|Calaveras Big Trees State Park|
|Location||Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Arnold, California|
|Coordinates||38°16′22″N120°17′26″W / 38.27278°N 120.29056°W Coordinates: 38°16′22″N120°17′26″W / 38.27278°N 120.29056°W|
|Area||6,498 acres (26.30 km2)|
|Elevation||4,560–4,920 ft (1,390–1,500 m)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a state park of California, United States, 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 giant sequoia was well known to Native American tribes living in its area. Native American names for the species include Wawona, toos-pung-ish and hea-mi-within, the latter two in the language of the Tule River Tribe.
The first reference to the giant sequoias of Calaveras Big Trees by Europeans is in 1833, in the diary of the explorer J. K. Leonard; the reference does not mention any specific locality, but his route would have taken him through the Calaveras Grove.  This discovery was not publicized. The next European to see the trees was John M. Wooster, who carved his initials in the bark of the 'Hercules' tree in the Calaveras Grove in 1850; again, this received no publicity. Much more publicity was given to the "discovery" by Augustus T. Dowd of the North Grove in 1852, and this is commonly cited as the discovery of both the grove and the species as a whole. 
The "Discovery Tree" was noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852 and felled in 1853, leaving a giant stump and a section of trunk showing the holes made by the augers used to fell it.  It measured 25 ft (7.6 m) in diameter at its base and was determined by ring count to be 1,244 years old when felled. A section of the trunk was toured with little fanfare while the stump was later turned into a dance floor. John Muir wrote an essay titled "The Vandals Then Danced Upon the Stump!" to criticize the felling of the tree. 
In 1854, a second tree named the "Mother of the Forest" was skinned alive, of its bark in 1854, to be reassembled at exhibitions. This mortally wounded the tree, since outer layer of protective bark was taken away, tree lost its resistance to fire. If you look closely there are still horizontal saw marks in the wood to remove the bark. The tree didn't survive long after, having shed its entire canopy by 1861.  In 1908, with the tree unprotected by its fire resistant bark, a fire swept through the area and burned away much of what was left of the tree.  Today, only a fire-blackened snag remains of the Mother of the Forest.
In early 1880s,   a tunnel was cut through the compartments by a private land owner at the request of James Sperry, founder of the Murphys Hotel, so that tourists could pass through it.      The tree was chosen in part because of the large forest fire scar. The Pioneer Cabin Tree, as it was soon called, emulated the tunnel carved into Yosemite's Wawona Tree, and was intended to compete with it for tourists.   
Despite or due to the 1850s exhibitions, the destruction of the big trees was met with public outcry.  In 1864, on introducing the bill that would become the Yosemite Grant, senator John Conness opined that even after people had seen the physical evidence of the Discovery Tree and the Mother of the Forest, they still did not believe the trees were genuine, and that the areas they were from should be protected instead.  However, this did not guarantee any legal protection for the trees of Calaveras Grove.
By the turn of the century the land was owned by several lumber companies, with plans to cut the remaining trees down, as sequoia and giant sequoia with their thick trunks were seen as great sources of lumber at the time.  This again caused a chorus of public outcry by locals and conservationists, and the area continued to be treated as a tourist attraction. The Yosemite protection was gradually extended to most sequoias,  and Calaveras Grove was joined to California State Parks in 1931.  
Parcels of land that would later become the state park and nearby national park were optioned by lumberman Robert P. Whiteside in January 1900, with the intention of logging. A protracted battle to preserve the trees was launched by Laura Lyon White and the California Club. Despite legislation in 1900 and 1909 authorizing the federal government to purchase the property, Whiteside refused to sell the land at the offered price, preferring its higher valuation as parkland. It was not until 1931 that Whiteside's family began to divest the property, beginning with the North Grove. 
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 US$2.8 million, equivalent to US $28.3 million in 2021 dollars), have been added to the park to bring the total area to over 6,400 acres (2,600 ha). The North Grove contains about 100 mature giant sequoias; the South Grove, about 1,000.  According to Naturalist John Muir the forest protected by the park is: "A flowering glade in the very heart of the woods, forming a fine center for the student, and a delicious resting place for the weary." 
