When most people think of giant sequoia trees, images of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks are typically what come to mind. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, off of Highway 4, may be the lesser known sibling, but it is home to trees of equal grandeur. Initially protected in 1931 and expanded to include the South Grove in 1954, the park includes two impressive groves of sequoias, multiple campgrounds, hiking and winter trails, and a beautiful section of the North Fork of the Stanislaus River.
Hiking trails thread through the trees of the the North and South Groves and connect to other areas of the park. The North Grove Trail, South Grove Trail, Lava Bluffs Trail and River Canyon Trail offer a variety of lengths and difficulty ranging from family-friendly strolls to full day excursions. Fishing, swimming holes, and white water boating are big draws to the river during the summer, while snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular when snow-laden Sequoias offer a unique park experience.
Two developed campgrounds, North Grove Campground and Oak Hollow Campground, provide 150 sites for visitors. The park keeps a handful of North Grove Campground sites open during the winter.
A well-stocked visitor center is located near the entrance and the North Grove Trails. Dogs are permitted in the park in campgrounds, on paved roads, and on fire roads only.