- 100 miles southeast of Sacramento in east central California
- State Parks
Calaveras Big Trees State Park preserves the North Grove of giant sequoias. This grove includes the "Discovery Tree," the first Sierra redwood noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852. This area has been a major tourist attraction ever since and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California.
Over the years, other parcels of mixed conifer forests have been added to the park to bring the total area to approximately 6,500 acres.
The roadway beyond the North Grove that leads to the Stanislaus River and South Grove is closed from approximately mid-November to mid-April. Twelve campsites are kept open in the North Grove Campground all winter long, with additional sites becoming available as weather conditions permit.
In addition to the popular North Grove, the park features South Grove, a five mile hiking trip through a spectacular grove of giant sequoias in their natural setting. 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. 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. Dogs are not allowed on the designated trails, nor in the woods in general.
The park is northeast of Stockton, four miles northeast of Arnold on Highway 4.
From SF Bay Area: Take I-580 eastbound over Altamont Pass to I-205 toward Manteca, to US 99 North. Take the exit for State Hwy 4 Eastbound (Angel's Camp) to the Park Entrance. Hwy 4 makes a jog to the right in Angel's Camp along State Hwy 49, then jogs left just before leaving town. Calaveras Big Trees is about 35 minutes driving from Angel's Camp.
From Southern California: Take either I-5 or US 99 North. From I-5 you can cross to the other side of Stockton on State Hwy 4 to 99/4 South a few miles, then follow Hwy 4 towards and beyond Farmington to the park. Hwy 4 makes a jog right in Angel's Camp, then jogs left just before leaving town. Calaveras Big Trees is about 35 minutes driving time from Angel's Camp.
From Sacramento: Take US 99 South to Stockton, turning off onto State Hwy 4 towards and beyond Farmington to the park (through Angel's Camp). Driving time to the park from Stockton is approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes. An alternate route is to take State Hwy 16 southeast to State Hwy 49 South through the goldrush towns to Angel's Camp, making a left turn on the far side of town on State Hwy 4 to the park. Driving time from Angel's Camp is approximately 35 minutes.
From Nevada: Take US 395 to State Hwy 89 West to the terminus of State Hwy 4, up over Ebbett's Pass to the park. The road is closed in winter. It's very scenic, but so steep and tortuous that trailers and large motorhomes are ill-advised to use it.