Calaveras Big Trees State Park
|Calaveras Big Trees State Park|
Hikers at the foot of a giant sequoia
|Location||Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties, California, USA|
|Nearest city||Arnold, California|
|Area||6,498 acres (2,630 ha)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a state park of California, USA, preserving two groves of giant sequoia trees. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Arnold, California in the middle elevations of the Sierra Nevada. It has been a major tourist attraction since 1852, when the existence of the trees was first widely reported, and is considered the longest continuously operated tourist facility in California. The area was declared a state park in 1931 and now encompasses 6,498 acres (2,630 ha) in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties.
Over the years other parcels of mixed conifer forests, including the much larger South Calaveras Grove of Giant Sequoias (purchased in 1954 for $2.8 million USD), have been added to the park to bring the total area to about 26 square kilometres (6,400 acres). The North Grove contains about 100 mature giant sequoias; the South Grove, about 1,000.
The North Grove included the 'Discovery Tree' noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852 and felled in 1853, leaving a giant stump which is the only remainder of the tree. It measured 25 feet in diameter at its base and was determined by ring count to be 1,244 years old when felled. At the time the grove was discovered by white explorers the Discovery Tree was measured by Dowd and others as the largest tree, and It was cut down to advertise the tourist attraction. Today only a fire-blackened snag remains of the Mother of the Forest, and the Discovery Tree has been renamed the Big Stump, and the largest tree in the North Grove today is the Empire State tree, which measures 30 feet at ground level and 23 feet at 6 feet above ground.<North Grove Guidebook, Calaveras Big Trees State Park>
In addition to the popular North Grove, the park also now includes the South Grove, with a 5-mile (8.0 km) hiking trip into a grove of giant sequoias in their natural setting. The South Grove includes the Louis Agassiz tree, 250 feet (76 m) tall and more than 25 feet (7.6 m) in diameter 6 feet (1.8 m) above ground, the largest tree in the Calaveras groves. It is named after zoologist Louis Agassiz (1807–1873).
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 hundreds of miles of established trails.
Other activities include cross-country skiing, evening ranger talks, numerous interpretive programs, environmental educational programs, junior ranger programs, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and summer school activities for school children. Dogs are welcome in the park on leash in developed areas like picnic sites, campgrounds, roads and fire roads (dirt). Dogs are not allowed on the designated trails, nor in the woods in general.
- List of sequoia groves
- List of California state parks
- Mother of the Forest
- Calaveras Big Tree National Forest
- "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks: 18. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "How Big are Big Trees?". California State Parks. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
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