Should I Hike to Hyperion?

Exposed burl tissue shows how off-trail hikers are damaging the tallest tree in the world.
Visitors stepping on Hyperion has resulted in the degradation of the tree’s base. The area around the tree no longer has ferns due to trampling.

NPS Photo | A. Gran

As a visitor you must decide…Will you be part of the park’s preservation? Or part of the problem?

There is no trail to Hyperion.

Since its “discovery” in 2006, this tree has been on many tree-enthusiast’s bucket lists. Hyperion is located off trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘bushwhacking’ in order to reach the tree. Despite the difficult journey, increased popularity due to bloggers, travel writers, and websites of this off-trail tree has resulted in the devastation of the habitat surrounding Hyperion. As a visitor, you must decide if you will be part of the preservation of this unique landscape - or will you be part of its destruction?

 

Three choices you must make before hiking to Hyperion.

•The forest around Hyperion has been trampled and damaged by ill-informed hikers. Remember, Hyperion is located off designated hiking trails.

•Redwood roots are incredibly shallow, reaching down 12 feet on average. Soil compaction due to trampling negatively effects these centuries-old trees.

•Forests grow by the inch and die by the foot! The redwood forest is a delicate ecosystem. Hiking off trail tramples sensitive understory plants and disrupts the redwood forest ecology.

•Trash and human waste has been found littered on the way to Hyperion.

The trek to this particular redwood is hazardous to hikers because it is completely off-trail. Located in an area with no cell phone reception and spotty GPS coverage, a small injury could be dangerous.
There are hundreds of miles of trails within the old-growth redwood forest. All these trails offer beautiful views of massive redwood trees.

Check out these trails in order to see amazing, big trees within the old-growth redwood forest!

 

Commonly Asked Questions

No, it’s not. A view of Hyperion doesn’t match its hype. Hyperion’s trunk is small in comparison to many other old-growth redwood trees and its height cannot be observed from the ground. Please remember that flying drones and climbing redwoods is illegal, violators have and will be cited. There are hundreds of trees on designated trails that are more impressive to view from the tree’s base.

•Great question! Redwoods are always growing, and as the tallest tree in the entire world, scientists are always measuring and remeasuring certain trees to determine the current record holders. A tree within Tall Trees Grove was once designated the world’s tallest tree and the Tall Trees Trail was created to see it. This tree has since lost its crown and has been added to the ever-growing list of former record holders.

•Redwoods in their lifespan frequently lose sections of their crown due to wind and lightening. Although they attempt to regrow, they never reaching their initial height. The title of tallest tree has changed many times over the years and likely will change again before a trail to the current tallest could be completed. Additionally, creating and maintaining a trail is an expensive operation, particularly to a tree and forest that does not rival the grandeur of Tall Trees Grove.

Thousands of people are likely thinking same thing when hiking off trail. Forests grow by the inch and die by the foot. A single visitor can make a drastic negative change to an environment. Although you may feel like you are not making an impact, many people making a small change creates a lasting and devastating effect.
 

The Fine Print (Legalities)

The following listed activities are illegal within Redwood National & State Parks. These activities are listed in the Redwood National Park Compendium as follows.

  • Plant destruction, 36 CFR 2.1(a)(1)(ii)

  • Climbing any tree is prohibited without a research permit issued by the NPS that specifically authorizes this activity. During the spotted owl and marbled murrelet breeding season a United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved Section 10(a)(1)(A) permit is also required.

  • Launching, landing or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Redwood National Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
 
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    Last updated: November 22, 2021

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