Giant Sequoia Groves

The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is the world's largest tree. It occurs naturally only in a narrow band of mixed conifer forest (the "transition zone"), generally between 5,000-8,000 ft. elevation on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada. Climatically, the giant sequoia is limited to the "Cool Summer Mediterranean" (Csb) climate. There are 65 to 75 groves of sequoias in the Sierra, depending upon how the groves are defined.

Though the sequoia occurs as far north as Placer County, all but eight small groves occur along a 70 mile long band in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park and in the newly created Giant Sequoia National Monument. Over all, there are about 36,000 acres of giant sequoias in the entire world.

Mature giant sequoias can reach an immense size. The General Grant tree has a 28.9 ft dbh (diameter at breast height). The tallest trees top 300 ft in height. And the General Sherman tree has a volume of over 52,000 cubic feet (large enough to completely fill a room 100 ft. long, 65 ft. wide and 8 ft. high). Giant sequoias can also reach great age. The oldest known tree lived about 3,500 years and trees over 2,000 years old are common in some groves. Only the bristlecone pine lives to greater age.

The map below documents the current range of the giant sequoia. Click on the box within the map to view a more detailed map of the southern groves. A complete list of all giant sequoia groves is also available.

Giant Sequoia Groves
Giant Sequoia Groves View Detail Giant Sequoia Groves

See also:

The Distribution of Forest Trees in California, Griffin and Critchfield, 1972.
Giant Sequoia Groves of the Sierra Nevada, Willard, 1994.
Giant Sequoia National Monument Web Site