Calaveras Big Trees State Park
|Calaveras Big Trees State Park|
Hikers at the former
|Area||6,498 acres (26.30 km2)|
Calaveras Big Trees State Park is a
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
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 $25.5 million in 2017 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
The North Grove included the "Discovery Tree", noted by Augustus T. Dowd in 1852 and felled in 1853, leaving a giant stump, 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; 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.
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
The park houses two main campgrounds with a total of 129 campsites, six picnic areas and hundreds of miles of established trails.