If you are looking for a truly beautiful spot to visit in the winter and one that is a good intro to snowshoeing, then consider the Tuolumne Grove on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park. This grove is much less busy then the more popular Mariposa Grove and because of that, it leads to a more immersive time with these giant trees, especially in the winter. Here is all the information:
- 2.5 miles round trip
- 500 feet of elevation
If you are going in the winter then, of course, make sure you have snowshoes or go with a guide service like YFA that will bring them for you. When you arrive in the parking lot off Highway 120 then you can start you trek down to the grove.
At the trailhead, there is also a bathroom that is open in the winter, even with a lot of snow like the above photo. The trail starts from the parking lot and begins its gradual decline over the next mile to the grove itself. This is easy heading down, but be sure to remember that you will have to go back up with your snowshoes on as well.
The trail itself is pretty but the trees block most of the views, so you will just be slowly heading down the switchbacks until you reach the grove itself.
I was excited to visit this area as it is one of the smaller groves so it often has a lot fewer people at it. When we got to the grove itself we were literally the only people there. I felt like I was in one of those apocalyptic movies where I was walking all around these massive trees in my snowshoes with no one else around, it was surreal.
The two main trees you will see there are the Red Giant and The Tunnel Tree, both of these are a lot of fun to see. The Red Giant was the first that we came to and this tree was gigantic. It is a good way to get an understanding of the size of a Sequoia.
After continuing into the grove itself, you will see the tunnel tree. This tree was originally used to encourage people from San Francisco to come to Yosemite (which seems crazy to think about now). It was pretty surreal to not have to wait in line and to see /photograph this tree like you do in the summer.
When we came around the loop we also saw a Sequoia that had one trunk but a split about a quarter of the way up. This is another one that we went and inspected in our snowshoes. It was a beautiful juxtaposition to see the trees with the clean white snow below them.
After spending some time with this tree, we headed back up the trail and to the parking lot. It does seem like the trail is a lot longer than 1 mile when you are heading up in the snowshoes, but if you are like me then you will have adrenaline from completing such a fun adventure. All in all, this is a great spot for an easy hike to a beautiful grove, check it out next time you are in the park. Let me know if you have been in the comments.