The Largest Trees in the World

A park ranger stands below the Lincoln Tree, along the Grant Tree Trail.
Lincoln Tree, Grant Tree Trail, Kings Canyon National Park. NPS Photo

The mid-sierra zone (5,000-8,000 ft or 1,524-2,438 m) creates ideal conditions for giant sequoia growth. Mild winter and summer temperatures, deep winter snowpack, and a rich fire history have made it possible for the world's largest tree to get its biggest in these parks. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks boast many of the world's largest trees by volume. The General Sherman Tree is the largest in the world at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters). The General Grant Tree is the second largest at 46,608 cubic feet (1,320 cubic meters).

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 (one cubic meter) of wood each year, approximately equal to the volume of a tree that's 50 feet (15 meters) tall and one foot in diameter.

 

Top Thirty Largest Sequoias

General Table Information

This list of the world's largest giant sequoia trees were calculated based on trunk volume only. It does not include the volume of branches, foliage, or roots.

This list was compiled from data in the Wendell Flint Book, To Find the Biggest Tree (2002), as well as data collected by the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey in 2001 and 2012. Tree dimension may have changed since these measurements were collated.

Washington Tree

Until 2003, the Washington Tree in Giant Forest (Sequoia National Park) was the second-largest sequoia. After being reduced by fire, it no longer ranks among the top 30.

General Grant and President Trees

Scientists measured the President Tree extensively in 2011-12. They discovered that if branch volume is included with trunk volume, the President Tree is the second largest and the Grant Tree is the third largest (see "Scaling a Forest Giant" National Geographic, December 2012).

Unnamed Tree (12th largest)

As part of a park-approved project, this unnamed tree was found and measured in 2001.

This list of the world's largest giant sequoia trees were calculated based on trunk volume.
TreeSequoia GroveLand ManagerHeight (ft)Ground circumference (ft)Trunk Volume (cubic ft)
 
Two hikers below giant sequoias

Explore Sequoia Groves

Whether you see them from your car or hike to a remote grove, giant sequoias inspire awe and wonder.

A fire scar at the base of a large giant sequoia is surrounded by other sequoia trees.

Giant Sequoias

Learn about the largest trees in the world, and their relationship to fire and climate.

Aerial view of smoke and browned foliage burned giant sequoias

Threats to Giant Sequoias

Learn more about recent threats to giant sequoias in this web article - including hotter droughts, bark beetles, and severe wildfire.

A grove giant sequoias, with standing dead and live trees.

Giant Sequoias and Climate

Climate plays a key role in giant sequoia groves.

Scientist collecting sample of giant sequoia foliage. Photo: Anthony Ambrose, Univ. of California.

Giant Sequoias and Drought

Recent severe drought and tree mortality prompted research to study the sensitivity of giant sequoias to drought.

Fire burns in ground vegetation below towering giant sequoia trees.

Giant Sequoias and Fire

Learn more about the role fire plays in giant sequoia groves.

Last updated: September 25, 2021

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