Hiking Along Old Big Oak Flat Rd

Hiking from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove

The Old Big Oak Flat Road trail from Hodgdon Meadow is Yosemite’s closest trailhead to the town of Groveland. Which makes sense because the old road did literally connect from Groveland to the park until it was bought by the state of California in the 1940‘s and then upgraded to become Hwy 120. I have read a few different accounts of history buffs hiking along the old road path, but here the road is an officially sanctioned trail following a paved one land road. It is not the quickest way to get to the Tuolumne Grove but  I had some boots I needed to break in, meaning I had a great excuse to explore this lesser used trail.

Hiking from Hodgon Meadow to Tuolume Grove, Yosemite

Left to right: Hodgon Meadow (actual meadow, not the campground), trail sign reassuring you you have not wandered onto private property, and a Tuolumne Grove Sequoias.

Hiking from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove

Trailhead: follow the signs pointing toward the Hodgdon Meadow Campground near the Big Oak Flat park entrance station. Outside the camp is a gravel parking area, park here because non-authorized vehicles are not allowed beyond this point. Then start walking up the road, creeping past some employee housing, and finally a sign will point to the “trail” …Map 
Distance: About 9 miles round trip? Maybe longer depending on how many times you circle the “Grove loop” trail

Starting the trail here is little odd – similar to the trails out of Foresta – because the roads here are marked as trails on the map. Follow the Tuolumne Grove Road and trust that you are supposed to walking past employee housing. Before long you will see the remnants of a management fire, pass over Green and Crane Creeks (flowing through culvert-ed crossings, which is very strange for Yosemite), and then walk into areas torched by the Rim fire.

The Old Big Oak Flat Rd After the Rim Fire

The Old Big oak flat road here was open to one way traffic up until the early 1990’s. Crazy to think of people driving past the grove not that long ago.

Walking along the road it is easy to keep track of the trail, and unlike hiking in other Rim Fire area you are not constantly slugging though ash and dusty trails. Supposedly there was a trail heading up towards Aspen meadow – which I think is a lost cause right now. I could maybe imagine where it should have left the road, but that was a guess. I imagine i twas never a popular trail anyhow, but just as a warning to any obscure trail fiends… be prepared with a map!

After a long steady uphill walk through various degrees of burned forest the Tuolumne Grove looks like a nicely managed burn. I heard that the park back-burned the area in anticipation of the Rim Fire moving in, trying to manage the area so it would not burn to hot and take down these beautiful trees. It looks like they succeeded to me.

Tuolumne Grove of Sequoias, Yosemite

After hundreds of years of life this fallen Sequoia now gracefully allows moss to grown where it once did.

I had only been down here once, from the shorter Tioga Rd trialhead in the winter, and it was nice to come visit again. Through the grove you will find a few big trees sprinkled among the younger sequoias and dogwoods, like thousand year old watchdogs. Always worth the hike, weather you head in from Hodgon Meadow or from the traditional Tuolumne Grove trailhead

More photos in the Gallery below: