Pacific Southwest Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum).
Western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale). Photo by Brother Alfred Brousseau, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.
Mountain lady's slipper (Cypripedium montanum). Photo by Mary Stensvold.
Forest: Sierra National Forest
District: Bass Lake Ranger District
Description: Nelder Grove is located in the north section of the Sierra National Forest, just south of Yosemite National Park. At an elevation of 5600 feet, this gorgeous montane forest is a distinctive experience for those interested in forests and wildflowers in particular. Nelder Grove is composed of beautiful giant sequoia trees, of which there are only scattered populations through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Especially of note is the Bull Buck tree, measuring 246 feet high and a circumference of 99 feet at ground level. Nearby is the Graveyard of the Giants, where a historic fire killed several large sequoias, an unusual occurrence.
Viewing Information: Besides the giant sequoias which dominate the area, the gorgeous and rare mountain-lady slipper orchid (Cypripedium montanum) is present under the canopy of this idyllic forest. Other wildflowers that may be seen include azaleas, bride’s bonnet, fairy bells, and false Solomon’s seal. In some of the creeks that flow throughout the area, the rare veined water lichen (Peltigera venosa) can be seen in these pristine, cold waters.
Safety First: Hiking boots or sturdy shoes are required for this hike; additionally sunscreen, water, and sunglasses are highly recommended. Hwy 41 is a major road for Yosemite traffic during the year so caution is advised traveling on the way from Oakhurst.
Directions: From Fresno- Take Highway 41 north of Oakhurst, pass the Bass Lake Turnoff, and keep your eye out on the right for Sky Ranch Road. Take Sky Ranch Road for approximately 3.5 miles until reaching Nelder Grove on the north side of the road.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Sierra National Forest, Bass Lake Ranger District.
Closest Town: Oakhurst, California (approximately 8 miles south).