Living Here

Sequoias - How Big Are They?

It is difficult to appreciate the size of the Giant Sequoias because neighboring trees are so large. The largest of the sequoias are as tall as an average 26-story building, and their diameters at the base exceed the width of many city streets. As they continue to grow, they produce about 40 cubic feet of wood each year, approximately equal to the volume of a 50-foot-tall tree one foot in diameter.

The ages of the General Sherman, General Grant and other large sequoias are unknown, but it is estimated that these giants are between 1,800 and 2,700 years old. They have seen civilization come and go, survived countless fires and long periods of drought, and continue to flourish – inspiring yet another generation of admirers.

The Sherman Tree named for the famous Civil War General in 1879, is indeed the largest living thing in the world by volume. It is not the tallest or oldest. It is pretty impressive though, knowing that the trunk of this tree could fill 2,770 half-ton pickups to the brim. The seed it comes from is 58 billion times smaller than the tree. The Sherman tree is estimated to be 2,500 years old and reaches a height of about 275 feet.

Visiting the Big Trees is easy in summer or winter, providing you take care. They keep the road open even in the winter months to the General Sherman Tree making it possible to visit here all year round.

If you arrive before heavy snowfall or after – take a walk along Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest Grove where you will find a signed loop trail with plenty of impressive Sequoia trees. Notice the hush of the cathedral-like setting as you stroll through the“Giant Forest,” as John Muir himself named it.

If you are visiting the Giant Sequoia National Monument, enjoy the Big Trees up and along Highway 190 above Porterville and Springville. Virtually all of the Giant Sequoias grow in a narrow band on the western side of the Southern Sierra and nowhere else.

**Article borrowed with permission from Discover Magazine/Valley Voice Newspaper.

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