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Calaveras Big Trees - North Grove
Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

In 1852 a miner named Augustus T. Dowd discovered huge trees with orange bark while tracking a bear. The Calaveras grove soon became famous and the North Grove was operated for many years as the Mammoth Grove tourist attraction. The Discovery Tree was cut down and its stump used as a dance floor, and other large trees were felled or disfigured.

The North Grove consists of about one hundred mature Sequoias. A boardwalk trail loops through the grove, starting with the stump of the Discovery Tree.


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The Discovery Tree at Calaveras Big Trees

The Discovery Tree at Calaveras Big Trees

The very first giant tree discovered here in 1852 was promptly cut down. It measures 24 feet (7.3 meters) across, impressive even in its ravaged state.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
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On top of the Discover Tree stump

On top of the Discover Tree stump

The Discovery Tree stump was used as a dance floor and even at one time had a tea room built upon it. Cutting the tree did allow an accurate count of its growth rings to be made - it was 1244 years old when cut in 1853.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Mature Sequoia in the Calaveras North Grove

Mature Sequoia in the Calaveras North Grove

This is a fine specimen of mature Sequoia, not large compared to many, but straight and tall. The orange bark of the big trees makes them stand out in the mixed conifer forest.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Calaveras North Grove trail

Calaveras North Grove trail

The trail here passes a fallen Sequoia. The lush forest in the North Grove includes small yew trees along with towering sugar and ponderosa pines, white fir, and incense cedar.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Tall coniferous forest in the Calaveras Grove

Tall coniferous forest in the Calaveras Grove

The trees in this forest grow tall and straight, competing for sunlight. The understory is mostly dogwood and hazelnut.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Boardwalk trail in the North Grove

Boardwalk trail in the North Grove

Compaction and erosion of the soil around giant Sequoias is a serious threat. In heavy traffic areas such as the North Grove boardwalks have been built to protect the tree's roots.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Fallen Sequoia in the Calaveras Grove

Fallen Sequoia in the Calaveras Grove

Despite reaching great age Sequoias must eventually fall, usually during wind storms, and often after being weakened by fire. Tannins in the wood make it resistant to decay and old logs may persist in the forest for centuries.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Group of Sequoias

Group of Sequoias

Many of the North Grove trees hav ebeen named - the Old Bachelor, Mother and Son. Abraham Lincoln, the Three Graces.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Stripped and burned Mother of the Forest in the Calaveras Grove

Stripped and burned Mother of the Forest in the Calaveras Grove

The largest tree in the Calveras Grove, known as the Mother of the Forest, was stripped of its bark in 1854 to provide a travelling exhibit. Ironically, many believed that the reconstructed trunk was a fake. The tree died slowly until eventually burned in 1908.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

Pioneer Cabin Tree with a tunnel through it

Pioneer Cabin Tree with a tunnel through it

This large Sequoia, the Pioneer Cabin Tree, had a tunnel cut through it as a tourist attraction, copying the more famous Wawona tree in Yosemite National Park.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

Date photographed: June 14, 2012
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Fallen branches in the Calaveras Grove

Fallen branches in the Calaveras Grove

Accumulation of fuel, such as the fallen branches seen here, and thick growth of shade tolerant species such as white fir, consitute a major threat to the ancient Sequoias. In 2015-16 the North Grove underwent a major fuel reduction through cut-pile-burn, to be followed by regularly prescribed burning.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, near Arnold, California

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

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