For many, a trip to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is akin to being in a spiritual cathedral. It is impossible not to be awed by these giants that have stood through the rise and fall of human civilizations and serve as visible reminders of our relatively fleeting presence. While the sequoias spent thousands of years undisturbed, the 150 years of human development following the 1864 Yosemite Grant Act, which protected the Grove and Yosemite Valley, took its toll on the towering trees’ fragile ecosystem.

The restoration of Mariposa Grove is an ambitious, multiyear effort, funded in partnership between Yosemite Conservancy and the National Park Service to preserve these majestic trees by balancing visitor needs with ecological protection. On June 30, 2014, the sesquicentennial of the Yosemite Grant Act, the park broke ground on the project; in July 2015, the Grove closed for a temporary two-year period to facilitate the major restoration work.

In 2015, restoration crews:

  • Removed asphalt from paved areas to restore hydrology and habitat for giant sequoias and other plant and animal species.
  • Completed a new accessible trail linking the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree, enabling visitors of all abilities to see those iconic sequoias up close.
  • Began creating an accessible trail with raised boardwalk sections that will protect sensitive wetlands and allow people to explore the lower part of the Grove without inadvertently trampling the sequoias’ shallow root systems.
  • With help from Youth in Yosemite participants, removed social paths, collected plants for future ecological restoration and built stone walls to delineate trails.

When the Grove reopens, in 2017, you’ll find a new welcome hub at the park’s South Entrance, from which you can take a shuttle or hike to the trees. In what was once a parking area, reestablished sequoia habitat, pedestrian trails and interpretive signs will usher you into the lower part of the Grove.  As you wander among the ancient trees, you’ll be immersed in a complex, restored ecosystem woven with trails, boardwalks and drainage features that protect the Grove’s plant and animal inhabitants, preserve natural water flow, and ensure that this special place continues to inspire people for centuries to come.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park.

Sue Beatty

Restoration Ecologist

Project Notes

This project was a dream come true. The Mariposa Grove was needing some tender loving care for many years. I can already see the transformation occurring as we pull out asphalt and infrastructure from the roots of the trees. The grove will be returned to a reverential experience for many people.