The General Sherman Tree is the heaviest tree on the planet. USA

The amazing giant plant, the General Sherman Tree

Nature is the most skillful creator. Her offspring amaze us both with its beauty and size. There are many giants in the world among animals and plants. One such representative of fauna is the General Sherman tree.

What is the General Sherman tree?

The General Sherman tree is a giant sequoyadendron or giant sequoia (Latin name Sequoiadendron giganteum), which can be seen in a national park in the United States. Founded way back in 1890, this park stretches over 1,635 square kilometers in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain system. It attracts visitors with giant sequoias – they grow here in a grove called the Giant’s Forest. About a dozen trees, some of the largest plants on Earth, can be viewed here. One of them is General Sherman. It got its name in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the most successful and ruthless commanders of the Civil War, widely known in the United States. The naturalist who named the giant tree served under this general.

The Amazing Giant Plant - General Sherman Tree

The Giant Sequoia “General Sherman” is famous for ranking first among all the trees on the planet in terms of volume. It is by volume, not by height or trunk circumference. This tree took the lead in the forties of the last century, when the Crannell Creek Giant, a specimen belonging to the evergreen sequoias, was cut down. Its volume was about 20 percent larger than that of “General Sherman.”

“General Sherman reaches a height of 83.8 meters (taller specimens can be found even 95 meters long), with a trunk girth of 31.3 meters at its thickest point (at the ground). These data are written on the information board installed near this giant. The researchers also calculated the volume and weight of the tree – they amounted to 1,487 cubic meters and 1,900 tons, respectively. It was these figures that gave the sequoyadendron “General Sherman” the status of “the largest and heaviest tree on the planet”. It was compared to another representative of giant sequoias – “General Grant”, named after another Civil War hero and U.S. President Ulysses Grant. This tree has a slightly larger trunk girth at its base, 32.8 m, but a smaller height, 81.5 m. As a result, the volume of the trunk of General Grant is 1,320 cubic meters, which puts it in second place among the largest trees. It is interesting that General Sherman’s volume was estimated several decades ago, and the sequoyadendron continues to grow to this day. It adds about 1.5 cm in diameter per year. So 1,487 cubic meters is not the limit for this tree.

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What is the General Sherman tree?

The age of the giant sequoia “General Sherman” is as impressive as its size. Researchers believe that this tree is at least 2,000 thousand years old. Of course, there are even older species of flora in the world – in 1965, for example, a California pine tree was cut down, which was 4,484 years old. But there’s no denying that 2,000 years is a long time! In the recent past, scientists have been concerned about the tree’s condition. In early 2006, the largest branch fell off: it was about 2 meters in diameter and about 30 meters long. But eventually it was concluded that the tree was only adapting to adverse weather conditions in this way. As a result of the fall none of the people were injured, but the fence was damaged and left a dent in one of the walkways. Even though “General Sherman” lost such a large part, it still holds the lead among the largest plants on Earth.

Interesting facts about sequoyadendrons

The sequoyadendron is a genus of conifer that belongs to the cypress family. It is often referred to simply as the sequoia, but this is incorrect. Sequoia is a separate genus that also belongs to the cypress family. Although sequoyadendrons have several other names, among which is “giant sequoia.” In addition, you can also find such names as wellingtonia, big or mammoth tree. The latter nickname is not accidental – the huge branches that hang from the trunks of these giants, really somewhat resemble the tusks of a mammoth.

Interesting facts about sequoyadendrons

Sequoias are trees that can grow to 100 meters or more. One of the tallest specimens was the “Mother of the Forest”, a giant, about 100 meters high, cut down in 1852. This type of tree is considered a long-lived tree. There is an opinion (although it is not confirmed) that they can reach the age of 4-5 thousand years. At the moment, the oldest sequoyadendron tree is considered to be 3,200 years old (this is established by its annual rings).

An interesting feature of sequoyadendrons is their resistance to fire. Moreover, forest fires do these trees some good. After the fires destroy the competing plants, the seeds of the giant sequoias can more easily take root and germinate. The bark of these trees is very dense and strong, not susceptible to rot and the harmful effects of various insects.

