The Ancient Trees

Timeline of a Coastal Redwood's Life Size of Hyperion, the Tallest Tree in the World

Redwood trees have existed along California’s north coast for almost 20 million years, but these ancient giants weren’t limited to just the California coast. Studies done in the 1940s showed that 25 million years ago Sequoia trees covered much the Northern Hemisphere, including most of England and Western Europe, as well as parts of modern day Russia, China, and Japan. [1] The Sequoias that live in California today, along with a small grove found in Hubei province, China, are the last living Sequoias in the world.

The redwood trees that live on the northern California coast today can reach more than 320 feet in height with trunks up to 27 feet wide and can live for more than 2,000 years. In fact, some coastal redwood trees living today were alive during the time of the Roman Empire. [2]

The current tallest known tree in the world is a coastal redwood tree named Hyperion discovered in 2006 in a remote area of Redwood National and State Park purchased by the government in 1978.  Hyperion stands at just over 379 feet tall and is believed to be between 700 and 800 years old. [3]



[1] Susan R. Schrepfer, The Fight to Save the Redwoods: A History of Environmental Reform 1917-1978, (Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1983), 39.

[3] Schrepfer, The Fight to Save the Redwoods: A History of Environmental Reform 1917-1978, 130-185.