Clicky

Meet Hyperion – Towering Above the Rest as the World’s Tallest Tree

Photo of author
Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

This article may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links. Learn more.
Home » Ancient & Remarkable Trees » Meet Hyperion – Towering Above the Rest as the World’s Tallest Tree

Meet Hyperion, the towering titan of the tree world!

Nestled somewhere in the lush expanse of California’s Redwood National Park, Hyperion is not just any old redwood; it’s the world’s tallest known living tree, reaching a sky-scraping height of 380.3 feet.

That’s right, this arboreal giant stands taller than a football field laid end-to-end—talk about nature’s skyscraper!

Discovered on August 25, 2006, by eagle-eyed naturalists Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, Hyperion was not immediately forthcoming with its secrets.

It was Stephen Sillett who confirmed its towering stature, measuring it at a majestic 379.1 feet. And like any good overachiever, Hyperion has grown a bit since then, stretching up to 380.8 feet as of 2019.

Hyperion_Redwood_Hill
Image of Hyperion via Mario D. Vaden, Certified Arborist

But here’s a twist: despite its grandeur, Hyperion likes to play hard to get. The exact location of this lofty redwood is somewhat of a secret, known but hidden like a celebrity’s private retreat, to protect its fragile ecosystem from too much foot traffic.

In fact, as of July 2022, getting too cozy with Hyperion could land you a stint in jail or a hefty fine, as the area around this celebrity tree is now strictly off-limits to protect its delicate habitat.

Hyperion is not only tall but also seasoned, with an estimated age of 600 to 800 years.

Imagine all the historical events this tree has quietly witnessed over the centuries, standing tall through storms, fires, and maybe even the odd woodpecker attack—which, by the way, may have cost it a few inches in height.

Hyperion’s impressive stats include a trunk volume of 18,600 cubic feet—enough wood to make a small forest of its own.

It resides with its notable neighbors, Helios, Icarus, and Daedalus, other sky-high redwoods that certainly don’t fall short, named after figures of Greek mythology who also reached for the sky in their own legendary ways.

Sequoia sempervirens in California's Redwood National Park
Other Coast Redwoods in California’s Redwood National Park

Culturally speaking, Hyperion isn’t just a botanical wonder but a star in its own right.

It was featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary, charmingly titled “James and the Giant Redwoods.” If trees could talk, Hyperion would have some tall tales to tell!

So next time you look up at a tall building, just remember that somewhere in a Californian forest stands a natural skyscraper named Hyperion, outstripping them all without a single brick laid.

It’s nature’s way of reminding us that sometimes, the best things come in (very, very tall) natural packages.

Digging Deeper Into Hyperion

Location

Hyperion stands proudly within California’s Redwood National Park, a haven of towering trees and diverse ecosystems. While the exact coordinates are a closely guarded secret to protect its surroundings, it’s nestled in a remote area originally part of the park’s 1968 boundaries.

Type of Tree

Hyperion is a Coast Redwood, scientifically known as Sequoia sempervirens, renowned for its incredible height and longevity.

This species is native to the coastal region of northern California and is considered one of the tallest tree species on Earth.

Tall Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
A towering Coast Redwood (not Hyperion) in California’s Redwood National Park

Is Hyperion Still Alive?

Yes, Hyperion continues to thrive and grow, reaching a recorded height of 380.8 feet as of 2019.

Despite challenges such as woodpecker activity, it remains the world’s tallest known living tree.

Descendants

As a natural monument, Hyperion does not have “descendants” per se, but it is part of a legendary cohort of tall trees within the park, including Helios, Icarus, and Daedalus, which are also coast redwoods of notable heights.

Can You Visit It?

Access to Hyperion itself is now prohibited; as of July 2022, the surrounding area has been closed to the public to prevent habitat damage.

Violators risk a hefty fine or jail time, emphasizing the tree’s protected status.

Conservation

To protect Hyperion’s delicate ecosystem from degradation due to human traffic, the entire area around the tree was closed by park authorities.

Conservation efforts aim to preserve the natural wonder for future generations by limiting its exposure to external threats.

Legacy

Hyperion’s legacy extends beyond its height, influencing conservation strategies and contributing to the public’s fascination with natural giants.

It has been featured in media such as the BBC Radio 4 documentary “James and the Giant Redwoods,” highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty and ecological importance of redwoods.

Want More?

Has Hyperion piqued your interest?

If so, you might also be fascinated by the tales of other extraordinary trees across the globe.

Explore the rare Pennantia baylisiana, the historic Prison Boab Tree in Australia, the poignant Anne Frank Tree, the mysterious Tree of Life in Bahrain, the solitary grandeur of the Tree of Ténéré in Niger, or the striking Avenue of Baobabs.

Each of these arboreal marvels tells a unique story that connects the natural world with human history, inviting you to explore and consider their profound legacies.

Source – Wikipedia

Note: The Coast Redwood in the featured image is not Hyperion, but a relative from the same National Park.

Photo of author

Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!