Unfortunately, due to the active cutting of these trees in the past, there are very few sequoias left in the nature, you can only admire these giants in nature reserves. General Sherman tree is one of those beauties, which is worth seeing at least once in your life.

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General Sherman and the Congress Trail in Sequoia Park, California – where the world’s largest trees grow | General Sherman Tree

General Sherman Tree

Hi guys! Today I’m going to tell you about the biggest tree in the world! It’s the General Sherman tree, which grows in the Giant Woods located in Sequoia National Park in California, USA. Although the Sherman Sequoia tree is not the tallest, it is certainly the heaviest tree on the planet. People from all over America and the world come to see this tree, so it is always crowded around it. But even we, lovers of silence, still made it along the trail to this giant tree, which, among other things, is also the largest organism in the world! Now I will tell you in detail how to get to General Sherman, whether it was difficult to get to him, and how to recognize him among the many other sequoia trees in the Giant Forest. And I will also tell you about another trail called Congress Trail, where the third, fourth, and fifth largest trees in the world grow. Interested? Then, come on, let’s go!

general sherman sequoia

General Sherman is the largest tree in the world

The General Sherman Tree is the largest giant sequoia species tree in the entire world! Why is it counted that way? Let’s look at the numbers:

  • Height: 83 meters;
  • Girth: 11 meters;
  • Weight – 1,385 tons;
  • Volume – 1,487 m 3 ;
  • Age – 2200 years!
  • Every year it adds a centimeter!

All in all, it is impressive. Estimated Sherman by volume and mass, it is by these indicators the tree is considered the largest tree in the world . And there are sequoias taller than General Sherman. These are not only coastal sequoias (redwoods), but even some other giant sequoias. But the latter beats them all in total volume.

By the way, to understand what sequoias are, how they differ from each other where they grow, I advise you to read our article “Sequoias in the USA”.

Look at what an amazing bark the sequoia has. It looks so hard, but when you touch it, it crumbles a little under your fingers. Powerful but fragile sequoia.

But I am not very good with numbers, so until I saw the General Sherman Tree with my own eyes, I had no idea how huge it was. That’s why I advise you to visit General Sherman Tree too, if you travel by car in the United States.

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Again, I decided myself, even though I do not like crowds of tourists (and this tree is always crowded), be sure to go to Sequoia National Park and see the giant with my own eyes, as reading and hearing from someone is one thing, and my own experience is quite another, isn’t it?

general sherman sequoia

Facts about General Sherman’s tree

By the way, this tree was named after the American Civil War hero William Sherman. Those who watched the terrific movie Gone with the Wind can probably remember how all the heroes were afraid of Sherman during the siege of Atlanta and Georgia? Basically, it’s the hero of the North and the executioner of the South. But things are politically correct now, and a wonderful sequoia tree is named after the man.

And in this video, the Sequoia Park Ranger talks at length about the General Sherman tree:

Okay, enough with the theory. Let’s go see General Sherman!

general sherman trail

Trail to General Sherman

The General Sherman Tree Trail is the most popular and crowded spot in all of Sequoia Park. And the Sherman Tree itself is the main attraction at Sequoia NP. When we arrived at the parking lot next to it, we were first of all amazed at how huge it was, especially compared to the small parking lot near Moro Rock. But we still had to circle around for a few minutes before there was room for our car. And this is in the fall, on a weekday. I can’t even imagine what happens here in the summer, during the peak vacation season!

General Sherman Sequoia Trail

The trail to the General Sherman Sequoia is part of the Congress Trail

Good to know . During the summer on weekends, some roads in Sequoia National Park in the Giant Woods are closed to travel in personal vehicles to avoid traffic jams. But because the trail to General Sherman Tree is located away from hotels and lodges, you have to leave your car in one of the nearby parking lots and transfer to a shuttle. All visitors to the park use the free buses, which take several routes. I think this is extremely reasonable.

