You can travel the world over and find few natural wonders to rival the majestic beauty of the Giant Sequoias located in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, approximately four miles above Arnold on Highway 4. These magnificent trees range in size to 325 feet in height, 24 feet in diameter and are believed to be up to 2,000 years old. The fossil remains of the massive trees indicate they are descendants of the forests dominated by these massive giants millions of years ago.
The Park encompasses over 6,000 acres with both the North and South Groves of Big Trees and the Stanislaus River as its focal points. The North Grove’s 1½ mile loop trail, just off the Park’s main parking lot, is a gentle walk which leads you through a forested maze of beauty and tranquility. Those wanting to view these giants in a more pristine realm can choose to visit the larger South Grove. A self-guided four-mile trail winds through this virtually untouched grove of Giant Sequoias.
The Park is open year-round and offers over 120 campsites, picnic areas, miles of hiking trails and a visitor center. Interpretive programs are offered daily during the Summer months. These activities consist of nightly campfire programs, guided nature walks, stream ecology, Junior Ranger programs and many other events.
Many of the programs are lead by trained volunteers or docents. Most of these docents live in the surrounding area and are very knowledgeable about the natural and cultural history of the area, as well as events and happenings along the Highway 4 corridor.
Beginning in 1974 with a small group of individuals and State Park staff, the Calaveras Big Trees Association (CBTA) was formed to further educational and interpretive activities of the State Department of Parks and Recreation. This is accomplished through the raising and distribution of funds to augment Calaveras Big Trees State Park’s interpretive budget.
During the winter the Park maintains cross-country ski trails, and for those hardy souls, leaves some campsites open. Come and enjoy these magnificent Sequoias any time of the year.
For more information, call the Park Office at 209-795-2334 or the Visitor’s Center at 209-795-1196, or visit online at http://www.parks.ca.gov/