Calaveras Big Trees State Park

There is nothing like camping under the big trees in the high Sierra. This park has an elaborate trail system,an excellent visitor’s center and lends itself to an emphasis on camping skills, hiking, and Sierra natural and human history.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Calaveras Big Trees State Park – Camping under the big trees in the high Sierra.

The site lends itself to an emphasis on camping skills, hiking, and Sierra natural and human history. The park has an elaborate trail system and an excellent opportunities for environmental exploration.  At Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Giant Sequoias are just a short walk away. These amazing trees will astound you.

Why Calaveras?

1. The Giant Sequoias are one of the most amazing sights to see in the world. These are the largest organisms to ever live on earth, ever.

2. The visitor center is very informative and offers many hands-on learning displays.

3. The group camps are spacious and very close to the Giant Sequoia Grove.

Facilities & Activities

Located in the Sierra Nevada, the Stanislaus River also flows through this amazing state park

In addition to the popular North Grove, the Park features South Grove, a five mile hiking trip through a spectacular grove of giant sequoias in their natural setting. Other attractions in the Park include the Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, the Lava Bluff Trail and Bradley Trail.

The Park also has two campgrounds with a total of 129 campsites, six picnic areas and hundreds of miles of established trails.

Educational Overview

The program will allow students to explore the Giant Redwood forest of this oldest of California State Parks with experienced naturalists. Programs can emphasize Sierra geology (mountain building process, stream erosion, and glacial landscapes), seasonal forest ecology. Native American history and other themes arranged with the faculty of the school

The program of hiking and group activities will emphasize each student’s responsibility to the environment. The unique natural history of the Sierra mixed conifer forest and associated plants and animals (with special emphasis on seasonal ecological processes). The importance of national and state parks to all people and the sharing of impressions through group discussions and individual journal exercises are emphasized. This shared group experience will foster school spirit and increase group unity.

All Naturalists at Large programs include elements of group cooperation and individual physical challenge appropriate to the group. These challenges include destination hikes, explorations, and cooperative activities. Throughout the day, students will be involved with hands-on activities to increase their knowledge of the world around them and their ability to work together.

  • Sequoia National Park; A Sense of Place. How are our urban environments and Sequoia’s similar/different? How do urban areas impact the wilderness? Why are there National Parks?
  • Geology of the Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Birds of the Sierra
  • Tree identification
  • Plants and Animals
  • Black Bears
  • The conifer forest
  • High Sierra weather
  • Plant and animal adaptations
  • Glaciation vs. Mass Wasting
  • We will stress the importance of safe outdoor travel. Emphasis will be tailored to complement the goals of the school.
  • Leadership development and decision-making is enhanced through group building and initiative activities.