The Avenue of Giants is a 31 mile stretch of highway, winding up the precipitous mountainside, cutting through some of the largest Redwoods in the world.
It was difficult for me to wrap my mind around how impressive these trees truly were. Many questions came to mind while exploring this forest, but one of the main ones I had was how long these organisms have occupied this earth.
After some research, I discovered there is evidence indicating that the Redwoods have existed for 10 million years. The trees live from 500 to 2000 years old.
It is insane to think of how some of these trees grew alongside Christianity and the more popular religions of the world.
Where Are the Largest and Tallest Trees Located?
The tallest trees are the Redwoods also known as Sequoias. These trees are native to the California coast line, but seeds were transported over seas to the United Kingdom and Europe during the 1800s.
The tallest living tree is named Hyperion and can be found in the Redwood National Park, which the Avenue of Giants winds through. It towers to a height of 379.7 feet (115.72 m).
The largest tree is General Sherman and is located in the Sequoia National Park which is also in California. This tree is determined the largest single-stemmed tree based on volume, not height or width alone. It was seeded between 700-300 BC.
Where is the Oldest Tree Located?
When I started to read up on the largest, tallest, and oldest trees, I thought the oldest living tree would end up being a Redwood. I was wrong.
It turns out the oldest tree is located on the East Coast of the United States in North Carolina.
The bald cypress is growing alongside the banks of a river southeast of Raleigh. It is 2, 625 years old as of 2019.
How Has the Logging Industry Effected the Redwoods?
Logging in the Redwoods started in the 1800s. 95% of California’s forests were destroyed due to logging.
Today only 2% of the Redwoods’ original numbers still stand.
What Can We Do to Help Save the Redwoods?
There are many different organizations that need donations and volunteers.
The Save the Redwoods League has existed since 1918. The funding is invested into forest-restoration research, the education of children, and improved park lands both for enjoyment and protection. Since their creation they have helped save 200,000 acres of trees and create 66 parks to aid in the protection of the wonderful giants.
Aside from donations and volunteer services, the biggest contribution you can make is being respectful as you explore natural wonders as this.
What to Know About Camping in the Redwoods
When we stopped off to hike through the Redwoods, silence surrounded us. The trees were wider than I am tall.
All of them shot into the air further than the eye could see, and since each of them was competing for prime sun real estate, the floor below their canopy was dark. Gnarled, intricate, and spawning root systems curled over the paths.
Moss and vines overtook the carcasses of the fallen, saturating the landscape in verdant vegetation. If there is anywhere to inspire the magic and darkness of fairy tales, this is it.
To be in the presence of these giants was like being in the presence of silent, wise gods.
Normally, I prefer camping for free, but these trees are the last of its kind and both campfires and trash are a problem. I am insist visitors pay the fee for camping within the park and help fund the preservation of this natural wonder.
The cost for a space last time I visited was $45 USD. There were showers on site and wood for sale. If you are driving through California, I would recommend taking the Avenue of Giants and opting out of the hotel in lieu of this camp ground.