Travel & Outdoors

Guide To Big Trees State Park

November 16, 2010 1:17 PM

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(credit: parks.ca.gov)

(credit: parks.ca.gov)

Visitor Center

Main Phone: (209) 795-2334
Visitor Center Phone:209-795-3840
Website: www.parks.ca.gov

The world thought it was a myth, that these giant trees had been discovered in California. The groves of sequoias were discovered by a hunter in 1852 and continue to be visited by tourists from all over the world. Some of the giant trees are believed to be up to 2,000 years old and tower between 250-300 feet.

Getting There

Take U.S. 99 South to Stockton, then turn east on State Hwy 4. During your 1.5 hour drive, you’ll pass through Farmington and Copperopolis.  Another route is State Hwy 16 to State Hwy 49 South through Jackson, San Andreas, and Angels Camp.

Activities

A five-mile-long trail takes you through the popular North Grove and the South Grove.

In the winter, the area offers cross-country skiing. In the summer you go hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, and more. In the evening during the summer you can also hear evening ranger talks.

Dogs are welcome in the park on a leash in well-developed areas like picnic areas and campgrounds, roads and fire roads. Dogs are not permitted on the designated trails and the woods.

North Grove

The north grove trail is 1 ½ miles long, well-kept, and features information placards with information about the giant trees – great for elementary and middle school-aged kids – and plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. It also has views of Sugar Pines, White Fir, Incense Cedar and Ponderosa Pines.

South Grove

A big feature of this grove of 1,000 sequoias is its undisturbed setting. You can hike 1.5 to 5 miles on the trails through this area. The road to the South Grove is not accessible in the winter months, but cross country skiing is permitted.

Camping

The park has two main campgrounds that contain a total of 129 campsites, six picnic areas and several of miles of established trails. You can purchase firewood near the gate, and also get food and other staples at nearby Arnold.

Climate

In summer, the average temperature is the 80’s on the high end and the 50’s on the low end. There are rare afternoon thundershowers. In the winter, snow conditions can vary, and are sometime fit for cross-country skiing. The temperatures range from highs in the 30s and 40s to lows in the 20’s or teens.

Expect rain and snow showers in the spring and fall.

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