The trail is not being actively maintained by the National Park Service. There are numerous downed trees that require scrambling over or under in order to get around. In some areas, very large trees have fallen on the road, crushing the road and when combined with water, started to wash the trail out.
There are several creek crossings in the spring where your feet will get wet. In the area between 2-3 miles, the Deer Brush grows in along the trail, causing you to have to push through/bushwhack through in order to stay on the trail/road.
This is not a popular hike and due to its remoteness, make sure that you either hike as a group or let people know where you are going in case something happens. Bear are in the area, so make sure to make noise so that you don't surprise the bear, especially since it can be difficult to see long distances due the Deer Brush.
The trail from Hodgdon Meadow to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
provides the opportunity to follow the Big Oak Flat Road and experience what it was like for people who used to enter the park before Hwy 120 was in place. You'll either need to hike in from the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station, or find parking around the Hodgdon Meadow Campground.
The trail is well-marked on the road, and actually follows the road for the first half mile as it descends past employee housing. The trail passes Hodgdon Meadow on the right as the old road starts to climb up to a worksite where they prepare wood for bridges and other projects in the park. The trail breaks off to the left and wanders through pine and fir forests that are recovering from the Rim Fire.
Immediately, you'll notice that there are trees down on the trail, which will continue to be a challenge for the duration of the hike. The trail crosses Hazel Creek, which in the spring requires walking through the creek as it passes over the road now. The trail is wide and paved as it follows the old road. The trail is flat or downhill at this point, which makes the hiking easier.
Next, you cross North Cane Creek, which you may have to walk through to get across as it crosses the road. These two crossings, as well as some of the downed trees, show how nature is reclaiming the land. Shortly after two miles, the trail begins to climb up the hillside toward Tuolumne Grove. Downed trees continue to be obstacles that have to be negotiated, and in certain areas, the Deer Brush grows across the trail, requiring a little bit of work to get through, but you never lose sight of the trail.
As you pass the 3.5 mile mark, the Deer Brush begins to thin out as you get closer to the grove. Fir, pine and cedar trees grow through the hike, and they are massive. At around 4.5 miles, you begin to enter the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
. While the first one you see is off the trail on the right, there is one that sits right beside the trail so you can appreciate how massive it is.
The trail continues to climb uphill until you arrive at the picnic area outside the Tuolumne Grove Loop Trail
. Take time to explore the grove if you've never been, its amazing. At this point, you either have to retrace your steps back to Hodgdon Meadow, or if you have arranged a shuttle, hike up to Tioga Road and then drive back down to Hodgdon Meadow.
Deer and bears can be seen feeding along the trail. Bear are in the area, so make sure to make noise so that you don't surprise the bear, especially since it can be difficult to see long distances due the Deer Brush. Birds can be heard singing along the trail.
Due to the Rim Fire in 2013, the area is recovering from the fire, so there is a lot of new growth going on along the trail. You might see Alpine Lupines in the spring. Deer Brush is prevalent throughout the area and is starting to encroach on the trail in sections, making you have to bushwhack through some parts of the trail.