Great Bonsai
Height: 184.00+ ft (56.08+ m) Elevation: 6,625 ft (2,019 m) GPS Latitude: 36.21841
Volume: 20,631 ft3 (584 m3) Creek: Meadow Creek GPS Longitude: -118.66830
Width: 18.72 ft (5.71 m) Grove: Mountain Home Grove Discovery Date:
Age: Park: Giant Sequoia NM Discovered By:

Notes: Naturalist Wendell D. Flint described Great Bonsai as one of the great sequoia sights to be seen anywhere ... a monstrous sequoia with many huge limbs almost extending to the ground. The 2020 Castle Fire destroyed Great Bonsai.

Drive: Great Bonsai is 233 mi (375 km) southeast of San Francisco near the city of Porterville.

Northbound: From U.S. Interstate 5 North, transfer to California State Route 99 North. From California State Route 99 North just north of Bakersfield, transfer to California State Route 65 North toward Porterville. Near Porterville, transfer to California State Route 190 East.

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 Tipton, transfer to California State Route 190 East toward Porterville.

From Porterville, drive east 17 mi (27 km) on California State Route 190 toward Springville. Just past Springfield, turn left onto Balch Park Road toward Scicon, Balch Park, and Mountain Home State Forest. Drive north 3.4 mi (5.5 km) on Balch Park Road and turn right onto Bear Creek Road toward Scicon, Balch Park, and Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest. Drive east 15 mi (24 km) on Bear Creek Road, past Methuselah Group Campground, and veer right at the next fork in the road onto Summit Road toward Shake Camp Campground. Drive northeast 1.0 mi (1.6 km) on Summit Road, past Oliver Twist, and turn right onto Dogwood Meadow Road. Drive south 0.2 mi (0.3 km) on Dogwood Meadow Road and turn left onto Japan Tree Road. Drive east 0.1 mi (0.2 km) on Japan Tree Road to the roadside parking spot near 36.21791 -118.66934.

Navigation System Warning: Many computer, smartphone, and car navigation systems instruct you to turn left/north onto Rancheria Fire Road (a gated, narrow, and unpaved road) from Bear Creek Road to get to Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest. Ignore those instructions and continue driving on Bear Creek Road instead. Those same navigation systems may also instruct you to bypass Bear Creek Road altogether and to take Balch Park Road to the northern entrance of Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest. Avoid that route from Springville because it adds more than 6 mi (10 km) and 30 min of driving one-way.

Hike: GPS-assisted navigation is recommended for this hike. From the parking spot, hike northeast 380 ft (116 m) off-trail to Great Bonsai which stands near the top of the ridge.

Rating: Easy One-Way Distance: 380 ft (116 m) Ascent: 100 ft (30 m)
Time: 5 min Off-Trail: 380 ft (116 m) Descent: 0 ft (0 m)
Great Bonsai Tree Hike Map

View Great Bonsai Tree location in Google Maps

Panoramas: Click panoramas to take a virtual tour of Great Bonsai Tree

Photos: Pictures of Great Bonsai Tree taken from different sides

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