Today, we’re taking a virtual tour through the world’s most primal forests to visit the tallest, heaviest, oldest, and overall biggest trees in the world.
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These forest giants are Mother Nature’s skyscrapers, and they are some of the oldest and biggest trees on the planet. Many have been around for thousands of years, weathering adverse weather conditions and forest fires to stand tall and firm today.
Related Reading: The World’s Most Beautiful Trees
Table of Contents
What Is the World’s Largest Tree?
Giant sequoias, also called Sierra redwood, are the overall biggest trees in the world. And if you’ve seen them, you’ll know they are a feast for the senses.
Giant sequoias can grow up to around 300 feet, sometimes even more. And while they are not the oldest trees still in existence, most of them are a thousand years old, and some are known to reach up to 3,400 years.
Biggest Tree in the World: General Sherman
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The largest of the giant sequoias is the famous General Sherman. It may not be the tallest tree nor the thickest at the base, but when it comes to total biomass, it’s the undisputed heavyweight champ.
Just how big is General Sherman, you ask?
- Height: 274.9 ft.
- Weight: ~1385 tons
- Maximum Diameter at Base: 36.5 ft.
- Circumference at Ground: 102.6 ft.
- Diameter of Largest Branch: 6.8 ft.
- Trunk Volume: 52,500 cu ft.
Its immense size is not due to its age, however. Although it’s estimated to be between 2000 to 2700 years old, it’s relatively young compared to other still-living giant sequoias. Instead, its enormous size is because of its very rapid growth.
This gives General Sherman double honors as the largest living thing on earth and the fastest growing tree in the world.
Visit the General Sherman Tree in California’s Giant Forest
You can visit this majestic behemoth at the Sequoia National Park, in the northern part of the Giant Forest.
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And there’s no single better way to explore the park and see the famed forest giant than by going out on either one of the two trails. One offers a stunning half a mile trek down to the tree, while the other is a shorter distance and wheelchair accessible for those with disability parking placards.
But General Sherman is not the only titan in the Giant Forest. There’s General Grant which stands at around 267 feet and 29 feet wide at the base, and the President tree which stands at 247 feet and 25.5 feet wide at the base. Both live nearby in the Kings Canyon National Park. At around 3,200 years old, the President is also the oldest living redwood.
The Five Largest Trees by Volume
General Sherman holds the top one spot when it comes to the biggest tree by wood volume However, height alone is not the only way to determine the world’s largest trees.
Note: These numbers are only the trunk volume of each tree, excluding branches. If branch volume is included, the President would be the second greatest by volume, and the Grant would take third place.
1. General Grant
This giant sequoia, located in the Sequoia National Park has a trunk volume of over 46,600 cu ft.
Another giant sequoia is located in the Sequoia National Park, with over 45,100 cu ft of wood.
It has more than 44,400 cu ft of volume, still in the Giant Forest in the Sequoia National Park.
This forest giant is located in a private lank in Alder Creek and has over 42,500 cu ft of wood.
This one is found in Converse Basin in the Giant Sequoia National Park Monument, with nearly 42,300 cu ft of trunk volume.
The Four Biggest Trees by Volume Outside of the US
1. Grogan’s Fault
Grogan’s Fault was discovered in 2014 in Redwood Canyon National Park, which has an estimated volume of around 38,300 cu ft But what makes it even more impressive is that it’s a single stem, making it, with respect to volume, the largest single stem tree ever found.
2. Tane Mahuta
It’s named after the ‘god of the forest’ in Maori religious belief, and stands at about 148 feet, and has an estimated volume of over 18,000 cu ft. You can find this giant of a tree in Waipoua Forest in New Zealand.
3. Cheewhat Giant
It’s the biggest tree by volume in Canada, standing at 183.7 feet and is around 15,900 cu ft. in trunk volume or is equal to the volume of 450 telephone poles. Cheewhat Giant is a red cedar discovered in 1988.
4. Still Sorrow
This eucalyptus tree in Tasmania is over 275 feet high and is more than 13,800 cu ft in volume. Not only is it one of the biggest trees in the world, but also one of the best looking come winter with its blooming white flowers.
