Arnold1445 Blagen Rd, Arnold
The cozy mountain town of Arnold lies right at the snow line—which means there’s plenty of white stuff in winter but not so much that it’s hard to get around. Visitors can snowshoe or cross-country ski (or mountain bike or hike in summer) on the Arnold Rim Trail, a 17-mile path that offers birds-eye views from craggy Cougar Rock and a peek at San Antonio Falls. (The trailhead is located at the Sierra Nevada Logging Museum, an interesting visit for history fans.) Nearby is Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where ancient trees have awed visitors since 1852. Wander among giant sequoias on the 1.5-mile North Grove Loop and admire the gnarled Old Bachelor tree and the Siamese Twins—two sequoias that are joined together. In the more remote South Grove, a longer trail follows Big Trees Creek to gargantuan trees like the 2,000-year-old Louis Agassiz Tree, the park’s largest specimen at 250 feet high and 25 feet across.