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Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks


About the trees

Sequoia Tree in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National ParksAwe-inspiring giant sequoia trees are among the largest living things on earth, but the opportunity to experience them is rare. Approximately 75 groves exist, and only along the southern Sierra’s western slope on moist sites between about 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. Giant Forest, one of the largest groves, was saved from logging by the establishment of Sequoia National Park in 1890.

The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is the largest (by volume) tree in the world. The tree is 84 m (275 ft) tall, has a diameter of 11.1 m (36.5 ft) at the base, and was estimated in the early 1990s to weigh about 2,500 metric tons. Other trees range from 46 to 99 m (150 to 325 ft) in height, with diameters up to 9 m (30 ft). A count of annual rings on stumps has verified ages as great as 2,300 years. Some living trees, however, are believed to be close to 4,000 years old.

The National Park Service offers a list of the 30 biggest giant sequoias.

The leaves of the giant sequoia are scalelike and lie close to the branches. The bark of the trunk is fluted and is spongy in texture; in large trees it reaches a thickness of 60 cm (2 ft). The wood is light, coarse-grained, and highly resistant to insects and fire. Most of the giant sequoia groves are included within the National Park System or are otherwise under government protection—cutting of the big trees is prohibited.