Wawona, about 27 miles south of Yosemite Valley, is the park's historical center, but the main lure really is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias the biggest and most impressive cluster of big trees in Yosemite. The star of the show - and what everyone comes to see - is the Grizzly Giant, a behemoth that sprang to life some 2700 years ago, or about the time the ancient Greeks held the first Olympic Games.
You can't miss it - it's a half-mile walk along a well-worn path starting near the parking lot. Beyond here, crowds begin to thin out a bit, although for more solitude you should arrive early in the morning or after 18:00.
The big attraction in the upper grove is the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree, the famous drive-through tree that toppled over in 1969. For scenic views, take a 1-mile (round-trip) amble from the fallen tree to Wawona Point. Also in the upper grove is the Mariposa Grove Museum (;usually Sat & Sun) with displays about sequoia ecology. The full hike from the parking lot to the upper grove is about 2.5 miles.
Parking is very limited, so come early or late or take the free shuttle bus from the Wawona Store or the park entrance. The grove can also be explored on a one-hour guided tour (adult around US$16; ;usually May-Sep) aboard a noisy open-air tram leaving from the parking lot.