A Sunday Drive to Angel’s Camp, Lake Alpine & Big Trees State Park

For all posts related to our adventure see tag Big Trees 2016. Photos from our trip can be found in our Google photo album, Trip to Big Trees


Sunday morning we plotted our route: we’d stop in Angel’s Camp for lunch, visit the town museum, then drive to Big Trees State Park, check-in time at the cabins was 4 pm, so we had plenty of time.

We got an early start and arrived in Angel’s Camp around lunch time. After lunch at a local eatery, we went over to the Angel’s Camp museum. It was hot, in the 90s hot, and only the main building had AC. We visited the carriage house, the mining exhibit, and finished up at the main museum — in the AC.

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The chunks of quarts set into the concrete contain traces of gold. The volunteer told us that at one time, the streets of Angel’s Town were – at one point – literally “paved in gold.”

The main museum had several displays which answered the popular questions:

What is it with all the frogs in Calaveras County?  You can thank Mark Twain for that.

Why is it called “Angel’s Camp”? It was actually Henry Angell‘s camp, but along the way the extra “l” got lost.

Tip: pack a lunch and eat it at the Angel’s Camp museum picnic tables. The mining exhibit is much more interesting when there is a volunteer who can answer all your questions.

After Angel’s Camp we continued up to Lake Alpine, with a quick stop at Hell’s Kitchen Overlook along the way  — it was still too early to check in at Big Tree State Park, so we made the most of it.

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O was thrilled to see snow on one of the adjacent mountain peaks

Lake Alpine was a lovely spot to get out and walk around a bit. It looked ideal for kayaking (eventually we plan to do this), splashing around at the water’s edge and wading (bring/wear water shoes, the lake bed has tree debris).

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It was after four by that point, so after a brief walk along the shore we headed down the mountain to Big Trees State park to check into the cabin, where we quickly settled in and began figuring out what we were going to do with the rest of our trip.

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