Sequoia Park shuttle map

Sequoia Park shuttle routes

There are many ways to get to Sherman Tree:

  1. Walking . The beginning of the trail to General Sherman in the parking lot is marked by a nice carved tree entrance. You have to walk down the path for about 60 meters. Thus, even being at the beginning of the trailhead, we were still below the top of General Sherman Tree.
  2. On the bus . There is a shuttle stop not far from the largest sequoia.
  3. By car . There is a special parking lot very close to the tree for the handicapped. From it there is a convenient path to General Sherman Tree.
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check out the sequoias

The route to Sherman’s tree is very convenient.

sequoia california

And there are sequoias growing all around.

sequoia picture

It is very beautiful when the sequoias are illuminated by the sun. It immediately becomes clear why they are called redwoods in general

sequoia tree

We didn’t understand at all how to photograph sequoias. They are so incredible that the usual approach does not apply to them. It’s better to come and see for yourself!

Recommendation: I will now tell you the easiest thing to do to see the Sherman sequoia. If you arrive by car, park it somewhere near the Giant Forest Museum, and move around the park by shuttle, you can get off at the Lower Sherman Tree stop. It will only be 150 yards to the tree (and there’s still a tunnel of fallen sequoia trees). Then you can exit the same way and take the shuttle again. Or take another trail, the Congress Loop, which intersects with the trail to General Sherman.

  • The trail is 1.6 km round trip from the big parking lot.
  • The elevation gain on the way back is 60 meters.
  • Next to the General Sherman tree begins another hiking trail called the Congress Loop.

We parked our car in the large parking lot at the beginning of the trail and started walking down the wide trail into the sequoia grove. Along the way we encountered a giant replica of the base of a Sherman tree. The replica is made so that everyone can appreciate how huge this tree is. When I stood next to it, it turned out that the replica was taller than me. And I’m not much of a short girl at all!

general sherman tree

The cut of the sequoia could barely fit in the frame!

But then we finally got to the original. And tried to look at General Sherman, assessing its size. The outline of its crown was lost somewhere far in the sky!

There are always tourists near the tree, all taking pictures. So it was very difficult to get a shot of this giant sequoia tree without people in it.

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It wasn’t too hard to get up there, but we were in a hurry, so we were a little out of breath. And people kept coming and coming to Sherman!

general sherman sequoia

We can see the biggest tree in the world from afar!

sequoia fallen branch

And this is the fallen branch of a sequoia tree.

general sherman sequoia

And here’s the nameplate!

general sherman tree

We tried to get the Sherman Tree into the frame!

largest sequoia photo

And here’s Dima with the famous tree, General Sherman

congress trail

Congress Loop

The Congress Loop is a circular trail starting at Sherman Tree. It is much less crowded, but has the 3rd and 4th largest trees in the world.

  • The length of the trail from Sherman Tree is 3.2 km. From the large parking lot it is 5 km. From the small parking lot – 3.4 km.
  • The elevation gain is 70 meters. Together with the Sherman Trail – 80 meters.

From Sherman’s Trail descends to the President tree (the 3rd largest tree in the world), whose height is 75 meters and 8 meters in diameter. The President Tree is the oldest living sequoia on the planet, 3,240 years old.

The Lincoln tree is the 4th tree in the world. Its height is 80 meters and its diameter is 7.5 meters.

sequoia usa

The sequoia has a very strong base.

sequoia national park

And sometimes there are quite young trees, but they are also much bigger than all the other trees around

The order of the trees has just recently changed because the Washington tree, which was the 2nd tree in the world, has collapsed. And accordingly, all the trees went up in their hit list. However, in the annals of Sequoia National Park, the trees are still counted as if the Washington tree were standing. Therefore, there may be confusion. But for now, the correct way is this:

largest sequoias

The largest trees in the world

Other trees found on the Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park include Chiff Sequoia Tree, Senate Group, House Group, McKinley, and the fallen Telescope tree.

General Sherman Tree on map

Symbols on the map:

  • Green markers – General Sherman tree and trailheads
  • Orange – parking lots.
  • The burgundy ones are shuttle stops.

sequoia california

Where else do sequoias grow in California

Big sequoias grow everywhere in the Giant Forest. The easiest way to get up close and personal with them is to hike the Big Trees Trail, which I wrote about in my article.

In addition, giant sequoias can be seen in California in the following places:

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