PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Hidden inside the vastness of the Tahoe National Forest, six giants reside. They are California’s northernmost grove of Sequoia trees, located in the Placer County Big Trees Grove.
Following the winding and picturesque Mosquito Ridge Road 20 miles east of Foresthill, you will find the grove nestled among Douglas firs and sugar pines.
As of January 2023, Mosquito Ridge Road has been closed as damage from the 2022 Mosquito Fire and strong winter storms in 2023 seriously damaged the roadway.
To access the grove until Mosquito Ridge Road is reopened, drivers can continue down Foresthill Road towards Mumford Bar Trailhead. Passing the trailhead, continue along Foresthill Road until is junction with Robinson Flat Road.
Turn right onto Robinson Flat Road and continue until it meets with the northern part of Mosquito Ridge Road. Turn right onto Mosquito Ridge Road and follow it until you begin to signs for the Big Tree Grove.
This detour will add at least another 20 minutes to the drive.
These centuries-old redwoods were first discovered in 1855 by a prospector and in 1892 were determined by the state to be important enough to be protected for future generations.
Not only are these trees the most northern of their kind in the California mountain ranges, they are also the most isolated, with the next Sequoia grove being 147 miles away by car at the Calaveras Big Tree State Park. It is also the smallest Sequoia grove, with only six trees.
Each of the six trees is named after a general that was involved in World War I. The dedication of the grove was held in August of 1920.
The grove sits inside of a large bowl, where a small seasonal creek runs through that provides a lush area of vegetation that is a stark contrast to the surrounding forest.
There is a cluster of four redwoods, Haig/Lardner Group, towards the center of the bowl, with two of the larger trees, the Joffre Tree and the Pershing Tree, standing isolated from the rest of the grove.
There are two trails the visitors can take, but the best trail to see and admire these wooden skyscrapers is the 1.4-mile Big Tree Nature Trail.
This trail starts with a gradual downhill walk that takes visitors into the bowl.
The trail then levels out and loops around the inner portion of the bowl allowing for some great views of the grove and the two large fallen redwoods that went down in 1861.
According to a 1992 article in American Forests, the natural reproduction of these Sequoias was discovered in the area of the grove.
The article said that a 20-foot-tall Sequoia tree was found growing near the base of a dead white fir and after testing was dated to be around 85 years old.
For those planning to visit the grove, consider bringing sturdy shoes and plenty of food and water.