The North Grove includes several noteworthy giant sequoias:
The South Grove also included several noteworthy giant sequoias:
Other attractions of Calaveras Big Trees include the Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, the Lava Bluff Trail, and Bradley Trail. 
The park 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. 
The park is open year-round. The main road through the park is closed during the winter season. The North Grove Area is easily accessible during the winter season.
There are no public transportation options to the park at this time. The closest bus stop is the Arnold Public Library in Arnold, California.
The park is accessible via Upper Moran road at gate 15. There is no public parking. Consider this access option if entering the park on foot, bicycle, snowshoe or cross-country ski.
Sequoiadendron giganteum, also known as the giant sequoia, is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron, and one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods, classified in the family Cupressaceae in the subfamily Sequoioideae, together with Sequoia sempervirens and Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive trees on Earth. The common use of the name sequoia usually refers to Sequoiadendron giganteum, which occurs naturally only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California.
Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, the park was greatly expanded and renamed to Kings Canyon National Park on March 4, 1940. The park's namesake, Kings Canyon, is a rugged glacier-carved valley more than a mile (1,600 m) deep. Other natural features include multiple 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks, high mountain meadows, swift-flowing rivers, and some of the world's largest stands of giant sequoia trees. Kings Canyon is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park, and both parks are jointly administered by the National Park Service as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
General Grant Grove, a section of the greater Kings Canyon National Park, was established by the U.S. Congress in 1890 and is located in Fresno County, California. The primary attraction of General Grant Grove is the giant sequoia trees that populate the grove. General Grant Grove's most well-known tree is called General Grant, which is 267 ft (81 m) tall and the third-largest known tree in the world. The General Grant tree is over 1,500 years old and is known as the United States' national Christmas tree. General Grant Grove consists of 154 acres (0.62 km2) and is geographically isolated from the rest of Kings Canyon National Park.
Nelder Grove, located in the western Sierra Nevada within the Sierra National Forest in Madera County, California, is a Giant sequoia grove that was formerly known as Fresno Grove. The grove is a 1,540-acre (6.2 km2) tract containing 54 mature Giant Sequoia trees, the largest concentration of giant sequoias in the Sierra National Forest. The grove also contains several historical points of interest, including pioneer cabins and giant sequoia stumps left by 19th century loggers.
Mariposa Grove is a sequoia grove located near Wawona, California, United States, in the southernmost part of Yosemite National Park. It is the largest grove of giant sequoias in the park, with several hundred mature examples of the tree. Two of its trees are among the 30 largest giant sequoias in the world. The grove closed on July 6, 2015, for a restoration project and reopened on June 15, 2018.
The Chandelier Tree in Drive-Thru Tree Park is a 276-foot (84 m) tall coast redwood tree in Leggett, California with a 6-foot-wide (1.8 m) by 6-foot-9-inch-high (2.06 m) hole cut through its base to allow a car to drive through. Its base measures 16 ft (4.9 m) diameter at breast height (chest-high). A historic sign put up in or before the 1930s claims a height of 315 feet high and 21 feet wide, but a contemporary measurement by a Certified Arborist experienced with tall redwoods and using a laser rangefinder found the tree to be 276 feet high and 16 feet in diameter. It is unknown if the tree was topped by Nature in between the measurements.
The Wawona Tree, also known as the Wawona Tunnel Tree, was a famous giant sequoia that stood in Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California, USA, until February 1969. It had a height of 227 feet (69 m) and was 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter at the base.
Mother of the Forest was a giant sequoia in the Sierra Nevada that was stripped of its bark and used as an exhibition tree. Discovered in 1852 by Augustus T. Dowd, it was the second largest tree in Calaveras Grove, standing at 328 feet tall with a circumference of 93 feet. During the California Gold Rush, its bark was harvested and exhibited in New York and London. However, the remaining tree was eventually destroyed by fire in 1908, leaving only a fire-blackened snag.