Gone but Not Forgotten: The Biggest Trees Ever Recorded
There are some seriously large trees on this planet. Many of them can be found in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest. However, examples exist all over the US. Although, California does seem to be the ultimate tree-growing location. The below examples are trees from yesteryear that would still be record-holders today.
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Lindsey Creek Tree
Although the ‘General’ holds the title of the largest living tree on earth right now, it wasn’t the largest ever. Lindsay Creek, a coast redwood, has the world record of being the largest tree ever recorded.
It was estimated to be around 300-320 feet in height and has a trunk volume of approximately 90,000 cubic feet. Unfortunately, the tree lost its footing during a storm in 1905 and was sadly never accurately measured.
Maple Creek Tree
Another amazing tree is the Maple Creek Tree or the Crannell Creek giant, another Californian coast redwood. It was only 308 feet in height, but the estimated trunk volume was around 70,000 cubic feet before the logging industry claimed it in the 1920s.
On the Shoulder of Giants: The Tallest Trees in the World
The tallest tree species on the planet, by species according to the Guinness World Records, are redwoods, Douglas fir, and eucalyptuses. These species have been recorded to grow to massive heights of more than 372 feet.
There have been plenty of large tree specimens reported in the 19th century, from an Australian Eucalypt in Healesville, Victoria standing at 480 feet to another Eucalypt on Watts River that could have been 500 feet tall originally.
But these big tree examples are of the past, although there are still plenty of massively tall trees still living and standing today. Let’s take a look at a few of them now.
Hyperion (380.8 ft) | Coast Redwood
Located in California’s Redwood National Park stands the tallest reliably measured tree – the Hyperion. It’s a coast redwood discovered in 2006 and estimated to be between 600 and 800 years old. At the time it measured a little over 379 feet. However, during its last measurement in 2019, the Hyperion is standing tall at 308 feet and 9.7 inches.
The actual location of the world’s tallest tree is a closely guarded secret, a sad necessity to protect this colossally tall tree from any acts of vandalism.
If you can’t imagine how tall this tree is, just think of six standard-issue bowling lanes or a 37-story building.
Menara (330.7 ft) | Yellow Meranti
Another impressive superlative tree, and the world’s tallest known tropical tree recorded ever in the world, so far, has been found and climbed – the Menara or ‘tower’ in Malay. It only took three hours to climb and measure the tree!
The giant tree measured 330.7 feet in height yet somehow was only discovered in 2019 in the center of the untouched rainforest called Danum Valley in Sabah in Borneo. Its height equates to the length of a football field!
Unfortunately, these rainforest giants are highly endangered. In fact, it’s under the IUCN red list because of its over-harvesting for decades. But thanks to the Danum Valley Conservation Area, these record-breaking trees continue to stand tall.
Centurion (330.0 ft) | Eucalyptus Regnans
Just a few inches short of Borneo’s tallest tropical tree is the tallest hardwood tree and flowering giant of Tasmania – the Centurion. It’s aptly named as it is over 500 years old and reaches up to 330 feet. The Centurion also continued to stand even after the bushfire in 2019, which wiped out much of its surrounding foliage.
This mountain ash tree stands near the Tahune Air Walk in southern Tasmania However, its exact location is kept a secret. The Centurion also holds several records, including the tallest living tree in Australia, the world’s tallest eucalyptus (also known as swamp gum), and the largest individual mountain ash tree in the world.
Doerner Fir (327.0 ft) | Coast Douglas Fir
The Oregon Coast mountains are home to some of the tallest trees in the world, including the Doerner Fir previously known as the Brummit Fir. It is recognized as the tallest Douglas fir and largest tree in Oregon. It is also the tallest conifer that is not a coast redwood.
The giant non-redwood tree was discovered in 1989 in Brummit Creek in Coos County, Oregon. It measured 329 feet in 1991, but unfortunately, the crown has started to die significantly. In its most recent measurement in 2011, the tree had shrunk to 327 feet, although it maintained an impressive 36 feet circumference.
Raven’s Tower (317.0 ft) | Sitka Spruce
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Most of the tallest trees in the world are redwoods, Eucalyptus Regnans, and Eucalyptus Obliqua. This Sitka Spruce giant is the only of its kind, at least in this list.
