John Muir reflected that giant sequoia groves are “not like places, they are like haunts.” He captured well the challenge of defining a sequoia grove. They are places in the sense they can be put on a map and characterized by area, number of trees, and sizes of trees. Describing the feeling and experience of being in a grove is harder. Consider exploring a giant sequoia grove for yourself. A few possibilities are highlighted below.
What is a Sequoia Grove?
Giant sequoia groves are portions of Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forest that contain giant sequoias. In most groves, giant sequoias are fewer in number than other tree species, but are the most visually striking and dominant in size. Giant sequoias grow only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California, between 4,000 and 8,000 feet (1219 and 2438 m) in elevation. Within park boundaries, park staff distinguish approximately 40 different giant sequoia groves, ranging from one to tens of thousands of sequoia trees per grove. Numerous groves can be reached by road, while others are remote and involve an arduous hike to visit. In all the groves – from heavily visited to remote – these immense, majestic trees and sunlight filtered through lofty branches bring a sense of peace and wonder.