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

The South Grove at Calaveras Big Trees is much larger than the better known North Grove. It contains over a thousand mature Sequoias, in a magnificent forest of sugar pine and other conifers.

Unlike the exploited and heavily touristed North Grove, the South Grove has been preserved intact, a roadless wilderness accessible only by trail or cross-country hiking.


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First Sequoias in the South Grove

First Sequoias in the South Grove

The right fork of the South Grove loop encounters medium-large Sequoias soon after entering the grove. This grove contains over a thousand mature Sequoias.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Sequoias in a mixed conifer forest

Sequoias in a mixed conifer forest

The Sequoias here do not occur in pure stands, as the coast redwoods sometimes do. The forest consists of Sequoia, sugar pine, white fir, ponderosa pine, incense cedar, and smaller broadleaf trees such as dogwood and hazelnut.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

White fir, incense cedar and sugar pine

White fir, incense cedar and sugar pine

Specimens of white fir, incense cedar and sugar pine in this forest would be impressively large if they were not viewed alongside Sequoias.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Prescribed burning in the South Calaveras Grove

Prescribed burning in the South Calaveras Grove

Prescribed burning is where land managers initiate and control fires to simulate natural conditions. This area of mostly sugar pine shows signs of being recently burnt.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Big Trees Creek in the South Grove

Big Trees Creek in the South Grove

Tiny Big Trees Creek runs through the center of the South Grove. Most Sequoia groves have springs or small streams like this.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Fallen Sequoia at Big Trees Creek

Fallen Sequoia at Big Trees Creek

The trail through the South Grove passes through the stump and trunk of a huge fallen Sequoia at the crossing of Big Trees Creek.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Palace Hotel Tree

Palace Hotel Tree

In the nineteenth century many large Sequoias were given names. This huge fire-hollowed tree was named for a fancied resemblance to the entrance court at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Inside the Palace Hotel Tree

Inside the Palace Hotel Tree

The Palace Hotel was the largest and most opulent in the world when built in 1875, an amazing acheivement for as new and remote a city as San Francisco. Carriages drove right inside, into a nine-story lobby with a circular drive.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Agassiz Tree, largest of the Calaveras Big Trees

Agassiz Tree, largest of the Calaveras Big Trees

Some Sequoias were named for military and political figures of the time, many of them now almost forgotten. This tree however, largest in the Calaveras groves, was named for eminent scientist Louis Agassiz.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

Burned side of the Agassiz Tree

Burned side of the Agassiz Tree

The Agassiz Tree is 25 feet (7.6 meters) in diameter and 250 feet (76 meters) tall. The side facing Big Trees Creek has a huge burn scar.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

Date photographed: May 13, 2016

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