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We camped here in late June. The campground was quiet and well maintained. There is camping right on the water. There is not a lot of shade however and it is very hot in the summer and fall. Perfect for a night away or like we used it for, a trial trip with the kids.
Summary as of late June 2020:
-Super nice, helpful manager -Great location for Yosemite/Hetch Hetchy -Large, clean restrooms -Inconsistent electricity -Bear Lot is right next to Hwy 120 -Coyote Lot is literally a new gravel parking lot, 4x4 required -No wi-fi in Bear Lot or Coyote Lot
First of all, I have to say that the manager (owner? I never caught his name) was very kind and tried his best to accommodate everyone there. The location is great for trips to Yosemite, and if you’re lucky enough to reserve a spot in the ‘main loop’ (I don’t see this ability online), you’ll probably love it. The bathrooms are large and clean and there is laundry, a small playground, a small pool (closed during our stay), and a privately run store on-site.
We brought our 28’ toy hauler here at the end of June 2020. We had reserved a spot in Coyote Lot, which we were told over the phone would be no problem. Upon arrival, the manager had his doubts but told us to “put the truck in 4x4 and give it a go!” Coyote Lot looks like a newly, semi-leveled gravel parking lot with full hook-ups… no trees or shade. There were some longer spots, but there was no way our trailer would fit in the one we reserved. The lot also exits through a run-down residential grouping of trailers, some occupied and some abandoned.
The manager put us in Bear Lot, no question, after it was determined Coyote Lot would not work. This lot is a little more established than Coyote, but still a gravel parking lot with electricity (inconsistently for many) and water hook-ups. The lot is pretty level and separated from Hwy 120 by a wooden fence. There are some picnic tables and fire pits, but not enough for each spot. We didn’t end up having to use our generator like others did. There were tent campers and rv/trailers in this lot.
Side note: the Rainbow Pools swimming hole that is recommended on the website was WAY overcrowded and I do not suggest going unless maybe you go in the early morning. There were tons of people, tons of litter, and no respect for nature… very sad to see.
Photo are of Bear Lot
“Resort” might be an overstatement but it does have a pool, a few simple activities and a mostly nice staff (one lady was very rude and condescending when quoting the cancellation policy but this was remedied easily the next day by someone with better customer service skills), although it could use a little updating. Gravel roads make it dusty in the summertime. Views are not impressive for being close to Yosemite but it’s a decent base camp for trips into the park.
My brother and I hit the north grove campground for the first time this past weekend. My expectations weren’t high but this place was great.
The campground we chose was kind of close to the road which would have been the only real negative. The campground map makes it seem like the road was further away from the sites but I woke up a couple of times from road noise.
Our campsite had a fire ring, bbq, picnic table and bear box and still had a large flat spot for my huge tent as well as parking for my car.
The weather was great, no bugs to be found and plenty to do. I already want to go back next year but choose a site further from the road.
There are 4 cabins that can be rented from the Park Service however, they are not actually in the park. They are across the highway and up in the hills. We drove to the park but it's only short distance.
The cabins are great but expensive, $170 per night, so I deducted a star. They are rustic. No TV, no air conditioning (just ceiling fans), no bedding or towels. You bring your own.
I think this is my favorite California State Park. It is situated in the Calaveras Big Trees Giant Sequoia Grove.
The campsites are spacious with lots of room between you and other campers, hot showers, great Visitors Center, campfire programs, puppet shows, self guided hikes, Stanislaus River, Beaver Creek, lots of wildlife, astronomy programs (we even got to see the International Space Station go overhead) and so much more.
We saw a yearling doe with the longest eyelashes I have ever seen on a deer, a fledgling osprey with a little hick-up in his first flight, lots of squirrels, chipmunks, and other critters, birds of all different colors. Just delightful.
Big Trees is close to explore the many little charming Gold Country Towns in the area and if you want to go out to dinner every kind of cuisine you can imagine.
You will have an awesome time at Calaveras Big Trees.