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A Guide to the Giant Sequoias of Yosemite National Park (1949) by James W. McFarland


THE THREE GIANT SEQUOIAS GROVES

(See map facing Table of Contents)

The Tuolumne Grove is located near Crane Flat on the Big Oak Flat Road, the northwest entrance to Yosemite National Park. A small grove of about 25 large specimens, covering some 20 acres, it includes the Dead Giant which is 29 1/2 feet in diameter at the base. In 1878 a tunnel was cut through the Dead Giant so that a road then in use passed through it. Although trees of the Tuolumne Grove were perhaps first seen by members of the Joseph Walker Expedition in 1833, it was effectively discovered May 10, 1858, by a party from Garrote, California, Dr. J. L. Cogswell and eight friends. They named the snag, now known as the Dead Giant, “King Solomon’s Temple.”

Located four miles south of the Tuolumne Grove, the Merced Grove is the least accessible of the three groves of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. It consists of approximately 20 large trees. It can be reached from the Crane Flat Ranger Station.

Largest of the three and perhaps the most famous of all is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. It consists of no less than 200 trees 10 feet or more in diameter and thousands of younger trees. It is located in the southwest corner of the park, 35 miles by highway from

The Twins: Two symmetrical trees about 250-280 feet high in the Tuolumne Grove.
The Twins: Two symmetrical trees
about 250-280 feet high in the Tuolumne
Grove.
Yosemite Valley. There one may see the Grizzly Giant, nearly 100 feet around and estimated to be 3,800 years old; drive through the Wawona (“tunnel”) Tree; walk along the trunk of the fallen Massachusetts Tree; lunch on the outdoor terrace at Big Trees Lodge; visit the Mariposa Grove Museum; and enjoy the inspiring view from Wawona Point.2 [2 See pages 70-88 for self-guiding auto tour and detailed description of Mariposa Grove.]

Since human history in the groves of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park has been coincident with so much of American history, many of the individual trees have historical names. Others have names that are descriptive of the tree’s characteristics, as the Corridor Tree and the Telescope Tree. Many bear the names of famous men, cities and states of our country. At one time conspicuous signs were posted, naming each large tree. This was found to be a mistake in view of the incorrigible souvenir collecting instinct of many visitors. Now most of the signs have been removed, thus preserving their natural beauty and discouraging mutilation of the trees by souvenir hunters. Perhaps the most satisfactory souvenir which can be taken with you is a photograph which you, yourself, have taken of these natural wonders.



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