Hikers and tree huggers, rejoice: Yosemite National Park will feel even bigger and greener this summer, when Mariposa Grove reopens at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 15.
Home to 500 mature giant sequoias, Mariposa Grove had been closed since the summer of 2015 for an extensive restoration, designed to revive ecological processes, protect wildlife, and minimize the impact of car traffic. That meant removing a lot of asphalt and replacing it with natural vegetation, and cultivating the existing wetlands and streams for better irrigation.
As part of the project, the parking area has been consolidated to one lot at the south entrance, where you can catch a shuttle in the grove. Some of the roads have been turned into hiking trails, including a new boardwalk walkway, and there are even new eco-friendly restrooms. You might notice what is now gone: tram tours and gift shops, to minimize hubbub around the majestic trees, which can live more than 3,000 years.
Indeed, the grove has been a treasure for a long time. In 1864, still in the midst of the Civil War, Congress passed legislation to permanently preserve both the grove and Yosemite Valley. When the Grove turned 150 in 2014, the National Park Service announced the restoration project.
To catch one of the first glimpses, take one of the two-hour guided nature walks in Mariposa Grove, happening at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Friday, June 15, through Sunday, June 17. The Grove has also been added to the Yosemite All-Day Tour offered by Tenaya Lodge, which includes Bridalveil Fall, Glacier Point, and Half Dome.