Calaveras South Grove Trail is a 4.9 mile heavily 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.

Length4.9 miElevation gain754 ftRoute typeLoop
kid friendlyCross-country skiingHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingRunningForestViewswild-flowersOver grownSnowNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (11)

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (366)
Photos (585)
Recordings (313)
Completed (905)
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Gordon Rogers
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 24, 2020
HikingClosed

We tried to do this hike, but the road to the South Grove was closed for the season (hence the 1 star, I'm sure it is a great hike). We did the North Grover Trail instead

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Jacob Marcek
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Hiking

amazing hike. a bit of snow towards the end. kids did great!

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Patricia Bailey
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HikingPrivate property
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Ludmila Kukalova
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HikingGreat!

Lovely! We walked it with our 3 kids (7,7,4). The trail brochure says to allocate 3-4 hours for the hike. I think it is accurate. We started late (at noon) and hungry. We made a lot of stops to eat, play and take pictures. Our kids are not the greatest hikers so it took us about 5 hours to finish. The hike in crisp late October afternoon was wonderful. The colors of leaf trees were beautiful and cheerful. There were very little people, I think we met like 6 small groups all together.

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Sherri Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 27, 2020
HikingGreat!

I hiked this trail on Monday, Oct. 26. It was peaceful, with little traffic. The autumn colors of deciduous trees, cerulean blue skies, and the soaring majesty of the the conifers created a visual delight.

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Mike A
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Hiking
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Garrett Peterson
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Hiking
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Jaime Gonzalez
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Hiking

Tiring but beautiful!

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Jessica Richman
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Hiking

Beautiful trail with a slow and steady incline/decline. Would definitely recommend

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Helene O'Neal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
HikingFee

Peaceful hike. Go all the way to the end to see the epic tree, and be sure to walk around the backside. Bring exact cash for park day use fee.

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Michael Booth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

South grove worth it. Bradley loop, not so much.

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Paul Grench
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Hiking

Nice fall and spring colors.

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Kim Borden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
HikingGreat!

This trail was beautiful. The sound of the creek, the fall colors are starting to appear and the most amazing big trees that I've seen in a while. I think the trail is more moderate than easy. It's a steady incline out and (obviously) downhill coming back. Also, the trail is more of a fine dirt and dust than packed forest floor.

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Anton Kleshchev
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Hiking

A lot better than the North rim. A lot of things to see.

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Jess DarConte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Hiking

Moderately trafficked trail. Some small elevation gains in the middle. Well maintained. Ok for older kiddos, but some tricky parts for little ones. Not stroller friendly.

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Jesus Medina
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HikingGreat!
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Cody Kirkpatrick
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Hiking
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Kyle Morris
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Hiking
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Sergio C
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HikingGreat!
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Reed Ramsey
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Hiking
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Lily Hurtado
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Hiking

great trail. from the parking lot it was a total of 5.3mi. you pay to get in the park

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Ariana Gomez
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Hiking

I was pleasantly surprised at how vast the state park was and that it took an additional 30 minutes from the north entrance to get to the south cove. This trail provided the opportunity to explore fallen giants and to walk through hollowed trees. The best part was to continue the alternate route to view the Agassiz tree as it is the largest in the park. There was moderate foot traffic throughout the trail so I was also surprised to encounter a black bear on the loop back. The bear was alone and did not seem bothered by our presence. I chose not to continue to pass the bear, instead backtracking, and therefore unable the complete the entire loop. I still had a lot of fun and got great photo ops!

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Fatima M
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HikingBugs
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Sudeendra Ramesh
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Hiking
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Johnny Hoover
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Hiking

$12 to get in. great trail. extra humid today but we all lived

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Clayton Farley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 6, 2020
Nature tripsFeeGreat!

Plenty of shade. Well marked. Only passed about 15 people in the 5 mile hike. Saw a bear!

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Aswin Thiruvengadam
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Hiking
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Morgan McRee
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HikingGreat!

This is a super fun and easy hike! It is longer than AllTrails says it is though. I was on a bit of a timeline so I didn’t have enough time to finish the entire trail. Instead of going on to the Palace Hotel tree I turned back to the parking lot where the loop closes. Just that was 5.19 miles. It is a still a very easy hike. Absolutely gorgeous. Definitely recommend!

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Amie Woeber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 31, 2020
HikingGreat!

Really easy and amazing trees! Shaded and nice any time of the day. As noted the parking lot is one mile from the trail so factor in 2mi on top of this.

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