The forest giant known as the Raven’s Tower was discovered first and measured in 2001 in the Redwoods State Park in Prairie Creek, California. However, the tree’s exact location is undisclosed to protect it from vandals and tourists.
Unnamed (314.0 ft) | Giant Sequoia
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Giant sequoias are well-known to be the largest trees in the world by volume, but it also belongs to the tallest trees in the world list. That was especially true when an unnamed 314-feet giant sequoia was discovered in Converse Basin Grove, California, in 2013.
Close to this giant sequoia grows slightly lower sequoias, although its exact location is not available.
White Knight (299.0 ft) | White Gum
North-east Tasmania has a beautiful natural reserve to enjoy picnics and see some of the world’s tallest white gum trees. White gums (Eucalyptus viminalis or Manna gums) are often believed to be average-sized trees, However, in Everscreech Forest Reserve, the white gums, known colloquially as White Knight, grow to gigantic proportions.
The tallest White Knight tree measured has an incredible 299 feet in height. It’s estimated to be more than 300 years old. Thanks to the discovery, 52 hectares of the area were turned into a forest reserve.
Neeminah Loggorale Meena (297 ft) | Blue Gum
Another mighty tree from Tasmania is the tallest known blue gum in the world. Although Tasmanian blue gums usually only grow between 100 to 180 feet, the Neeminah Loggorale Meena, which means ‘mother and daughter’ in the Aboriginal language, stands taller than other blue gums growing close to it.
Save the Ents: Other Living Tree Records
Here are some other trees with remarkable world records and where you can find them.
Oldest Clonal Tree: Jurupa Oak
One species that has outlived them all is a Palmer’s Oak named Jurupa Oak. It’s a clonal colony tree that survived for 13,000 years yet amazingly, was only discovered in the past decade.
Oldest Tree (Clonal Colony): Pando
Pando, which means ‘I spread’ in Latin, is not a single tree but a clonal colony of trees known as the Quaking Aspen. It’s a 105-acre Utah-based colony is over 80,000 years old, and holds the distinction of being the oldest living organism in the world.
Oldest Single-Stemmed Clonal Tree: Old Tjikko
The actual tree trunk you can see of the Norway Spruce named Old Tjikko found in Sweden is only a couple of years old, but its root system is around 10,000 years old.
Oldest Individual (Non-Clonal) Tree: Unnamed Great Basin Bristlecone Pine
The oldest living individual tree on the planet is a Great Basin bristlecone pine found somewhere in the White Mountains, although its specific location is top secret. The title previously belonged to the 4,852 years old Methuselah tree. However, the unnamed bristlecone pine was confirmed in 2012 as being older. As of 2021, its age stands at 5,069 years old.
Widest Tree Trunk: Arbol del Tule Tree
The ‘Tree of Tule’ in Spanish is a cypress tree you can find in the Mexican state of Oaxaca called Santa Maria del Tule. You might think that the tree was named after the town, however, it’s the other way around!
It has the widest tree trunk with a circumference of 119 feet. This gives it a 38 feet diameter.
Widest Tree Crown
Besides giant tree trunks, there are also giant tree crowns While several types of giant trees can develop massive 147-feet diameter crowns, one dwarfs them all. The Chamchuri in Thailand.
It’s a rain tree growing in the Thai Army cavalry grounds, recording a 198-feet crown diameter. Amazingly, the tree only has a trunk width of 30 feet. Some trees can exceed 180-feet crown sizes, they usually have branches resting on the ground.
Self-supporting crown structures like that of the Chamchurri are extremely rare. In fact, there is only one other example known to exist. Located in a gold course in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s only a few feet short of the Chamchuri with a crown spread measuring 193 feet.
Final Thoughts on the Biggest Trees in the World
As you can see, there are a lot of big trees out there. Some are so large and precious that their location is a secret to protect them.
But if you live in Tasmania or California, then you’re in luck, because large trees abound in these two parts of the world.
The comments are open, we would love to hear of your own tree-based adventures. Have you spent a day counting tree rings to find out how old they were, or maybe you’ve visited the Evercreech forest reserve and seen these marvels for yourself? Whatever your tree story, we want to hear about it.