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Calaveras South Grove Trail

EASY 217 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.

Distance: 4.9 miles Elevation Gain: 754 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

cross country skiing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

over grown

snow

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.

hiking
8 days ago

beautiful easy trail

Ran into a black bear which didn’t want to get out of our way so we returned the same we we came in.

hiking
19 days ago

Great trail! Ran into a bear walking down the trail. Fall colors were everywhere. It was beautiful! Huge trees!!

hiking
1 month ago

Started about 8:30 AM, very very few people on the trail. Well groomed paths and clearly marked. Very good beginning "hike"

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

I started out this trail at 9am, I went out about 2.5 miles before I decided to turn around due to the other half of the trail that had a wasp problem. There were wasps coming down on me about every minute, I decided to turn around and did not finish. it was still a beautiful trail. I also recommend to bring bug spray, there are quite a big amount of mosquitoes on the trail. it is definitely worth it to get there before 10am. around 11am, the parking lot was full. There is a nice bridge over a cool creek that is a great place to stop after and dip your feet in. if you don't mind wasps, then keep going!

hiking
1 month ago

A wonderful experience for nature enthusiasts. The ancient redwoods are majestic. Black bears, brown trout, and the proverbial California ground squirrel inhabit this grove. There are plenty of quartz, jasper, and granite boulders hidden underneath the foliage along the sides of the trail. The trail itself is maintained well, as of August all “downed” trees were removed. Some root systems and small boulders do protrude upward, but less than 1 ft. upward. The trail crosses beaver creek once and big trees creek twice on the loop section. Self guided tour maps are provided at the trailhead just past beaver creek bridge on the left side. The 50 cent donation for the map is well worth the loose change. There are several sections which are covered by the forest canopy (shade). However, during summer, this in conjunction with the proximity of running water creates humidity which does attract mosquitoes (remember your bug repellent). Recommended footwear: hiking boots, trail runners, even sneakers are fine. The trail is very dusty in the summer and off trail the terrain is rugged. Considering that most people with children, tourists, and campers show up to the trail before lunch on the weekends, a late afternoon arrival is recommended. This makes photography opportunities, quiet moments listening to the forest sounds, and private moments with the giant sequoias more enjoyable. The trail is not a “hiking goal”. It is not about completing the loop, skill set, or the best workout. This trail epitomizes the beauty of the old growth redwood forest. Enjoying the aesthetics is worth visiting, so pace yourself, and relax along the journey.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

bring bug spray!! I got so many bug bites here when I came on 8/5, and they’re still bad 6 days later. Awesome trail though, came around 9 am on a monday and no one was on the trail yet. Would definitely come back!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful shaded trail area. Breathtaking trees. Grab a paper trail map from the ranger’s station. There is NO cell reception and you will have to read the paper trail map pretty carefully. We took a few wrong turns but everyone is super friendly, so ask if you feel you are getting lost.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

The trail is beautiful! Mostly shaded uphills and downhill‘s. Crosses water twice which is awesome. Have to keep your eyes down for roots and rocks but otherwise a stunning hike. We were training for run so we just did an out and back totaling 3 miles.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

I started my hike at 6:30AM on a Friday. It was perfect because I had the hike all to myself until the last mile back to my car. I would highly recommend this trail. I would suggest to bring insect repellent spray or spray it on yourself before hiking. There were a ton of mosquitoes. Other than that, I loved this hike! The trees are huge! A must see!

Excellent trail for a group with kids. Stop at the creek and soak your feet on your way back to the car.

hiking
3 months ago

Gorgeous trail... hit it early! Total ZEN amongst the BIGest trees.

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Was amazing

hiking
4 months ago

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
4 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

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!

5 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

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

hiking
blowdown
5 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!

9 months ago

Closed for the season as of 12/30/18

11 months ago

Enormous! Long but worth the trek

11 months ago

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

11 months ago

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

hiking
11 months ago

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
11 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.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Excellent trail!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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

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