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.

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!

27 days 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
3 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.

4 months ago

Beautiful and family friendly regardless of the time of year. I was here about 2 months ago and it snowed while we did the short trail, yet it was still very doable. They also have guided tours and you learn a lot about the trees and history here. The staff is really nice too!

A good cardio workout without killing you. My wife and I are 72 and we met lots of fellow hikers our age and older making the hike look easy.

Lots of huge redwood trees. Truly inspiring and enjoyable!

Great family trip and self guided tour even in the snow!!!

We just had a good hike at the North Grove. We are fortunate , the weather is really nice. We drove really early ;we are one of the first two cars in the parking lot. By 11:00 it was really full. Very nice park volunteers at the visitors center.

Hiking in the snow was great!

Beautiful place to hike! Once you get to the North Grove, it's another 8 mile drive to South Grove on a one lane road. At South Grove there are a couple of different trails - one is 1.67 miles and seems fairly easy. It's a mile to the South Grove trail and I'm not sure of that's included in the 5.5 mile total. The trail is very well maintained and the sound of Beaver Creek is awesome. Enjoy!

we went yesterday. there was a small layer of snow and it was easy to walk. it was a little cold.

Hiked this trail yesterday. The weather was beautiful. Amazing hike.

Gorgeous! Great with a stroller and young kids. Our nine year old loved the trees but was hoping for something a tad more strenuous. We went during winter days, so they had fun crafts. Seven month old’s favorite activity on hikes is talking to the trees, so she absolutely loved this stroll.
Tiny patches of icy snow on the ground in the parking lot, but none in forest/on trails. Tennis shoes are perfectly acceptable.

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