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5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park vc_ca101_fiveamazingthings_calaverasbigtreesstatepark_videostill_1280x640
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5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park
The Gold Country area has rich prospecting history, cool outdoor adventures, and great wine

People travel from all over the world to marvel at the giant sequoia groves in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where the tallest specimens top out at around 325 feet. While you’re in the area, you’ll want to experience all that Calaveras County offers, from gold mining history and wineries to caving adventures and whitewater rafting.

Stay the night at a Gold Rush-era hotel

Back in the day, the Murphys Historic Hotel & Lodge drew the likes of Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant when they visited the Gold Country. Now this 1856 hotel gives guests a taste of Mother Lode history in its vintage rooms and at a saloon where you can belly up to a bar that’s more than 160 years old.

Get inside on a cave tour

How low can you go? On the Cave Walking Tour at Moaning Cavern Adventure Park, you’ll descend 165 feet below the surface and into an underground world of delicate stalagmites and unique formations. For a different kind of adventure, race above the treetops for 1,500 feet along the park’s twin ziplines. 

Go rafting on a Sierra Nevada river

Paddle through granite gorges and eight rapids on a six-mile Whitewater adventure with O.A.R.S. The unforgettable daylong trip along the North Fork of the Stanislaus River drops an average of 70 feet per mile and is best for intermediate to advanced paddlers. After all that excitement, mellow out with walks through the giant sequoia groves in Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

Learn about the Gold Rush

Pan for gold and discover a mother lode of mining history at the Angels Camp Museum. The museum is famous for its impressive collection of beautifully restored carriages and wagons, as well as an exhibit on Mark Twain. The Angels Camp saloon reportedly inspired the literary icon to write the famous tale “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

Taste wines in the heart of Murphys

Thanks to Val du Vino Winery and Allégorie, you won’t even have to leave Main Street in Murphys to find some of Calaveras County’s finest wines. Stop by a restored 1920s barn to try Val Vino’s varietals, such as its estate-grown Petite Sirah. At Allégorie, you’ll find sparkling wines and small-batch Zinfandels and can browse through its gallery showcasing acclaimed artists.

Also, don't miss...

While you’re in the area, catch a concert at a winery amphitheater—Ironstone Vineyards hosts a summer concert series that has featured artists such as Willie Nelson and Peter Frampton. Take a complimentary tour and taste wines before admiring the Gold Pocket, a remarkable 44-pound specimen of crystalline gold leaf in the winery’s Heritage Museum. 

 

Valley in California's Gold Country
Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover Gold Country

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11
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
30°
High
6°
Low
Dec - Feb
15°
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3°
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Mar - May
26°
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6°
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June - Aug
33°
High
13°
Low

Bumping up against the west side of the Sierra Nevada Range, on California’s eastern side, the Sierra foothills that make up the Gold Country are California Classics.

Discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the largest mass migration in U.S. history, with more than 300,000 pioneers heading west.

Here, the state’s past, present, and future merge into one unforgettable destination. Pan for gold like a 49er, bike through meadow-and-oak countryside, and raft a rapid-filled river, then explore historic towns with Old West architecture and a new generation of pioneers, opening up outstanding wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, inviting shops, and charming B&Bs.

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T3-Lorres Gold Mine tunnel_CTTC09111716003843
During California's Gold Rush, over 25 million ounces of gold were mined from the Sierra Nevada foothills.
5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park vc_spotlightsacramento_sacramento_st_rf_187559989_1280x640

Spotlight: Sacramento

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Golden past, bright future

Like many cities, California’s state capital is undergoing an energetic renaissance. Young adults looking for an urban vibe are moving into this...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
July

Back in 1854, the first California State Fair was held in San Francisco, with the cows standing on display in Mission Dolores. The fair moved to Sacramento for good a few years later, but the...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park CAStateFair_686x885
Lucas Himovitz
5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park vca_maps_goldcountry
A Shop Owner in the California Gold Country town of Nevada City,
Laura Flippen

Nevada City

Great food, wine and shows find a home in the Mother Lode

This forest-wrapped hamlet of handsome Victorian-era homes and tree-lined streets 60 miles north-east of...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T3-Lorres Gold Mine tunnel_CTTC09111716003843-1280x642
Lorres Gold Mine

Empire Mine State Historic Park

Tour a Gold Rush mansion then go underground

Get a one-two punch of experiences with a visit to this remarkable site in Grass Valley, roughly 60 miles north-east of Sacramento. First, spend...

