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Top 5 Family Adventures at Calaveras Big Trees State Park

It's like Stairway to Heaven for people who love travel, art, nature, music, and getting outside for sweet adventures. Not much is better than an epic roadtrip and we've got just the ticket to get you ready.

Top 5 Hits for Family Adventures

  1. Hike the North Grove Trail
  2. Walk across a giant fallen sequoia
  3. Picnic, slow down and use your senses. Smell the trees and air, Listen for birds and sounds of the forest. Feel the bark of the different trees
  4. Jump in or play in the Stanislaus River
  5. Explore,hike and climb along the rocks the Stanislaus river

Pro Tips

  • Season: March - September
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Needed: Day trip
  • Cost: $10 per vehicle or CA State Parks Pass
  • Swim Holes on Stanislaus River are located about 100 feet after the River Picnic Area by the bridge. There is parking on both sides of the bridge, the sign will say River Access Parking.
  • There are three Different stairways that take you down to the river swimming areas.
  • A second swim area is located at Beaver Creek Picnic area that is shallower for smaller kids
  • Use the printed trail guides at the start of the trails as you walk around the groves. They look wordy, but are really well done and help you to understand the history of the forest and what you are seeing.
  • Encourage kids to ask questions to guides in the Free visitor center museum.
  • Bring life jackets for kids if you are thinking of jumping off of rocks near the bridge. The river flows faster near the rocks.
  • The North Grove provides trail guides at the trailhead. Use it as you walk the trail, it is really well done.
  • Visit the Visitor Center before you hike the north grove. It will teach you about the sequoias and other trees in the area. As you hike try and identify the different trees.

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Sequoias like the ones at Calaveras Big Trees State Park are more than just big trees--by volume, they’re the most enormous living thing on Earth, with secrets and adaptations that allow them to grow up to 325 feet tall and live for up to 3,000 years. Perhaps even more impressive is the way a sequoia responds to adversity. These plants reproduce through seeds found in small, green cones at the top of the tree. In order to open and drop these seeds, the cones need the help of something that would kill most trees: fire. Wildfires dry out a sequoia’s cones, cracking them open and allowing them to drop their seeds hundreds of feet to the forest floor.

Remembering these characteristics will help you appreciate the two beautiful groves of sequoias at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. This appreciation is very important, because a lack of it has caused irreparable harm to the groves in the past. American Indians respected these groves for hundreds of years, but the Europeans that discovered them in the 1800s did not share this respect. They cut down the largest tree in the park, the “Discovery Tree”, and used its stump as a dance floor. The second largest tree, the “Mother of the Forest”, was skinned, allowing it to die from burns. You can choose to be kind and considerate towards nature by picking up trash and staying on trails at this park, as well as learning some of the things that make sequoias special in this section’s learning topic.

Color & Discover Coloring Book Collection

These are so much more than your average coloring book. Each page includes detailed hand drawn illustrations of landscapes, plants, and animals. They're also full of fun facts so that you can learn about everything you color. Great for adults and kids that love to geek out on nature or just relax doing something fun.