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General Grant Tree

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 36.7479 N 118.9712 W
No:473        (list of all attractions)
Address:North America, United States, California, Fresno County, Kings Canyon National Park, General Grant Grove
Species:Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.)
Height:81.5 m
Circumference:27.8 m
Diameter:8.8 m
Volume:1,320 m³
General Grant Tree, California
General Grant Tree / Miguel Vieira, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Those who have seen this tree say that no images, numbers or descriptions can create the real life impression. General Grant Tree by all accounts is an unforgettable view - this is the third largest tree in the world, a giant sequoia with a circumference of 27.8 m and height of 81.5 m.

General Grant Tree sometimes around 1936, California
General Grant Tree sometimes around 1936 / George A. Grant, / public domain

Giant sequoias

Giant sequoias are the largest single-stem trees in the world and some of the oldest living beings in the world with proven age of 3,500 years. These trees grow in small area: on the western slopes of Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

Wood of sequoias is very persistent - sawdust of these trees remains unchanged for more than century.


White people (Joseph Hardin Thomas) discovered the tree in 1862. In 1867 this tree got special name - it was named after Ulysses S. Grant, general of Union Army and later president of the United States (1869 - 1877).

Base of General Grant Tree, California
Base of General Grant Tree / Giles Clark, / CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1890 this area got a nature conservation status - here was established General Grant National Park.

On April 28, 1926 this tree was declared the "Nation's Christmas Tree" by president Calvin Coolidge. This was the result of the campaign by local activist Charles E. Lee.

In 1956 president Dwight D. Eisenhower declared this tree a National Shrine - memorial to those who died in war. There is no other living being with such status.

These declarations are not just a formality - many people use every opportunity to visit this beautiful tree on Christmas and other special days.


One of the largest trees in the world

General Grant Tree is the largest tree in the General Grant Grove and the third largest tree in the world by volume. Two larger trees are also giant sequoias: General Sherman and President.

Base part of General Grant Tree is very impressive and until 1931 it was considered that this is the largest tree in the world (another candidate was Boole Tree). Then exact measurements were made and it turned out that another tree named General Sherman was a bit larger. Later it was found that also a tree named "President" is larger and now General Grant is the third largest tree in the world.


Also the purported age of this tree has "decreased" - while earlier many mentioned that this tree is certainly older than 2,000 year but now, after research it is estimated that this tree is some 1,650 years old.

Stoutest giant sequoia?

Tree is exceptional in every sense, but it is possible that this is also the stoutest giant sequoia. At the ground it has a circumference of 32.8 m but at the breast height - 27.8 m. These numbers make giant sequoia one of the stoutest trees in the world.

There are sequoias with bigger circumference at the ground level. Thus Waterfall Tree in Alder Creek Grove has a circumference of 47 m at the ground level. This giant number is due to a buttress - and, when measuring the circumference properly, there is taken a height of 1.3 - 1.4 m ABOVE the buttresses.


See the location of General Grant Tree on the map of California!


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