Destination of the Week

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2003
Destination of the Week
Mon, 07-07-2003 - 7:54pm
This week's destination comes to us via a suggestion made by Utahtea. If anyone else has suggestions about places they'd like to see featured here,I would be happy to hear from you! Just e-mail me at with DOTW in the subject line. Thanks!

Calaveras Big Trees State Park located in Arnold,California.

Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve 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 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.

Seasons/Climate/Recommended clothing


Typically, highs in the 80's and lows in the 50's, rare afternoon thundershowers.


Variable snow conditions (Chains recommended for any vehicles) sometimes suitable for cross-country skiing. Typically, highs in the 30's and 40's, lows in the 20's or even 'teens. Occasionally, highs in the 50's or 60's.

Winter Closure

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. The dump station is not available during the winter.

Spring and Fall

Rain or snow showers likely, though drier in the Fall.

Facilities - Activities

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: Dogs are welcome in the park on leash in developed areas like picnic sites, campgrounds, roads and fire roads (dirt). Dogs are not allowed on the designated trails, nor in the woods in general.

Park Features: Exhibits & Programs, Family Campsites, Fishing, Group Campsites,

Guided Tours, Hiking Trails, Nature Trails, Swimming.

Facilities: Picnic Areas, Restrooms, RV Dump Station, Showers, Visitor Center



Operating Hours:


Sunrise to Sunset

Visitor Center

Winter Hours: Weekends

11:00am to 3:00pm except for snowy days.

Spring, Summer and Early Fall Hours: Daily Operation 11:00am to 3:00pm.

For more information:

Happy Trails!!



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 3:34pm
Sounds great! If I ever get out that way, I'll have to check it out. Good job!


Jo, Community Leader for
Childfree by Choice on Health http://

Avatar for fluter54
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-09-2003 - 4:35pm
And if anyone needs a ride, let me know because we're going RIGHT by there on our way to our houseboat trip this weekend...and we'll be back by there NEXT weekend on our way to the Car Show in Jamestown!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 07-11-2003 - 9:48pm
This is really a little jewel in the California State Park system.

Here are pictures I took last March at Calaveras Big Trees.