Tag Archives: Calaveras Big Trees State Park

National parks shut down — where should I go?

NPS closed for business
NPS closed for business

So the Federal Government has shut down as the lawmakers continue their spat.  And with it the doors have been shut on your National Parks. By some estimates, 715,000 people would have visited the parks every day during October. If you live here, you can always wait it out. But if you’re here on vacation, what should you do?

Fortunately here in California we have a wonderful state park system and if you’re here to see the redwoods and giant sequoia in the National Parks you have some great options.

Muir Woods National Monument is closed — consider heading a little further north to Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Or for a real treat, head south to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It’s the oldest park in the state park system and home to the tallest tree south of Humboldt County!

Yosemite National Park is closed — it’s tough to find a stand-in for the valley or the vast backcountry wilderness, but if you came to see the Giant Sequoia groves you are in luck.  A little further north is Calaveras Big Trees State Park. This jewell of a park has two incredible sequoia groves. Not only will you see some amazing forest giants, but you’ll get to stand on the Discovery stump and learn how the destruction of the tree spurred the movement to save the redwoods.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is closed — while nothing compares to walking the trails in Giant Forest, you could always head north to Calaveras Big Trees. Closer to the park is Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest with ancient sequoia, rock art, and a host of other significant cultural resources it’s well worth a visit.

Redwood National Park is closed — this one is complex. Given it’s partnership with the state park system, although the National Park is closed,  many of the best trails are actually in the state park much of it is likely still open. And fall is a wonderful time of year to get into Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. For me, nothing beats Prairie Creek Redwoods — a rich, verdant forest, wild coast and of course the iconic elk.

Towering Redwoods in Redwood National and State Parks
Towering Redwoods in Redwood National and State Parks

Places I love: Calaveras Big Trees State Park

160 years ago The Mammoth Tree was felled. It was heard — around the world. The shock of its felling helped spark the conservation movement in America and indeed around the world. It’s one of my favorite places to be — it’s beautiful in every season and has such a great story to share with us even today. You can read more in Leo Hickman’s piece in the Guardian.