Calaveras Big Trees SP

State Park

Current Information:

  Park Activity Guide
  Park Programs

A Brief History of Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Calaveras became a State Park in 1931 to preserve the North Grove of giant sequoias. This grove includes the "Discovery Tree", also known as the "Big Stump", 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.


The park is northeast of Stockton, four miles northeast of Arnold on Highway 4.
Latitude/Longitude: 38.2719 / -120.2867.  Please note that many car navigation systems and handheld Global Positioning Devices (GPS) are unable to locate the park.

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. 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. Calaveras Big Trees is about 35 minutes driving time from Angel's Camp.

From Sacramento
Take U.S. 99 South to Stockton.  Turn East on State Hwy 4.  Driving time to the park from here is approx 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Pass through Farmington and Copperopolis to the Park.  An alternate route from Sacramento is to take State Hwy 16 to State Hwy 49 South through Jackson, San Andreas, and Angels Camp. 

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- Weather Permitting
The Walter Smith Parkway beyond the North Grove which leads to the Stanislaus River and South Grove is closed from mid November to late April.
The Oak Hollow campground is closed from early October until mid May. The North Grove campground is closed from the end of November until early March.

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 the 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 several miles of established trails.

During the Summer enjoy evening ranger talks, numerous interpretive programs, environmental educational programs, junior ranger programs, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and activities for school children.

Dogs: Dogs are welcome in the park on leash in developed areas like picnic sites, campgrounds, paved roads and fire roads (dirt). Dogs are not allowed on the designated trails, nor in the woods in general.  We have several miles of fire roads for you and your dog to enjoy; however, you will not be able to see any of the giant sequoias from these roads.