It’s not often that I put something on my travel wish list that is close to home. Recently, however, I’ve had a growing desire to hike to Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world. I live up in Humboldt County, California (of Murder Mountain fame), home to the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), the tallest living organism on the planet. I’ve seen plenty of tall redwoods, but I have yet to see the tallest redwood.
A day trip to Hyperion is something I’d like to do either this late spring or early summer. It about a 2-hour drive to where we’d start the hike, but it should still be doable as a day trip. There are a few hurdles, however. The first is that the location isn’t officially published. But there is now plenty of internet info on how to get to Hyperion. It shouldn’t be difficult to find.
Researching How to Find Hyperion
Prior to Hyperion’s discovery, the tallest tree in the world was located in a remote area of Redwood National Park. Researchers closely guarded its location, knowing that people would want to visit them. Given the enormous size of these redwoods, there is pretty much zero risk anyone would cut one down or damage it. I believe the concern has been simply to limit the foot traffic off of established trails to these giants. Hyperion, however, although located in a less-visited area of the park, is much more accessible.
The world’s tallest tree is located in “Hyperion Valley” along Redwood Creek within the Redwood National Park. You can access it by driving to the Tall Trees Grove parking area, which is a bit of a trek compared to other popular sites within the parks. There is an entire site dedicated to our famous redwoods, and it is here that I found the most definitive directions on how to find Hyperion. Latitude and longitude to plug into a GPS unit are even included. When I’d previously looked up how to find Hyperion, the directions weren’t so incredibly simple.
The hike is less than two miles, but you do have to cross Redwood Creek, which is one reason why the hike will be best in the late spring or early summer when the flow should be minimal. Waiting until late summer would be easiest in terms of both weather and water level. Only about half a mile is off-trail.
Other Extremely Tall Trees
Hyperion is not alone as the only mega-tall tree. It stands at an impressive 380 feet. But there are several hot on its heels. Helios, the second tallest tree, is only three feet shorter. There are several others that are also over 370 feet tall.
It is interesting to note is that Hyperion may not remain the tallest tree in the world. There is another tree, Paradox, located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It’s currently the 5th tallest tree in the world, but at its current growth rate, it will eventually surpass Hyperion (and the 3 others on the list between them) in about a decade. Hysterically, this tree is located 3 minutes from the Rockefeller Loop Trail parking lot. No hiding this one! If it does eventually become the tallest tree, it will surely see tons of traffic.
Whether the National Park really wanted to or not, there is no hiding Hyperion’s location now. Some people might disagree with the decision to take an “off trail” hike to see this wonder of nature. Given that the cat is out of the bag, I honestly think it would be most prudent for the park to develop a permanent trail to the tree so everyone could enjoy it.
Have you happened to visit Hyperion, the world’s tallest tree? This is the one local trip I have slated for this summer, and I’m quite excited about it!