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In the far northwestern corner of California, the cool and damp ocean air has fostered the growth of Sequoia sempervirens, a.k.a. the coast redwood tree. The collaboratively managed network of Redwood National and State Parks, consisting of several separate parcels of land, is one of the last bastions of these giants and home to the world's tallest trees. Case in point: Hyperion, whose exact location is a closely guarded secret, is over 378 feet tall, making it the tallest documented tree on the planet. While Hyperion is deep in the backcountry, there are plenty of its gigantic peers to wander among and gawk at near the roadside. But the ...

In the far northwestern corner of California, the cool and damp ocean air has fostered the growth of Sequoia sempervirens, a.k.a. the coast redwood tree. The collaboratively managed network of Redwood National and State Parks, consisting of several separate parcels of land, is one of the last bastions of these giants and home to the world's tallest trees. Case in point: Hyperion, whose exact location is a closely guarded secret, is over 378 feet tall, making it the tallest documented tree on the planet. While Hyperion is deep in the backcountry, there are plenty of its gigantic peers to wander among and gawk at near the roadside. But the cool climate and shady trails make this a terrific park for hiking. Wildlife watchers are in for a wildly diverse collection of furred, feathered, and slimy denizens, including Roosevelt elk, sea lions, puffins, and banana slugs. This is also a great place to see the migrating gray whales every winter and spring. Beyond hiking the trails, the prime recreational activities in the parks are bicycling, fishing, and jet-boat tours on the Klamath River. But a visit here should focus on the trees: of the 2 million acres of coast redwood growing in the region in 1800, only about 300,000 ares remain, over a third of which are rooted in on park land.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The weather is mild all year long, but summers draw big crowds; fall through spring you'll have more solitude - plus a chance to see a passing gray whale.