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From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Auburn

Explore an ideally situated Gold Country town with a sporty side

History and modern culture merge with outdoor adventure in this appealing town on the west side of the Sierra Nevada. While Auburn has long been...

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Take on whitewater rapids, pan for gold and explore California history

Pluck a bit of gold from a riverbed scoured by the original ’49ers. Descend deep into the earth to check out unusual rock formations. Get your heart racing with a ride down whitewater rapids. For...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T12_MoaningCavern_Pfeiffer686x885
Rafters on the American River
Rob Brodman

The American River

Rush for gold, rush for adrenaline

The most popular white water-rafting river in the West, the American tumbles through the Gold Country, an inviting jumble of churning rapids, deep...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T7_WellsFargo_Columbia_Flippen_Webdam-1280x642
Laura Flippen

Columbia State Historic Park

Step into the 1850s in this Gold Country gem

With throw-back charm and a mine-full of historic artefacts, this park presents the Gold Rush in living, breathing colour. Costumed docents...

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Elegant estates, relaxed wineries, urban tasting rooms

Elegant estates at the end of country roads lined with vineyards? Check. Low-key wineries housed in converted barns? Check again. Urban wine trails with hip in-town tasting rooms? Yup,...

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5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T8_HelwigWinery_Flippen-1280x642
Laura Flippen

Sip Wine in the Gold Country

Sample vintages from old vines and new varietals

The roots of old Zinfandel grapevines run deep in this north-eastern region of California, with wine making here dating back to the Gold Rush days...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T9_JennyMartin_IMG_7844-1280x642
Jenny Martin

Murphys

Explore a blossoming country town with big-city appeal

Like San Francisco in the mid-1800s, Murphys was one of California’s richest boom towns, but this appealing town in Calaveras County still feels...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T11_GC_AppleFarm_Pfeiffer_1280x642
Jenny Pfeiffer

Apple Hill

Wine, beer, a bliss-out spa—and juicy, sweet apples

Autumn in the Gold Country means clear blue skies, fiery red grapevines and an invigorating snap in the air. It’s apple season too, with more than...

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Jenny Ella Pfeiffer

Moaning Cavern

Walk, climb, or rappel into a subterranean wonderland

Discovered by miners in 1851, this vertical chamber near Angels Camp is so massive it is the largest public cavern in California—big enough to...

Jamestown's Railtown 1897

Jamestown

Climb aboard majestic steam trains for a cruise through the Sierra foothills

It’s unbelievable but true: you can still wade into the shallows of the South Fork of the American River and find flecks of gold, just like the...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park VCW_D_GC_T8_HelwigWinery_Flippen
Sutter's Fort State Historic Park was the first permanent European settlement in the Central Valley.
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Amazing Agritourism Experiences

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in the south, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all, ...

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park SC_Chaffin_Eliaschickens_TPS_preview_686x885
Tai Power Seeff

Golden Chain Highway

5 Amazing Things to do Near Calaveras Big Trees State Park sanfranciscototruckee_stop4_nevadacity_rdvisitcaaug17-779_0

This forest-wrapped hamlet of handsome Victorian-era homes and tree-lined streets 60 miles/98 kilometers northeast of Sacramento is one of the Gold Country’s prettiest towns. Originally settled in 1849 as a mining camp, Nevada City...

Sep 7 - Sep 9
Rub elbows with craft brewers and sample all manner of Californian beers at this annual three-day event

Beyond being the state capital, Sacramento has staked its claim as one of California’s nerve centres for great craft beer. The annual...

Beer drinkers at the California Craft Beer Summit
Courtesy of California Craft Brewers Association
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