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Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California 4, Arnold, CA, USA

Daily visitors 6am-10pm, camping 24 hrs March- November

$$

hike, road-trip, outdoor-adventures, camping

What a beautiful place to escape the city, sleep outside, and take in all the wonder that is to be found in this mountain area between Tahoe and Yosemite.

Just about 2 and a half hours from the bay is Calaveras Big Trees State Park. A perfect place for camping or a day outing (if your adventures tend to take more of a lodge arrangement there are plenty of options in the nearby town).

We stayed in the North Grove area (site 60- the best views in my unbiased opinion). Here you can tent camp or RV camp (reservations required). Some sites even allow for both. We had three families (7 adults, six kids, and three dogs) and two sites worked perfectly for us. Each cluster of sites has a bathroom plus shower and every few sites is a water spigot and fountain. The camp sites are laid out in a loop all amongst tall trees. In the middle of the loop is a huge meadow with a boardwalk. We loved walking the boardwalk to see the wildflowers, bumble bees, and wild berry plants. It was also a great short cut to the visitors center, campfire amphitheater, and the giant sequoia stump. The North Grove trailhead is near the visitors center as well (1.7 miles) but we didn’t walk it because the heat was just too much. There are kids activities in the morning and evening as well as family campfire at night and guided walking tours throughout the day. If you’re not camping in the park, there are picnic areas to use.

This is bear county!! We didn’t see any but our friends at the other site did! All food and anything with a scent has to be packed away in the bear boxes when not in use. 

Within driving distance there are lakes, creeks, caverns, and zip lines. We went to the closest lake both days and it was 100% what we needed to escape the heat and have some fun.

This was our second camping trip with kids. It went better than the first but it was still full of skipped naps, melt downs, bribery and late nights. If you’ve been thinking about camping… try it out! Calaveras big trees is a great place to start.

Features

Parking Restrooms Hiking Nature Center Camping
Thoughtfully captured by:
Jessie Fritzen
Jessie relocated to the Bay Area in 2013 to be a high school math teacher and since has gotten married, has two kids, and is now a SAHM, stay/slay at home mom. She enjoys working on her embroidery crafts and taking her kids to local playgrounds and regional nature parks, both of which were activities she became passionate about during the pandemic when she needed an outlet and a way to maintain her mental health. She loves encouraging local families and visitors alike to laugh, play, and explore. There’s so much to see and do so get outside and do it! #amom2kidsandapark
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