Places to See Plants – Episode 3 – Placer Big Trees Grove

Placer Big Trees Grove

Southeast of Foresthill, Placer County

Originally authored by Karen Callahan

Placer Big Trees Grove is the northernmost grove of Big Trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the Sierra Nevada. Tahoe National Forest maintains a 160-acre Special Botanical Area for this grove of six Giant Sequoias, some estimated to be a thousand years old.

Several species of conifers are growing with the Sequoias and form an old-growth forest habitat. A short and easy half-mile trail with interpretative features circles through the grove. Along the trail can be found exceptional specimens of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana), as well as White Fir (Abies concolor), Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale), Greenleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula), Deerbrush (Ceanothus integerrimus), and Mountain Whitethorn (Ceanothus cordulatus). Among the herbaceous plants are Sierra Iris (Iris hartwegii), Pine Violet (Viola lobata), Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum), Star Flower (Lysimachia latifolia), White-veined Wintergreen (Pyrola picta), One-Sided Wintergreen (Orthilia secunda), Fawn Lily (Erythronium), and False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum).

To Get There: From the Foresthill exit off I-80, take Foresthill Road 16 miles to Foresthill. At Foresthill, turn right on Mosquito Ridge Road and go 27 miles to Road 16. Mosquito Ridge Road is a scenic, paved, winding road. Turn at the sign leading to Placer Big Trees. The trailhead is 0.5 mile from that point.

Elevation: 5,500′

Habitats: Upper Conifer Forest

Land Manager: Tahoe National Forest

Facilities: Restroom, drinking water, picnic tables, camping

Quad: Greek Store

GPS Coordinates: N39° 3.556′ W120° 34.297′

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