McKinley Grove

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McKinley Grove Botanical Area is a small grove of Sequoia Trees with a picnic area.  It was first discovered by early explorers in 1869.  Originally the grove was named the "General Washington Grove" by Frank Dusy, a local pioneer.  Later the name was changed to the "Dusy Grove" in his honor.  In the early 1900's, Robert Marshal renamed it the "McKinley Grove" in recognition of the 25th president of the United States.  The grove remained in the public domain until the establishment of the Sierra Forest Reserve in 1893.

The giant sequoias in this grove have never been logged.  The tallest tree towers over 230 feet.  The largest diameter tree still standing in the grove is 19 feet 6.5 inches.  The 100 acre grove contains 216 sequoias that have a diameter over 6 feet.  These giants are among the oldest living things on the earth . . . some are estimated to be 2,000 years old.  Today the Forest Service manages the grove as a special interest area for the protection and preservation of this rare and historical resource.

Giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), are the world's largest trees, occuring in a narrow band of mixed conifer forest, between 5,000-8,000 ft. elevation on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. Sequoias occur as far north as Placer County. All but eight small groves, one being McKinley Grove between Dinkey Creek and Wishon Reservoir, are in a 70 mile corridor between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. There are only 36,000 acres of sequoias in the world.

I visted McKinley Grove on an October evening in 2008.  I had spent the day at Courtright Reservoir and was on my way home when I decided to stop and enjoy the giant redwood trees. A cloud bank had moved in and shrouded the sequoias in fog.  It was late enough in the day that no one else was around -- I had the grove to myself.  It was quiet, even eerie, as I walked among the ancient giants.  Truly a rare photographic opportunity.


  McKinley Grove on Google Maps
  GPS Coordinates:  N37 01.379 W119 06.485
  download GPX file

As I walked among the sequoias and looked upward,
I was treated to this ominous view.  It made me feel very small.

It was getting dark when I visited the grove and the fog added to the gloom.

A massive giant.

Because of the time of day and the heavy fog, it was very quiet in the grove.
There weren't even squirles about.  It was just me and the trees.

This tree has survived several forest fires.

Nothing lasts forever, eventual these great giants will fall.  But because redwood
is highly resistant to rot, it will take centuries for this tree to decompose.

The grove was both ghostly yet also serenely quiet.
But it felt nothing like a cemetery.  It was very much alive.
Not teaming with activity, not vibrant.
It was alive in a different almost omnipresent sense.
The scale of time in this place was immense.
Some of the trees were thousands of years old.
My brief visit, my brief life span, was just a blink in time to these trees.

Dogwood Fruit

Some of the trees in this grove were thickly covered with moss on their North sides.

External Links:
  US Forest Service - McKinley Grove
  Wikipedia - Sequoiadendron (Giant Redwood)

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Last Updated: 10/11/2008