Four miles north of Arnold off Highway 4, northeast of Stockton, the colossal trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park stand in quiet testimony to prehistoric times. These massive relics, which can reach a height of 300 feet and a diameter of 33 feet, are descended from trees that were standing when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and birds, mammals and flowering plants began to appear. Some of today’s trees are thought to be as old as 2,000 years. In addition to the popular North Grove, the park features the South Grove, a five mile hiking trip through a spectacular grove of giant sequoias in their natural setting. Other attractions in the park include the North Fork of the Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, the Lava Bluff Trail and Bradley Trail. Activities include camping, Saturday evening ranger talks, numerous interpretive programs, environmental educational programs, junior ranger programs, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, and activities for school children. November - March, weather permitting, cross-country skiing, snow play, and the popular 1pm Saturday snowshoe hikes.
This was a great trail to view the redwoods but way too touristy for me. It was Labor Day so plenty of "holiday naturists", kids yelling at times, disrespecting the forest, etc. We ended up hiking the River Trail (much much less crowded) made it about 1.5 miles but turned around because it was too much for the kids. I'd love to go back and hike the entire River Trail (4 mile) to the Stanislaus River.
Alice R. on Calaveras South Grove Trail
Great hike. Absolutely beautiful! The interspersed dogwoods kept the trail in partial shade the whole one. Very nicely maintained trail.
There's nothing like seeing the Sierra's Giant Sequoias. This park is often crowded, but the 1.7-mile loop is always rewarding. The forest here is very lush with wildflowers, berries and even ferns.
Consider coming when the dogwoods are in bloom. In the winter, it's a great place to snowshoe or cross-country ski. Also, check out the 3-years-new visitors center. It was partially funded by the park's support group and is a testimony to its status as one of the most beloved jewels of the California State Park system.
Do not forget the bug spray. I went at 8:00 am today to beat the heat and whenever I stopped the mosquitos landed on me. It was an easy hike if you can do some incline. I was lucky that I went early as there was no one else there and I could like I was exploring the place for the first time. Guild book was helpful because I like to read when I hike. Great place to walk and relax
Beautiful scenery and views. We hiked the Overlook and River Trails then finished up with the North Grove Trail. We arrived at the park around 9 am so we were pretty much alone until we returned to the visitor center at around 12 pm . By then the tourist arrived and it was no longer peaceful. We hiked in the snow. That was pretty cool too.
I love to camp here and do all the trails. There is a hike for everyone from easy to strenuous. The trees, flora and fauna are a feast for my eyes and a balm for my heart. I would rate this particular hike as easy; as I've seen people from 3-80 enjoying it. The trip to the Agassiz Tree is well worth the extra steps. Definitely take extra water, bug repellent and a camera.
Great little hike. Highly recommend going early before the guided hikes start. Most of the North Grove Trail is on a foot bridge and it's great for young kids and "mature" adults. If you have the time and want a little change (real little) take the trail to the south to the lookout view point. The trail to the lookout is a moderate climb uphill onto a paved drive for the last 200 meters. Pack a camera because the views are great. Was up on 11/21/2015 and the first snow was on the ground. The foot bridge was a little slippery, but once we got on the dirt, no problems.
It was a great little hike. Well maintained trails and bridges. They call this a moderate hike, but on a scale from 1 - 10 (1=easy and 10=very difficult) I would rate it at a 2.5 or 3. Great for people new to hiking, because it's not to long and not much elevation change and what elevation change there is is gradual.