Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir & Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite National Park, California

We explored two very distinct areas today – the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Tuolumne Grove. The Hetch Hetchy area is in the northwest boundary of the park, you take Evergreen Road to get there. The drive to the reservoir goes through national forest, some private land, and finally into the park. The terrain of the area along the road to the reservoir is every different than other drives in the park – it is much more jagged and hilly, less granite, with Black Oak trees, rather than the pines we’ve seen on most other roads. The road ends at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, where you can take a number of short hikes. There is no swimming or boating in the reservoir, as it is the water source for San Francisco and the surrounding area. Although this was a nice drive, and in the spring and summer there are a couple waterfalls into the reservoir, if you’re short on time while visiting Yosemite, then this would not be the place to spend some of that time.

Since we decided not to take any of the hikes at Hetch Hetchy (we were on the prowl for fall foliage), we took a short, one-mile each way hike to Tuolumne Grove to see the Giant Sequoias. There are three places to see the largest living organism (by volume) in Yosemite – Tuolumne Grove and Merced Grove, both quickly and easily accessed on the west side of the park, and Mariposa Grove, on the south side of the park. Since we were getting tired of so much driving, we stopped at Tuolumne Grove, where the trailhead is located at Tioga Road. This “hike” (rather a walk) was 1 mile down (400’ decline) on an old road that is slowly being taken back by the forest. Once you reach the grove, there is a short nature tail with a lot of interesting information about the Giant Sequoia. There were only about 20 sequoias in this grove, but you certainly got a perspective of their enormity. There was also a lot of the fall foliage we were seeking, so this was a nice stroll. We would recommend this hike, but be forewarned – that 1 mile downhill walk is a 1 mile uphill walk back to the car!

Ready for Yosemite photos? The photo site is updated ~ enjoy!!


Karen said...

I'm so jealous! I want to be there!

If you aren't ready to leave yet, you might try the drive over Tioga Pass (through Tuolumne Meadows -- my special place) and down to Mono Lakes. Really weird Tufa formations grow out of mineral springs in the lake. Zillions of birds. Its also near Mono Craters which are large mountains of obsidian.


Suzanne and Brad said...


I wish we had more time, we we need to keep moving south, but we WILL be back to see all the places we didn't get to this time around - perhaps in the Spring when the waterfalls are running.

This is an amazing national park!!

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