Calaveras South Grove Trail

EASY 86 reviews

Calaveras South Grove Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Arnold, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November.

4.9 miles
754 feet

kid friendly


cross country skiing


mountain biking

nature trips

trail running




wild flowers

old growth

over grown


no dogs

Calaveras Big Trees State Park preserves two groves of giant sequoia trees. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Arnold, California in the middle elevations of the Sierra Nevada. It has been a major tourist attraction since 1852, when the existence of the trees was first widely reported, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California. The area was declared a state park in 1931 and now encompasses 6,498 acres (2,630 ha) in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties. Over the years other parcels of mixed conifer forests, including the much larger South Calaveras Grove of Giant Sequoias (purchased in 1954 for $2.8 million USD), have been added to the park to bring the total area to about 26 square kilometres (6,400 acres). The North Grove contains about 100 mature giant sequoias; the South Grove, about 1,000. The North Grove included the 'Discovery Tree' noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852 and felled in 1853, leaving a giant stump which is the only remainder of the tree. It measured 24 feet (7.3 m) in diameter at its base and was determined by ring count to be 1,244 years old when felled. However, the largest tree was believed to be the Mother of the Forest, which died after bark was stripped from it in 1854. Today only a fire-blackened snag remains. In addition to the popular North Grove, the park also now includes the South Grove, with a 5-mile (8.0 km) hiking trip through a grove of giant sequoias in their natural setting. The South Grove includes the Louis Agassiz tree, 250 feet (76 m) tall and 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter 6 feet (1.8 m) above ground, the largest tree in the Calaveras groves.[2] It is named after zoologist Louis Agassiz (18071873). Other attractions in the Park include the Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, the Lava Bluff Trail and Bradley Trail. The park also houses two main campgrounds with a total of 129 campsites, six picnic areas and hundreds of miles of established trails. Other activities include cross-country skiing, evening ranger talks, numerous interpretive programs, environmental educational programs, junior ranger programs, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and summer school activities for school children. Dogs are welcome in the park on leash in developed areas like picnic sites, campgrounds, roads and fire roads (dirt). Dogs are not allowed on the designated trails, nor in the woods in general.

11 days ago

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.

1 month ago

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!

3 months ago

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!

5 months ago

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

8 months ago

great easy trail

9 months ago

Went on a Friday afternoon and there was hardly anyone there compared to the North Grove trail. I wasn't able to do the whole trail due to time unfortunately but everything I saw was absolutely beautiful and it was a very easy hike. I look forward to seeing it again! Tip: bring bug spray!

11 months ago

Our first 5 mile hike with our 10 years old and 12 years old daughters. We enjoyed the hike a lot.

11 months ago

Beautiful hike! I loved that it was pretty easy especially for my niece and nephew, both of whom have asthma. They had an easy and fun time exploring while on the hike!

11 months ago

huge trees... didnt seem like that much elevation change... beautiful stream at the trailhead.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Really enjoyed this hike. First stopped at the north trail but decided quickly that it was too crowded. Drove a few minutes to the south trail and there was two cars there! We basically had the whole trail to ourselves (which we love). Beautiful sites to see and I loved all the dogwood blossoms throughout hike! I would definitely recommend it.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Beautiful. It smells amazing and it reminds us of how small humans are lol

Saturday, April 22, 2017

I'm sure it would have been great had it been open. Closed.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

very easy, the trees are amazing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

excellent hike for large or small groups. the views are breathtaking and the distance is perfect.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

hiked this and only ran into 3 people on the trail. liked it much better than the North Grove because of the solitude.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Very easy, mostly flat land, and shaded for most of the trail. There are some spectacular areas throughout the trail. This is a very touristy trail, and can get a little heavy on the traffic. Make sure to bring bug spray!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Not difficult probably a 3

Friday, August 05, 2016

big trees

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Great hike. Absolutely beautiful! The interspersed dogwoods kept the trail in partial shade the whole one. Very nicely maintained trail.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Great, mellow trail. A couple of giant trees to see!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

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.

Monday, November 09, 2015

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.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Good hike. Not very hard, and sights are worth it. We went the extra mile to see the Aggasiz Tree. These trees are massive! I could look at them for hours...
Make sure and bring water and some bug repellent.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Beautiful forest. Trees are amazing but it is not as impressive as sequoia national park. Very nice hike though

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Beautiful easy hike with plenty of shade. Start the trail in the late morning and reserve some time to splash around in the creek to cool off after your hike. Bring water and bug repellent.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A moderately easy, mostly shaded hike. I took my 2 year old who was in & out of the backpack and the trail was great for her. Bathrooms but no water at trail head so bring your own. From the trailhead at South Grove parking lot, you hike past a small meadow and cross a bridge over Beaver Creek (a great spot to cool off on the way back to the car). Hike gradually uphill until trail crosses a fire road. The loop begins shortly after this, and about a mile from where you begin. We went to the right and took the .5 mile spur trail to see the Agassiz Tree (biggest in the park) and it was well worth the extra distance.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Easy, peaceful stroll through the trees - take the right fork as you're headed in to see more of the giant sequoias. We stopped to observe the biggest tree at the end, but were almost instantly set upon by swarms of mosquitos so bug spray may be advised.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Very beautiful, very easy stroll through the big trees!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

I had a great time hiking this trail. The trail is well kept, safe, and beautiful. It is well worth it to go all the way to the end and enjoy the splendor of the biggest tree in the forest. I had a great time breathing in the fresh air and listening to the creek flow the whole time we were there. Don't forget your camera either. We will be going back for sure.

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