Giant sequoias naturally grow at 4,000 feet to 8,000 feet elevation either in singles or in groups scattered for a distance of 250 miles along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Its close cousin, the redwood, on the other hand, grows near the Pacific Ocean along the northern California coast in 450 miles long.
Giant sequoias are found in 75 areas in California. The southernmost grove, the Deer Creek, is located in Sequoia National Forest in Bakersfield, while the northernmost grove is the Placer County Grove located in the Tahoe National Forest, which happens to be only an hour drive from where we are at. Score!
PLACER BIG TREES
The Placer County (Sequoia) Grove was discovered in 1855 by Joe Matlock, a gold prospector in the Sierra Nevada. This sequoia grove is the smallest in concentration with only six (6) giant sequoias growing here. The largest is 12 feet (360 centimeters) in diameter, which I have read is still not that big compared to the other sequoias. These six sequoias may not be that big, but they are still estimated to be 1,000 to 2,000 years old. In addition to sequoias, there are also big trees in the grove that includes sugar pine and Douglas fir which are thought to be 500 to 600 years old.
PLACER COUNTY BIG TREE GROVE NATURE TRAILS
There are two walking trails at this grove. The BIG TREES TRAIL is a half-mile-long loop that takes about 30 minutes. The FOREST VIEW TRAIL is a larger, 1.6-mile loop that reconnects with the Big Trees trail. We chose the Big Trees trail because it leads directly to the grove, and it is shorter. ;)
BIG TREES TRAIL
The trail was easy and could have been an easy 30-minute slow pace. However, my husband and I took our time and enjoyed every minute of it. There were still some snow on the ground too which we added beauty to the sight.
In the midst of other giant trees like Douglas fir or sugar pine, I wasn’t surprised to see myself struggle with identifying sequoia trees considering I have zero dendrology or botany background.
The Placer County Big Trees Grove is about 40 minutes to its closest town, Foresthill. There are breathtaking views on the way to the grove, some are on the edge of a cliff, whicih definitely added fun to the trip!