Explore the most popular trails in Calaveras Big Trees State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

Well maintained trail, easy slopes. Trekking poles are minimally helpful, maybe more of a hassle on this trail.

on Calaveras South Grove Trail

hiking
13 days ago

Was amazing

hiking
over grown
13 days ago

Trail conditions were nice. It was hot but I knew that going in. It’s down hill all the way to the river so the uphill all the way back is killer. My only complaint about this trail is that you get all the way down to the river where the trail ends and there’s just one spot to view the river and it’s not even a very good view. To get to better views you have to walk through some overgrown brush and scramble up and over some rocks. It looks like at one time there was a trail that actually went along the river but it was overgrown and hard to find. But if you do it you are rewarded with some beautiful views of the river.

hiking
14 days ago

Great hike-we started by 7:30 because of the heat and glad we did. It took 4 hours stopping for lunch at river. Lots of mosquitoes, so bring spray!!

hiking
rocky
17 days ago

I have never seen so many seep-spring monkey flowers as those that covered the rocky wet side of the trail about half way through. There were many other wildflowers including iris and clarkia. This is NOT an easy trail. Parts are narrow, steep and gravelly. The state park brochure lists it as difficult even though it is only 3 miles long. There is a stream crossing and many different ecological zones and lava bluff to see(off a short side trail), My hiking group of 10 mature women safely hiked this but it isn’t easy. I highly recommend you bring your hiking poles for this one.

You just can’t go wrong walking through redwoods and amongst rivers and streams. So peaceful and the sequoias are awe inspiring no matter how many times you see them.

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

Trail appears to be a former or current 4WD road. Follows the river and cuts through a lush grove of cedar, oak and pine with beautiful sounds and views of the river throughout. Quiet with very low traffic. Caught a butterfly bloom today.. just perfect.

Absolutely fell in love!! Many different hikes for different levels. I love the history here and the fact it wasn't over crowded. $10 for a day pass.

Fun hike with the kids and we all had a blast!

Easy with a nice view. 5-8-19.

Hiked this on May 8, 2019. Beautiful...

I went sometime last year right when all the dogwoods were blooming and it was such a magical site to see. I love this place so much. Not strenuous good steady beautiful stroll through the giant trees!! I want to go back again!

Great hike. A few trees to scramble around, but that just makes it more fun.

Great trail! Easy with beautiful scenery.

Excellent trail! A few down trees but there was always a way around them or over them.

hiking
blowdown
1 month ago

Awesome hike! At the time I went there was some trees blocking the trail, no problem though, there was always a way around.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked part of this (approx 1 mile) on 4/27/19. Not an Easy trail, as other reviewers said! As well, as of April, this wasn’t unmaintained and had numerous large trees blocking trails. So scrambling is part of it. We brought two children- both were significantly winded from first climb. Very pretty, wildflowers and great vernal Springs! Be informed though- we actually turned back because there was a fork in the trail (one side maintained and one unmaintained per the Forest Service map) and BOTH were blocked enough that we threw in the towel. Need boots, pack, etc. Steep climbs.

hiking
2 months ago

Not as hard as I expected. Yes, there are a lot of trees across the trail at this time, but it's more than an inconvenience than anything. The trail itself starts at the Scenic Overlook. There are restrooms and parking at the trailhead. But remember, this is a state park and it costs $10. to get in so bring cash. Once you park, the trail is wide and easy to follow. It's more of a walk through the forest than a real hike. It is a steady decline to the river and an incline back out but nothing treacherous. It's a good bit of exercise, true, but not to be feared.

Trail is very easy and well marked.

hiking
blowdown
2 months ago

Went on the first day the trail was open for the year. Weather was beautiful & trees we could get to were awe inspiring. Did not make it to the end of the trail due to downed trees. At one point I crawled under a tree rather than try to climb over it. I will go back another time soon to see the rest!

Beautiful trail. Very stroller friendly

hiking
bridge out
muddy
2 months ago

Great Trail! Was great for the whole family! Lots of shade! Some awesome fallen trees! North trail is pretty flat and semi paved/ wood walk along. I recommend the overlook trail to get the blood flowing a little bit but the (paved/wood) trail kinda disappears. Meets up with north trail and we thankfully didn’t see any bears on our trip! $10 day fee.

Gorgeous short hike for whole family. Each time I pass redwoods and sequoias I’m in awe!

Family Friendly but not so easy as to be boring. Beautiful scenery.

Hiking with Warren and it began snowing heavily! Fresh footprints in the fresh snow :)

hiking
muddy
scramble
snow
4 months ago

This trail had so many fallen trees that we had to climb over, but it made the hike more fun because it was like a natural obstacle course. Continuous decline/flat going to the river, which means a killer incline on the way back. Worth it because the river was beautiful!

We came in early during rainy day and had the whole trail to ourselves ( haven’t run into anybody). Walking among these magnificent trees, engulfed in a fog was an amazing experience.

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
5 months 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.

Load More