The 20-acre Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, the second largest of Yosemite’s three sequoia groves, is a popular year-round destination for park visitors. Every year, 80,000 people visit the grove to marvel at the majestic trees and enjoy a tranquil hiking experience just north of Tioga Road.
After years of heavy vehicle and foot traffic near the entrance to the grove, conditions at the trailhead deteriorated. Visitors faced a confusing parking and trail system, uninviting picnic and restroom facilities, and limited wayfinding and interpretive information to guide their journey into the grove.
Over the course of several years, Conservancy donors funded multiple projects to improve conditions at Tuolumne Grove, with the goal of improving the visitor experience while reducing impacts on the sequoias and surrounding habitat. In 2005, 2011 and 2012, donors helped fund new educational exhibits at the trailhead and within the grove, including a massive model cross-section of a sequoia trunk near the start of the trail that traces a tree’s life through millennia of human history.
In 2013 and 2014, additional support from Conservancy donors helped transform the entrance to the grove through a project completed in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration. That project resulted in numerous notable improvements throughout the trailhead area: a redesigned parking area improves traffic flow and enhances safety; an accessible picnic area, upgraded restroom facilities and new way-finding signs create a more welcoming experience for all visitors; and habitat restoration work has helped previously trampled areas return to healthy forested conditions.