The Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California may be a great place to visit any time of the year, but if you can go in the fall, that is when the foliage is green and golden and gorgeous. Accidental alliteration there but I’m keeping it because it’s true.
For just $9 a car the forest of giant trees is yours to explore for the day. Camping options are also available. Check out the CA Parks and Recreation Website if you’re looking for more info.
As a city girl, it’s always a treat for me to escape into nature for a bit. But, the Calaveras park was more than your typical forest, as it is full of Sierra Redwoods, which are considered the tallest trees in the world. And, on top of being the tallest trees, which range from 250 to 325 feet high, they are also some of the widest. The largest redwood in Calaveras Big Trees State Park is the Louis Agassiz tree. It is located in the South Grove. This tree is “only” 250 feet tall, but it is over 25 feet in diameter six feet above the ground!
The pine cones are huge too! Though be aware that when you pick them up you will get sap on your fingers. But it’s worth it as it shows the perspective of the size when you take photos with them. They look like any old pine-cone laying on the ground and what fun is that? They are so BIG!
There are numerous paths to explore. Maps are available at the main entrance with information about the trees and their history. While the sheer size of the trees are amazing, one of my favorites was actually the fallen trees that show that roots that once held the great beings to the ground. Be sure to bring a camera or have your phone cam handy – you probably wont return to the same place twice as the park immense.
Trees like this make you feel small. The lifetime of this forest is incredible. To be honest, we didn’t come to California to visit the Calaveras trees, it was for a wedding and to see family. But that’s the great thing about travel – the unexpected.
There was one tree called the “Big Stump” and you can actually walk inside of it as it is hollow! It’s a little difficult to take photos inside as it’s a little dark so make sure your hands are steady.
Have you seen the Calavaras Big Trees or another big tree forest in California? I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by Compass Bloom. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little adventure and hope it’s encouraged you to add California to your travel bucket list.
I’ve also found a great link on the site Trip Savvy that has a list of the the Best Places to See California’s Redwood Forests. Just more places to add my to list!
- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park: Located between Crescent City and Eureka, this redwood forest park is also home to a herd of Roosevelt Elk.
- Redwood National Park: Several redwood forest parks in one, it preserves almost half of the remaining old-growth redwood forests.
- Muir Woods National Monument: Just 12 miles north of San Francisco, Muir Woods is an easily accessible redwood forest with well-groomed trails most anyone can manage.
- Yosemite National Park: The Mariposa Grove is Yosemite’s largest redwood forest, home to specimens of giant sequoias. It’s 4 hours’ drive east of San Francisco. NOTE: The Mariposa Grove is closed for a restoration project and is expected to reopen in spring 2017. However, you can see other giant sequoias in the park.
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park: In the mountains south of San Francisco, it’s less crowded than Muir and has tent cabins where you could spend the night in the middle of the redwood forest.
- Petrified Redwood Forest: Nature turned this redwood forest to stone. It’s located just west of Calistoga at the north end of Napa Valley.
- Sequoia National Park: This is the place to go if your goal is to see the very biggest giant sequoia trees.