NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Description: A 6,300 acre park protecting the giant sequoia, with over 1,000 in residence. These trees are known for their diameter, contrasted with coastal redwoods which are known for their height. The Stanislaus River also traverses the park, offering trout fishing; it is stocked in late spring/ early summer. Camping, hiking, fishing and winter cross country skiing attract visitors. A visitor should, at a minimum, hike the North Grove Trail, a 1 mile self-guided interpretive loop. The South Grove Trail, longer at about 5 miles round trip, is a fun hike through constantly shaded forest which keeps you on edge as you await your first glimpse of a truly big tree. The hike is nice, with a modest elevation climb that is not an issue.

Facilities: There are 2 campgrounds. North Grove has 51 sites for tents, 48 sites for RV's to 30 feet, 5 hike-in sites, and 2 group sites for up to 40-60 people. Oak Hollow has 23 sites for tents only and 18 sites for RV's to 30 feet. In winter only 12 sites are open, in North Grove. Picnic tables, fire grills & food lockers. Separate picnic areas, visitor center, hiking trails, dump station (not in winter), restrooms with showers. Open March thru November. 12 campsites open in winter at North Grove Campground. Reservations are accepted at Reserve America.

Open: Year round. January 2-March 31: Weekends and State holidays 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 1-30: Daily 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 1-Memorial Day: Weekdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Memorial Day-Labor Day: Sunday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. September after Labor Day-October 31: Weekdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. November:  Daily 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Thanksgiving weekend;  Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. December:  Weekends;  11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Winter Break;  11 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed December 25. Phone: 209-795-2334. Visitor center 10AM-4PM daily; off-season 11AM-3PM weekends.

Location: On Hwy 4 2.7 miles east of Arnold.