Exploring Calaveras Big Trees State Park from Arnold: Suggested Itineraries

Calaveras Big Trees State Park was established in 1931 to preserve the huge sequoia trees that inhabit the area. Many tourists visit the park each year to see the amazing trees and enjoy the beauty of the park. There are many things to do on your visit, and the park is only four miles from your Arnold bed and breakfast.

Visitor's Center
Hwy. 4
Arnold, CA 95223
(209) 795-3840

Located about four miles northeast of Arnold, the Calaveras Big Trees State Park Visitor's Center is bursting with activities. You can meet at the Visitor's Center for a guided tour of the trails or enjoy one of the activities designed for kids, including Junior Ranger programs and Junior Cubs. You can find out about special programs such as the Children's Hour on Thursday night, creek critters in Beaver Creek, as well as campfire programs in the evenings. The center's operating hours vary from season to season, so call ahead before you visit. Stop in to get a map of the park or buy some memorabilia from the gift shop.

Sunshine Rafting Adventures
PO Box 1445
Oakdale, CA 95361
(800) 829-7238

The Stanislaus River flows just off the south end of Calaveras Big Trees State Park and offers a variety of recreational activities. The river is a great place to do some whitewater rafting. Stop in at Sunshine Rafting Adventures, where you will begin your eight-mile float down the river. There are picnic areas at the beginning, middle and end of the float trip, and Sunshine Rafting can even provide catering for lunch if you like. This is a great place to relax with your family. You will pass historic Knight's Kerry Bridge, a covered bridge at the beginning of the trip. You will also go through the Russian rapids, which are slightly challenging rapids, Two Bluffs, Lover's Leap, Honolulu bar and a variety of other sites along the way. They recommend that you wear clothes that can get wet, and don't bring along anything that might fall into the river. Pets are not allowed in the boats and the sun is hot, so bring sunscreen, snacks and water to drink. The trip costs about $20 to $24 a person (2010 prices). Call ahead to make reservations.

The Grove Trails
1416 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

There are three main trails in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park. North Grove Trail is the shortest of the three, at about 1.5 miles in length. There are markers outlining the historical significance of places along the trail. You will also see Big Stump and Empire State Tree, and you'll cross Big Tree Creek. If you're looking for the larger grove of redwood trees, South Grove Trail is the best option. You will see more than 1,000 redwood trees. This moderate three- to five-mile trail has two elevated areas, one of which rises 260 feet. The Bradley Grove Trail is a 2.5 mile trail that rises about 280 feet in elevation. This trail goes through an area that was logged in the 1950s. You can see stumps, new trees growing and old logging roads along the trail before heading back to your Arnold Inn for the night.