We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“One Nighter Camping - White Fir! July 2014” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Calaveras Big Trees State Park
1170 Highway 4, Arnold, CA, CA 95223
Improve this listing
Activities: Camping, Hiking
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Home of the giant sequoias called "Tree Giants," and a great place for family camping. Park entrance is located near Arnold, California.
Oxnard, California
Level Contributor
78 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“One Nighter Camping - White Fir! July 2014”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

Just out for a one night stay of camping. This CA State Park (as opposed to being a National Park) is an easy drive from the Bay Area or Sacramento. The Giant Sequoia trees are quite a sight to see and made the trip well worth it. A must see for anyone that can't image how big a tree can really be.

This park also has campgrounds...reservations are made online, but we got a site as a walk-up on a Monday. Most have all of the amenities of being at an RV park (running water, toilets, electricity, etc.)...which is far from camping in my book. But they also have "environmental camp sites"...these only have a table, fire pit, and an outhouse style toilet. We opted for the White Fir environmental camp site. You do have to park and carry your stuff to this site...appx 50 yards. A wagon would be handy to have if you select this site. But there is also a creek about 15 yds from your campsite...we could hear it running. This site is 9 miles into the park and one of only two enviro sites at this end of the park (there are 3 other enviro sites in the park but they are by the full service camp sites). At this site, you are definitely away from the crowds. The only other enviro site is appx 25 yds away. You can easily fit several tents if needed. There are no other camp sites at this end of the park except these two sites! Besides being close to the creek, you are also closest to the south grove of giant trees...so no need to drive to it. Now to see the south grove of giant trees, you do have to go on an easy 5 mile hike...but again, it is well worth the hike. The hike has very little altitude change...nothing tough in my book, but then again, I jog regularly. The largest tree (named Agassiz) in this area is on a single out & back trail...keep going to the end of the trail to see it. Full service campsites are $35/night and enviro sites are $25/night. Fire restrictions were in place throughout the area...however, this State Park allows fires in the site fire pit!

We also went on one of the daily guided tours near the park entrance...Jean was our guide and she was extremely knowledgeable...I highly recommend taking the guided tour. We also checked out the Stanislaus River that runs through the middle of the park. I actually got completely into the water. It was definitely cold water, but not so overly cold or unbearable. For me, the only drawback was all the mobile home "camping"...what ever happened to real camping. In my book, if you're sleeping in a vehicle, you're not camping.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

167 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Stormville, New York
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

We visited calaveras while staying in SF. We rented a car and took the three hour each way drive, and it was MORE THAN WORTH IT. The trees are huge, majestic, historic, and beautiful. Getting there felt like we would never get there, and when we lost cell reception for 15 miles leading upto the park , we were a little scared (silly i know), but when we did our moods changed. We did the north grove trail which was super easy (I mean SUPER EASY, if it hadnt been about 90 degrees and i wasnt wearing long sleeves i wouldnt even have broken a sweat), and had we gotten on the road earlier we would have done another trail (you definitely dont want to be hiking here in the dark). Go, just go. It's 10$ to park, and then youre free to roam. Bring water (but if you dont, the visitor center sells reusable water bottles filled with (obvi tap water) for $2), and your camera and just enjoy the beauty of nature.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roseville, California
Level Contributor
50 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Big Fun for short excursion. ”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

Big Trees is a perfect place for the whole family. There are many trails so you can pick your difficulty. With little kids or out of town guest we like to take the North Grove pioneer trail. The trail is flat and easy for a walk or stroller. You'll see many of the area's famous Giants in about an hour (depending how often you stop).Check out the nearby Warming Hut and newly added Visitor Center/ Gift Shop before you go.

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
45 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Nice Little Park that's not too crowded”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2014

I went to the State Park with a friend, and we hiked the South Grove. I didn't think Sequoia trees grew that far north. The grove have some pretty good size ones, so if one doesn't want to battle with the crowds in Sequoia National Park, this state park will provide a perspective. The hike was ~5 miles total, and not too difficult. I had just had a knee surgery 2 months back, and was able to do it without much trouble, and less than 3 hours of hiking at a leisure pace. The trail is well maintained and generally smooth. It would have been nice to do the north grove too; since there are more Sequoia's there too.

If you are nearby, half a day in the park would make it a nice stop ($10 entrance fee into CA state parks)

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ardmore, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
77 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“South Grove worth the hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

We traveled to northern California from Oklahoma specifically to see the giant sequoias. We were not disappointed! We decided to hike the south grove with our son and his wife since it was advertised to have more sequoias including the largest in the park. It was a 5-mile hike which took us 3 hrs. with lots of stops along the way for photos. Thankfully California is not humid or we wouldn't have made it. It was quite exhausting for us 50-year-olds, but we made it and are proud to say we did. Getting to the largest and oldest tree at the very end (the Agassiz) was well worth it. Fair warning though, take your bug repellent. We were eaten alive by mosquitoes all along the trail! There is also a small fee to enter the park.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Calaveras Big Trees State Park also viewed


Been to Calaveras Big Trees State Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Calaveras Big Trees State Park, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.