Yosemite – Fall 2017 #3
Merced Grove is a very small sequoia grove near Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat entrance. It’s near the Tuolumne Grove but isn’t as popular.
An interpretive sign at the trailhead is seemingly intended to reduce visitors’ expectations, saying that the grove is Yosemite’s smallest and that it has “about 20 trees”. However, although it covers less area, Merced Grove actually has more sequoias than the nearby Tuolumne Grove. What’s more, Merced’s trees appear bigger and more varied, and its more open understory doesn’t obscure the trees. Adding to the grove’s advantages, the trail is dirt instead of paved, making the hike more enjoyable, and it doesn’t get nearly as many visitors. Finally, although the trailhead sign says to expect a 3- to 4-hour hike, it should be possible to hike to the grove and back in about half that time.
The road to the grove used to be a stagecoach route to Yosemite, and the sequoias were a major selling point of the route.