Converse Basin Grove is a grove of giant sequoia trees in the Giant Sequoia National Monument in the Sierra Nevada, in Fresno County, California, 5 miles (8 km) north of General Grant Grove, just outside Kings Canyon National Park. Once home to the second-largest population of giant sequoias in the world, covering 4,600 acres (19 km2) acres, the grove was extensively logged by the Sanger Lumber Company at the turn of the 20th century. The clearcutting of 8,000 giant sequoias, many of which were over 2,000 years old, resulted in the destruction of the old-growth forest ecosystem.
Mountain Home Grove is a grove of giant sequoia trees located in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and includes some of the largest trees in the world.
Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae. Common names include coast redwood, coastal redwood, and California redwood. It is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living 1,200–2,200 years or more. This species includes the tallest living trees on Earth, reaching up to 115.9 m (380.1 ft) in height and up to 8.9 m (29 ft) in diameter at breast height. These trees are also among the longest-living organisms on Earth. Before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred naturally in an estimated 810,000 ha along much of coastal California and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon within the United States.
Balch Park is a county park in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California that features a grove of Giant Sequoia trees. It also has archaeological sites relating to the early Native Americans of the area, and to the late 19th- and early 20th-century logging industry that cut down many of the big trees in the area.
The Pioneer Cabin Tree, also known as The Tunnel Tree, was a giant sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California. It was considered one of the U.S.'s most famous trees, and drew thousands of visitors annually. It was estimated to have been more than 1,000 years old, and measured 33 feet (10 m) in diameter; its exact age and height were not known. The tree was topped before 1859. It fell and shattered during a storm on January 8, 2017.
The Railroad Fire was a wildfire that burned in between the communities of Sugar Pine and Fish Camp in the Sierra National Forest in California, United States. The fire was reported on August 29, 2017 and burned 12,407 acres (50 km2) before it was fully contained on October 24. It occurred during the historic 2011–2017 California drought. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
The Washburn Fire was a wildfire that burned in Yosemite National Park near the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. The fire was reported on July 7, 2022, in the lower Mariposa Grove area near the Washburn trail, for which the fire is named. The fire quickly attracted national attention due in part to the role the Mariposa Grove played in the establishment of Yosemite National Park and the National Park Service.
The Forest King was a giant sequoia tree located in Nelder Grove, California that was cut down in 1870 and taken on a touring exhibit in the United States. This tree was the first of its kind to be felled for exhibition, unlike earlier trees such as the Mother of the Forest from Calaveras Grove where only bark was removed. This act sparked public outcry and would lead to the founding of national parks and the protection of giant sequoias through the nascent conservation movement.
The Discovery Tree also known as The Mammoth Tree was a giant sequoia tree located in Calaveras Grove, California. In the spring of 1852, A.J. Dowd stumbled upon a hidden grove in the Sierra Nevada, and with it, the existence of giant sequoias was revealed to the world. Among the magnificent trees he encountered stood the Discovery Tree, a towering 300-foot giant with a base measuring over 24 feet in diameter. But this natural wonder would soon become a symbol of humanity's destructive impact. The Discovery Tree was cut down and shipped to San Francisco and New York City for exhibition, its grandeur reduced to a mere spectacle for profit. Yet, its legacy lived on as a rallying cry for conservation efforts. The tree's fate played a crucial role in the introduction of the Yosemite Grant to Congress, an act that helped preserve and protect these ancient giants for future generations. Today, the stump of the Discovery Tree remains a popular attraction in Calaveras Grove, which draws 200,000 visitors each year.
The "Pioneers' Cabin" had a large burnt cavity, which this year has been so enlarged by workmen, that a stage could easily pass through it with enough of the tree left on each side to support it in health.
The tree was "barely alive" due to the hole punched through it in the 1880s.
From the Calaveras grove some sections of a fallen tree were cut during and pending the great World's Fair that was held in London some years since. One joint of the tree was sectionized and transported to that country in sections, and then set up there. The English who saw it declared it to be a Yankee invention, made from beginning to end; that it was an utter untruth that such trees grew in the country; that it could not be