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.

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).

Giant sequoia - General Grant Tree, California, United States
Giant sequoia – General Grant Tree, California / Miguel Vieira, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

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

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.

General Grant Tree is included in the following list:

10 stoutest trees of the world
10 stoutest tree species of the world


  1. Giant sequoia in Grant’s Grove, Monumental trees, accessed on July 20, 2014
  2. After review, giant sequoia beats neighbor, MSN News, accessed on July 20, 2014
General Grant Tree on the map
[travelers-map height=320px this_post=true init_maxzoom=9]
Location, GPS coordinates: 36.7479 N 118.9712 W
Categories: Trees
Values: Biology
Rating: 4 out of 10 stars
Where is located? 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

Landmarks of California

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Although California is one of states in the United States of America, Americans often compare it to a separate country, e.g. “if California would be a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world”. We can go on with this comparison – California has more landmarks and attractions than many large countries of the world.


Árbol del Tule, another aspect of trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form
Árbol del Tule, another aspect of trunk which shows that the trunk has elongated form / cezzie901, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Category includes some of the most impressive and interesting separate trees of the the world. Total number of tree species in the world still is a wild guess – may be 10,000 and may be 100,000 but most likely somewhere in between. Every month there are reported new tree species from the whole world, including the Western Europe.

Recommended books

Redwoods: The World’s Largest Trees

Portrays the anatomy and growth of the redwood, describes the plants and animals that share its habitat, and looks at the history of redwood logging.

Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History

Coast Redwood is the first contemporary illustrated book to focus exclusively on the natural and cultural history of the world’s tallest tree. This handsome volume, updated and revised in 2011, contains 230 color images and 100 black and white historic photos and describes the origins, distribution, life history, ecology, and wildlife associated with coast redwood.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments