The Largest Sequoia Tree in the World

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According to its size, the General Sherman tree is the largest tree in the world. Its base is over 36 feet in circumference and the tree is 275 feet tall. Sequoia trunks are quite wide at the top.

The Sherman tree has a circumference of 17.5 feet and is 60 feet above the base. While there are other trees in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks that are quite large and wide, none are as heavy or wide as this behemoth.

“I took a walk in the woods and came out high above the trees.” -Henry David Thoreau

Each year, it grows enough wood to form a new tree that is 60 feet tall. If you’re having trouble understanding the scale, you’re not alone. A branch of General Sherman is about 7 feet in diameter. It dwarfs the majority of vegetation east of the Mississippi River in size.

Let’s learn all about this beautiful natural oddity that attracts visitors from all over the world!

History of General Sherman Tree

The General Sherman Tree, the largest living single-stemmed tree on Earth, is located in Sequoia National Park. The tree is estimated to be 2,300-2,700 years old. How was the name “General Sherman Tree” chosen?

What an interesting story! The tree is believed to have been found in 1879 by James Wolverton, a cowboy and fur trapper. James had never seen such a large tree. He previously served as a lieutenant in the 9th Indiana Calvary under General William Tecumseh Sherman. So he decided to name the tree after his commanding officer.

The plot thickens.

At this point the story starts to get interesting. Kavya Colony, a socialist utopian society, investigated the area in 1884. For logging purposes, they were looking for trees. They found this huge tree and named it after Karl Marx, the man who created communism.

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After the establishment of Sequoia National Park in 1890, troops were sent to the area. Did the army give the tree a new name?

The only supporting documentation was the Park Guidebook originally issued in 1921. James Wolverton and General Sherman are the subjects of Tree Guide’s narrative. This is the earliest account of the Wolverton Story to be published.

42 years after it was reported, it suddenly became public. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether a report is accurate.

General Sherman's tree is 2,300-2,700 years old.
The General Sherman tree is estimated to be 2,300-2,700 years old.


Forest fire protection

California’s dry, flammable vegetation and climate are major factors in the state’s high rate of wildfires. Large-scale wildfires that can be devastating to environments and neighborhoods across the state occur almost every year in California.

Due to property damage, poor air quality, extreme heat and other impacts, these fires routinely and unfortunately force California residents to leave their homes. The state is moving forward to protect people and trees as much as possible.

September in the Golden State saw the KNP Complex fire, a lightning-caused wildfire, move upward into the Giant Forest, burning the General Sherman Tree, several large trees covered in a protective aluminum coating. is one of the sequoias.

Despite the fact that giant sequoias are fire-dependent and can withstand the heat of moderate fires due to their dense, insulating bark, more serious fires have injured or killed countless sequoias in the past six years.

Additional measures were taken to avoid burning through tree bases and igniting sensitive fire scars, which are indicators of multiple fires these trees have already experienced.

Firefighters noticed that wildfire activity changed when it reached previously burned areas because the Giant Forest had undergone multiple controlled burns in recent years. Due to the fire’s moderate behavior, firefighters were able to build a fire line near the fire to prevent it from spreading into the Giant Forest.

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Firefighters climbed further around the base of the General Sherman tree using wooden braces and then wrapped protective foil over the lower 10-15 feet of the tree. The substance, which was also used to protect buildings, reduces the likelihood that fire will spread to exposed areas such as old burn marks.

California forest fires
Wildfires in California over the past six years have injured or killed numerous giant sequoias.

© Bhatti

Visiting the world’s largest sequoia

Early morning is the best time to visit General Sherman Tree from August to October, when the weather conditions are generally pleasant and the weather is good. Winter is also a great time to see the fascinating combination of snow and red sequoia bark.

“A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral.” Theodore Roosevelt

During this season, wildfires are still a significant threat, so make sure your arrangements are flexible and that you have a backup plan in case they affect your trip.

General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, California
General Sherman’s tree is 17.5 feet in circumference, 60 feet above the base.

©Nick Fox/

Once you arrive.

The Sherman tree is approached by two routes. There is parking for the primary trail, off Wolverton Road. Just observe the signs. Half a mile of the trail leads up to the tree. It is flat and has few steps.

As you proceed, you will reach a sequoia grove known as the Giant Forest. The natural history of the giant sequoias is explained by exhibits located along the way. The way back is inclined. Handicapped parking permits are accepted in a small lot next to Generals Highway.

A short, wheelchair-friendly trail takes you up to the tree. During shuttle season, if you don’t have a permit but can’t manage the primary trail, you can use the park shuttle to the accessible route. If you are physically able, another option is to enter the main trail, head to Sherman Tree, and then head to the shuttle station on General Highway. You can avoid the tilt by taking the shuttle back to where you parked.

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The slender roots of the Sherman tree are shielded by the fence. Please help the park preserve the tree by sticking to the paved path.

Sequoia trees typically live for 3000 years.
Sequoia trees typically live up to 3,000 years, making them the third longest living tree species.


Why are sequoia trees so big?

Why can sequoia trees live so long? They have the ability to protect themselves from the threats posed by nature. Tannic acid, which can be found in tree sap, helps prevent parasites, mild burns, and fungal infections. It also acts as a fire retardant.

These incredible trees can only reproduce by seeds. About twenty years pass during which these seeds remain locked in their pine cones without sunlight. Incredibly, the heat generated by naturally occurring wildfires helps these seeds spread through the soil.

These trees typically have a longevity of 3,000 years, making them the third longest living tree species. These trees range in size from the smallest to the tallest, which is 26 stories tall.

Here is another interesting fact. The first park established to truly protect a living thing was Sequoia National Park. In fact, these giant sequoia trees grow between 5,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level.

You may be wondering how this is possible. The mild winters at Sequoia provide the ideal natural environment for these amazing specimens to grow and flourish. Sequoia National Park offers more than just big trees.

The highest mountain in the lower 48 contiguous states is located in Sequoia. The highest mountain in the contiguous United States is Mount Whitney. It is 14,505 feet above sea level. The western side of the mountain is located in Sequoia National Park. The summit is located at the southern end of the John Peacock Trail.

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