There are 34 groves of the giant sequoia tree - earth's largest species.
General Sherman is the largest, making it the largest living thing in the entire world! Named in 1879 by admirers of the Civil War General, standing by its huge girth it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the fact that nothing else is as large anywhere and that you are truly standing before one of the living wonders of the world!
General Sherman is 275' (84 meters) tall, and 102.6' (31.3 meters) in circumference at its base. Amazingly enough, the tree is still growing at 0.4 inches (1cm) every 10 years and is according to the US Geological Survey, 2,100-2,200 years ago and therefore around for the birth of Christ.
There are taller trees in the world, the tallest trees in the world being the Coast Redwood, which averaging 300' - 350' (91.4 - 106.7 meters) in height, are significantly taller than the Giant Sequoias. These are found along the coasts of Northern California and Oregon.
In Mexico, a cypress near Oaxaca has a greater circumference at 162' (49.4 meters), however in sheer volume of wood, the General Sherman has no equal at 52,500 cubic feet (1486.6 cubic meters) of wood, thus earning its title.
The Oldest living things in the world are the Ancient Bristlecone Pines only a days drive away, "Methuselah" is the oldest at 4765 years old - more than double the age of General Sherman! Sadly the oldest known one was dated 4,900 years old after it had been cut down to find out its age - it's not often you find out you've killed the oldest living thing in the World!
Luckily Giant Sequoias are still with us, as in the 19th century, logging firms found their sheer size and toughness uneconomical for logging and they were left safe.
Another quirk is that Sequoia trees are resistant to fire, needing it to crack open their cones for saplings to germinate. Rangers were puzzled that no new trees were growing until a fire raged through the national park years ago.
This is the largest tree in the world by mass (Redwoods are taller but not as thick trunks). Its an easy 1/2 mile hike from the trail head on the Congress trail
Wuksachi Lodge & Village Sequoia National Park
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