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Best Trails

The Upper Natural Bridge Trail of Calaveras County

Vallecito, CA

Hiking
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Walking

The Upper Natural Bridge Trail of Calaveras County is a 2 mile out and back trail located near Vallecito, California that features a cave and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking & walking and is accessible from year-round.

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Recent Reviews

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natural bridges
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5 Completed 1 Reviews

Great hike for little kids, not to long and they LOVE swimming the caves. Water is cold but worth it.

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park: North Grove Trail
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1 Completed 1 Reviews

Fun trail especially for the kids. Easy walk. Lots of people so the trail can get quite crowded. Summertime is the busiest. Winter is a great time to go.

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park: North Grove Trail
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31 Completed 28 Reviews

A bit crowded but an experience none the less. And with the historical markers it makes it a great hike to take the whole family on. Educational and a little exercise make for a good family activity.

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Bear Trap Basin Loop
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31 Completed 28 Reviews

This was a very quiet and uncrowded trail. You get to enjoy the majestic sequoias in all their glory without the narrative of other travelers that you encounter on some of the easier hikes in this area. This is one I would do again if I were to have the chance to hike in that area again.

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park: North Grove Trail
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11 Completed 3 Reviews

Great, toddler friendly trail. Lots of fun photo ops and opportunities for exploration.

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park: North Grove Trail
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5 Completed 4 Reviews

Flat, easy, interesting. I pushed an elderly person in a wheelchair. I would not call it handicapped accessible but we made it. The only real problem for the chair was that it was a little muddy in places due to recent rain and a little rough in places. But it was an easy walk and great day.

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park: North Grove Trail
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3 Completed 2 Reviews

Absolutely wonderful trail. Very easy. We hiked it for endurance and got this hour long trail done in 30 mins. However, if you take the time to check out the scenary (the giant Sequoias are beautiful), give yourself an hour. Totally will be doing the other trails here as well. The Visitor Center's employees and volunteers are wonderful. Park costs $10 to get in..And no dogs allowed. But very family friendly.

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Calaveras Dome Trail
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3 Completed 3 Reviews

The Calaveras Dome Camping Adventure
Stanislaus National Forest

(June 18, 2013 through June 21, 2013)

Tuesday: Annie and I Left Vacaville at 12:30 AM and drove Interstate-5 to State Route-4 out of Stockton. We had just purchased 4-new shocks for the Jeep4-days ago and were eager to put them to work on the rough roads we read abounded in the Stanislaus National Forest. We then headed East through Copperopilis and arrived in Angels Camp, on Highway-49 at around 6:00PM. We had booked a Travelodge Motel and had planned to spend the night. We drove down Highway-49 into Downtown Angels Camp, to see the sights and get something to eat. The shops were few, and most were closed. We asked locally and tried out the Sidewinder Grill. The place is kind of a spin off (out?) of a Mexican restaurant, except my burrito was sort of tasteless. We would later discover what really tasteless food was!

Wednesday: Continued East to Hathaway Pines where we obtained our campfire permit from the District Ranger Station. Now only we were an hour from our planned entry into the forest through the area known as of Cabbage Patch. We quickly found trail-marker 7N09, a trail that would be with us most of the day. The trail got progressively worse as we neared the top of Calaveras Dome. We elected to forego the “spur” up to the top of the dome for a supposedly better view of the dome from the Mokelumne River, where we had planned to camp for the evening.

Now the trail turned into “very rocky” with ruts that looked like the Grand Canyon (OK, a slight exaggeration). We were soon dropping rapidly from the summit area, down to the river. We eventually could see the river through the trees and finally saw the sign, “Moore Creek Campground”, our home away from home. We drove in and selected an open area that was flat, with a large fire-pit. The sad fact was, the area was considered to be a high-risk fire area and we were not allowed to have open fires.

We pitched our small backpacking tent, got out the “Camp Box”, and fired up the Coleman lantern and stove. We had decided ahead of time that we would survive on dehydrated backpacking food (Mountain House brand). Tonight’s diner was Chicken & Rice. It was actually pretty darn good. Afterwards, by the glow of our lantern, Annie and I sat in our camp chairs, drinking some fresh-brewed coffee, before retiring for the night. Strange, but I don’t remember that tent being sooooo small -- I almost tied myself into a square knot getting into my sleeping bag.

Thursday: An absolutely beautiful morning greeted us. We actually slept to around eight-thirty. Because Annie thought of bringing real food with us for the first morning, we abandoned our solidarity with dehydrated foods and dined on real eggs & bacon. While we eat, I said that I’d be up to spending another day/night here and exploring the Salt Springs Reservoir area located further up the trail. With Annie in agreement, we cleaned the morning dishes and headed out for the day’s adventure.

We pulled out of the campground and continued on yesterday’s trail. About a half-mile down the trail, we encountered one of the roughest sections yet. Of course, I choose the wrong “path” to go through it and got banged around a little and had to stop. I backed up and tried it again, this time going right and hugging the shoulder. Success!!!

In another half-mile we came to the bridge crossing the Mokelumne River. Now the rough dirt and rutted road became paved. We T-boned into a intersection and turned right along the still paved road and took it for 3-miles where it dead-ended at Salt Springs Reservoir. There is also a listed, very small, “campground” there. When I say “small”, I mean no more than two chipmunk families could camp in the area at any one time. The reservoir, long and narrow, is a nice place to be. Calaveras Dome looks down on it as does a huge out-cropping (It should be classified “a dome”). We walked up and over the dam along a path of flat boulders, right down to the water. We returned to the Jeep and headed back towards the bridge we had crossed. At this point we discovered we had a metal-on-metal sound coming from the jeeps back-end. Not giving it a lot of thought, we continued.

Somehow, we (I) missed the bridge and we drove further out the road. At about 4 miles we decided that we had missed the left turn to the bridge and backtracked. At about 3.6 miles we came upon the lost bridge and crossed the river towards camp. We again had to cross that really bad area where the Jeep had to be in 4WD-low. We banged and bumped across that badly rutted section and then quickly arrived at our campground.

Tonight, we had the dehydrated Beef Stroganoff dinner and of course, … coffee. Again, the dehydrated food was pretty darn good. After dinner, we had more coffee then set about gathering our camping equipment (that by now was pretty spread-out) into small staging areas for tomo

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Slickrock Trail
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9 Completed 4 Reviews

I do not think I actually found the trail. There was a large tree down at the beginning of Cn45 and I walked in from there. The road forks early on; one way flat with power lines along it, one way up hill. I chose uphill and had a nice hike. I turned around after an hour. I believe another 20-30 minutes and I would have reached the ridge and had a nice view of the Sierras to the north.

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Calaveras Big Trees State Park: North Grove Trail
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13 Completed 4 Reviews

Can get crowed during the summer. It was sprinkling and there were still quit a few people there.

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