this place magical. The drive was easier than I thought and the hike was simple with a smooth path.
Kris R. · Mariposa · September 13, 2014
The hike had beautiful, giant Sequoias. It was a short, shaded, lush hike that we really enjoyed. The trail was easy to find and we had it to ourselves. My only disappointment was that there were no picnic tables or benches on the trail so we ate our packed lunch in the car after the hike. It would be a great trail for young kids.
Drive there in a SUV
Roger · San Francisco · May 12, 2014
So we didn't actually make it to Shadow of the Giants. Getting there was a little confusing, but the real problem is that the dirt road to Nelder Grove off of Road 632 was rough and rutted -- too much to risk driving our Volvo S60 down for 2 miles. We saw another couple turning back at the same time. Go there with a local or bring your Range Rover.
Rick · Fresno, California · September 12, 2012
This is a really nice place to hike if you want to avoid crowds and see some great forest. The big trees can almost be hidden among the dense cedars and pine but are spectacular. I have made several trips to this area and almost never run into others on the trails. Off one of the trails is a great waterfall cascading down a rock face from about 80 feet above. If you are willing to drive a short ways on some dirt roads, this place is a great visit.
The most incredible living things I've ever seen
Marilyn Tyler · Burlington, North Carolina · August 19, 2012
My friend and I visited the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite on our first day in the area, but when we returned to our B & B, the owner suggested we try Nelder Grove for a quieter, more intimate experience with the trees. The next morning we had a very hard time finding this place, but when we started on the short trail, we soon discovered the difference: There was only one other couple there, and they soon left! That meant that my friend and I had this magnificent, magical, deeply spiritual place to ourselves for the rest of the morning. It was amazing. We could embrace the trees, sit on their shoulders, breathe them in. I will never, ever forget it.
Off the beaten path gem
Juliette · Brooklyn, NY · May 2, 2012
My husband and I were delighted to find this post. The directions were very clear and accurate. The giant sequoias were magnificent, and we were the only people in sight! We also visited mariposa grove the day before and both preferred nelder. FYI there was mud on the path so we parked about 1/4 a mile down from the trail head and walked the rest of the way.
nelder grove surprise
Kevin · Merced, CA · September 29, 2011
Very happy with Nelder Grove. No one knows it is there, and it is FREE! Not as big a group of trees as Mariposa, but no crowds and a nice get away.
Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias, okay hike
Dixie · Texas · July 20, 2011
If you haven't seen the Mariposa Grove at Yosemite and especially if you haven't visited Sequoia National Park, the trees here are big. It's a nice little mile hike with a little up and down over the distance and a few interpretive signs. Peaceful. One vehicle left as we were getting started and one more came in as we were ending. It's a good distance from the main road, so it is secluded. The dirt road is not in great shape, and you might regret trying it in a car. If you want a place to go be mostly alone and walk on a nice trail and enjoy an afternoon or a picnic, it's a wonderful place. Take mosquito repellent. To go out of your way to see it isn't really worth it. Mariposa at Yosemite is much better, though it can get a little crowded.
Welcome to the 405
Kelly Johnson · Sanger, California · July 18, 2011
Having spent summers in the nelder grove area in my youth (70's) I was quite shocked to see that the general public has now discovered the area and is turning it into a new Disneyland. Several large vans were parked along the road, and there were instances along the the trail that showed that people were ruining the area, bark being rubbed off a young sequoia, off trail hiking causing wear to topsoil to much traffic around the bases of mature trees, which will cause severe damage to the root infrastructure. The beauty of the srea is still there, but dodging mountain bikers along the trail while trying to take in the natural beauty is getting difficult. Quite a bit different from what I remember, when you could spend all day there and never encounter a single person.