Four miles north of Arnold off Highway 4, northeast of Stockton in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the colossal Giant Sequoia 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. The park also makes a great weekend trip from the San Francisco Bay Area or Sacramento. The North Grove used to house the discovery tree, thought to be the largest tree in the country. Unfortunately, it was cut down to be paraded as a popular tourist attraction in 1853. In addition to the popular North Grove, the park features the South Grove, a five mile loop 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. The South Grove includes the Louis Agassiz tree; at 250 feet (76 m) tall and more than 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter 6 feet (1.8 m) above ground it is the largest tree in the Calaveras groves Activities include camping at the parks main campground, 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. Park is open for day use sunrise to sunset.

Simple and beautiful! Perfect Sunday trail to enjoy and reflect on the beauty God has created for us all.

Closed for the season as of 12/30/18

hiking
15 days ago

Well defined trail with many fallen trees; well-graded and felt moderate rather than “hard”. Some of the trail is not well-marked but generally it is. Unfortunately crosses the road at least 4 times which makes it seem a little less... off the beaten path. The river was beautiful with many spots to sit and eat.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy hike with beautiful views the entire way through.

Enormous! Long but worth the trek

Great cool morning for hike. We took our dog Jax along and really enjoyed the great colors and trees. It took us 2 hrs for hike to end of trail and back. Trees were very awesome

We did this and it is a beautifull trail!!! Trees are amazing. Very easy

A well marked trail leads from the parking lot to the South Grove. Late October gave us the added treat of beautiful autumn colors from the non-coniferous members of the forest. The free map handed out at the gatehouse includes an expanded cut out of the north and south groves, highlighting where some of the largest are. These trees have to be seen to appreciate how magnificent they are. We’ll be back.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful time of year for this hike. Cool morning led to a great day. Trailhead decently marked with plenty of parking. Went on a Saturday and wasn’t crowded at all. Path was well traveled and a map was not needed. The quietness among these giants was awe inspiring. We did the north grove after this hike and it felt commercial in comparison.

You feel so small here
Humility takes over as you meander the trail through
Giant Sequoia Trees

Easy walk but great access to unbelievably beautiful and majestic trees.

Excellent trail!

3 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. The trees are magnificent and the trail is well compacted and easy. Good for kids.

On a Saturday, I expected it to be BUSY! But to my surprise, much of the time, we had the trail to ourselves. Easy terrain that is well maintained. The surroundings are beautiful and humbling. We arrived at 9:15 and by the time we were done, it was just starting to get busy.

Decent trail. you definitely get more bang for your buck on the north grove trail, but this one does offer fewer crowds. we carried a 2 month old and 2 year old the whole way and did ok. Creek near the trailhead is very kid friendly.

Great place to see the big trees. My two years old did more then half of this awesome trial.

Light traffic, gorgeous trail and Sequoias.

It was a nice trek. Less crowd then the north grove

Wow, you have to see the big trees to take in their enormity. Breathtaking! Great hike, take your bug spray.

Great walking tour with Mary Ann.

Short, easy hike that's good for kids. Takes you through one of the world's oldest sequoia groves.

Beautiful views, easy/ moderate

Beautiful, go early take 2 or 3 water bottles. Take it easy and stop to enjoy the views. Take photos, you may get a great one for your Christmas card

Nice and easy scenic hike. The giant sequoia trees make me awe-struck every time. Highly recommend!

This hike was awesome. Especially for our fist ever hike! My mom and I were hesitant about doing a 5 mile hike but we made it though and loved every moment of it.

trail running
6 months ago

Connected to this loop as part of a longer run from Arnold. It was a great “destination”. The sequoias are impressive and I ran the mile loop without even noticing I was running.

Had a great time with the family on this hike. We have 4 kids all under the age of 6 and we all made it! 2 were on our backs, but the 6 and 4 year olds hiked it and enjoyed the large trees and beautiful scenery. Weather was good in the 80’s and was a good escape from the hot weather in Sacramento. We were here mid week in June and trails were not crowded. We even took time to view the camp sites for a return trip to camp next time. Highly recommend for a easy family hike.

Good stroll with the kids!

A beautiful trail, I took away one star due to it being so crowded. There were 100 or so people and the trail felt claustrophobic at times. However, the trees were plentiful and beautiful. The giant stump of a sequoia cut down in 1853 at the start of the trail was sobering. Also, the beginning of the trail isn't well marked and many people take the loop trail backwards (which contributed to the crowding).

I got their early and I only saw one other human on the trail (it is orders of magnitude less traveled than the North Grove trail). This is really more of an out and back trail with a small loop section rather than a loop trail. However, it makes you feel really remote during the hike. The Palace Hotel tree is stunning and worth the hike. I added on the Bradley Grove trail as well for two additional miles.

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