360° VR Panoramas of Lake Tahoe, Northern Sierra, and the Gold Country
Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Near Arnold, California

Calaveras Big Trees was where the giant Sequoia was discovered in 1852. The fame of the big trees (Sequoias) spread around the world and this became one of California's first tourist attractions. The Discovery Tree was promptly cut down and a hotel was built. The North Grove was protected as a state park in 1931, but final acquisition of the pristine South Grove took until 1954.

In addition to the famous Sequoia groves,the park features prime coniferous forest, spectacular spring dogwood blooms, and the sparkling Stanislaus River.


Click on a thumbnail image to open an interactive 360° panorama in a new window.
The meadow at Calaveras Big Trees

The meadow at Calaveras Big Trees

Huge trees ring the meadow near the park entrance. They are mostly sugar pines, with distinctive long upper branches, ponderosa pine, and white fir like huge Christmas trees. A single dome-topped mature Sequoia can be seen at the very end, the edge of the North Grove.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps

Viewpoint at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Viewpoint at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Looking across the valley of the Stanislaus River towards the South Grove. The Walter W. Smith Parkway traverses the park, from the historic North Grove, across the Stanislaus River, to the wilderness South Grove.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps

Mountain misery and ponderosa pine

Mountain misery and ponderosa pine

Most of the area of the park is not Sequoia forest. Here we see ponderosa pine forest with a groundcover of mountain misery.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
See location in Google Maps

North Fork Stanislaus River at Calaveras Big Trees

North Fork Stanislaus River at Calaveras Big Trees

The Stanislaus River runs between the North and South Groves at Calaveras Big Trees. It is a popular, but treacherous, river for expert kayakers.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Beaver Creek at Calaveras South Grove

Beaver Creek at Calaveras South Grove

The South Grove trail begins by crossing Beaver Creek - a cold wade for spring hikers until this fine bridge was built.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Non-Sequoia forest on the South Grove trail

Non-Sequoia forest on the South Grove trail

It is about a mile and a half along the South Grove trail before any Sequoias are encountered. But the sugar pine and white fir here are of great size, a forest worth visiting for itself.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Previous locality: Murphys Next locality: Calaveras North Grove