NESTLED 4,000 FEET HIGH IN THE STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST, the charming town of Arnold is one of the Sierra’s best kept secrets. Located on California’s Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, the area is a wonderland of outdoor activity and watersports. Because of its elevation, you can play in the snow at Bear Valley in the morning and hike or play golf in the afternoon during Autumn and Spring.
For hikers, bikers and equestrians, the Arnold Rim Trail features more than a dozen miles of pathways along forested creeks and breathtaking ridgetop vistas with panoramic views. For those who want to take it easier, visit White Pines Park or the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum, find something special in one of several charming gift shops or go wine tasting at dozens of local wineries.
Arnold is home to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where the continent’s biggest trees grow. Featuring giant Sequoias over 300’ tall and 30’ in diameter, the park has both wheelchair-accessible paths and rugged trails among thousands of enormous redwoods, cedars and pines. The park flanks the Stanlislaus River with terrific fishing and swimming, too.
A round-trip from the bay area is 2½ hours closer than Tahoe or Yosemite – close enough for a day trip – yet there’s so many fun family activities that you’ll want to spend a night or two. Everything you’ll need is here in town, so hop in the car, leave the traffic behind and come to Arnold, the heart of the Sierra.