General Sherman - World's Largest Tree
Height: 274.25+ ft (83.59+ m) Elevation: 6,900 ft (2,103 m) GPS Latitude: 36.58171
Volume: 49,264 ft3 (1,395 m3) Creek: Sherman Creek GPS Longitude: -118.75145
Width: 27.06 ft (8.25 m) Grove: Giant Forest Discovery Date: August 7, 1879
Age: 3,115 y Park: Sequoia NP Discovered By: James Wolverton

Notes: General Sherman, named to honor United States Union Army General William T. Sherman, is the largest of three trillion trees on Earth and the American Forests (1,533 AF points) national champion giant redwood. It has more than two billion leaves (most of any tree yet measured) and seventy-four thousand cones and is the only known tree which has a trunk 20 ft (6 m) wide 35 ft (11 m) above ground.

General Sherman has held the title of world's largest tree since 1931 after a team of engineers, led by J. W. Jourdan of the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation, measured the four then-largest-known redwoods (Boole, Hart, General Grant, and General Sherman) and determined that General Sherman was the true size champion.

The discovery and naming of General Sherman remain controversial. Potwisha indians led cattleman Hale Dixon Tharp to Giant Forest in September 1858. Naturalist John Muir, who visited Tharp later, explored and named Giant Forest in 1875. Although both men may have seen General Sherman before 1879, neither claimed or received credit for its discovery. Most park sources assert that cowboy James Wolverton, who worked for Tharp, discovered the tree on August 7, 1879 and named it after the Civil War general under whom he served. In 1885, they note, Charles F. Keller of the Kaweah Cooperative Commonwealth, a socialist colony established along the North Fork of Kaweah River, renamed the giant redwood Karl Marx Tree to honor the revolutionary socialist. The name then reverted to General Sherman when the Kaweah Colony disbanded after Sequoia National Park was established on September 25, 1890. However, some suspect that Keller, who also served under General Sherman, discovered and named the tree first, when guide Newton Tharp, Hale's son, led him to Giant Forest in September 1885, and that park officials renamed the tree afterward. The United States Cavalry, which patrolled Sequoia National Park from 1891 to 1914, first referred to the tree as General Sherman and attached a Gen. Sherman sign to its trunk in 1897.

General Sherman was once known as Pin Cushion Tree when park visitors competed to determine who could pin a dart, thrown with his/her name attached, highest on the trunk.

General Sherman should not be confused with another General Sherman tree which grows in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park.

Videographer Tomáš Medek published an aerial flyover of General Sherman. University of Washington forestry assistant professor Robert Van Pelt published an orthographic illustration of General Sherman (shown at left).

The largest (General Sherman) and the tallest (Hyperion) trees on Earth grow 427 mi (687 km) apart, the largest giant redwood (General Sherman) and the largest coast redwood (Hail Storm) grow 460 mi (740 km) apart, and the largest (General Sherman) and the tallest (Near Sherman) giant redwoods grow 0.2 mi (0.3 km) apart.

Treefecta: The world's largest (General Sherman), tallest (Hyperion), and oldest (Methuselah) trees all grow in California.

General Sherman is directly in the path of the May 3, 2106 total solar eclipse.

Drive: General Sherman is 218 mi (351 km) southeast of San Francisco near Fresno.

Northbound: From U.S. Interstate 5 North, transfer to California State Route 99 North toward Bakersfield. Drive north 97 mi (156 km) on California State Route 99 and transfer to California State Route 198 East toward Visalia. Drive east 63 mi (101 km) on California State Route 198 (Generals Highway), past Four Guardsmen, and turn right onto Wolverton Road.

Southbound: From U.S. Interstate 5 South in Sacramento, transfer to U.S. Highway 50 East toward South Lake Tahoe. Drive east 1.7 mi (2.7 km) on U.S. Highway 50 and transfer to California State Highway 99 South. Near Fresno, transfer to California State Route 180 East. Drive east 56 mi (90 km) on California State Route 180, and turn right onto California State Route 198 West. Drive south 26 mi (42 km) on California State Route 198 (Generals Highway) and turn left onto Wolverton Road.

Drive east 0.6 mi (1.0 km) on Wolverton Road, turn right at a stop sign onto an unnamed road, and drive south 0.6 mi (1.0 km) to the Sherman Tree parking lot.

Hike: From the Sherman Tree Trail information building, walk south/downhill 0.4 mi (0.6 km) on the paved Sherman Tree Trail toward General Sherman. Near the bottom, turn right on a short spur trail to the tree. It's big. You can't miss it.

Sherman Shortcuts: During summer (late May to early September) Sequoia Shuttle bus operations, park at the Sherman Tree parking lot and ride the free Sequoia Shuttle (Green Route 1 or Orange Route 4) from the parking lot to the General Sherman Tree Accessible Trail. Alternatively, park at a turnout, located at 36.57818 -118.75286, on the west side of California State Route 198 (Generals Highway) just south of General Sherman and hike north 0.2 mi (0.3 km) on the highway to the Sherman Tree Accessible Trail parking lot. This parking lot is available to all park visitors (including those without disability parking placards) during winter whenever the main Sherman Tree parking lot, off Wolverton Road, is closed. Hike north 0.1 mi (0.2 km) on the Sherman Tree Accessible Trail to General Sherman.

Rating: Easy One-Way Distance: 0.4 mi (0.6 km) Ascent: 3 ft (1 m)
Time: 9 min Off-Trail: 0 mi (0 km) Descent: 249 ft (76 m)
General Sherman Tree Hike Map

View General Sherman Tree location in Google Maps

Panoramas: Click panoramas to take a virtual tour of General Sherman Tree

Photos: Pictures of General Sherman Tree taken from different sides

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