Redwood National Park Has Banned Visitors From Seeing the World's Tallest Tree

You may face six months in jail or a $5,000 fine if you try

Low Angle View Of Sequoia Trees In Forest, California

Carmen Martínez Torrón / Getty Images

Scratch the world's tallest living tree off your bucket list—it is now officially off-limits to visitors. 

In 2006, two researchers spotted the massive 380-foot tall tree, now known as Hyperion, off-trail in California's Redwood National Park. These visitors quickly shared the tree's location, which led social media influencers, writers, videographers, and others to flock to the area. Now, the massive increase in foot traffic has caused irreparable damage, as people trample through vegetation to see the tree.

The park reports that the tree's base is suffering from degradation and that the area around it can no longer grow ferns. The statement goes on to say that redwood roots are incredibly shallow, and soil compaction due to increased foot traffic can negatively affect the growth of the trees.

Ultimately, the park has warned visitors against visiting the tree, releasing a statement saying that anyone caught hiking to the site could face a $5,000 fine or up to six months in jail.

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?

To dissuade visitors from attempting the trek, the park's website insists that Hyperion's view "doesn't match the hype" it receives online. "Hyperion's trunk is small in comparison to many other old-growth redwood trees, and its height cannot be observed from the ground," the page says.

The park's page encourages visitors to be mindful of where they visit, despite the temptation for a selfie. "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 create a lasting and devastating effect," it reads. "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?"

In 2019, Hyperion was officially named the world's largest living tree by Guinness World Records and is estimated to be anywhere between 600 and 800 years old.

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  1. National Park Service. "Should I Hike to Hyperion?" Accessed August 12, 2022.