Where to Find Big Trees & Big Ideas in California

Ents are freaking awesome.

And nothing in the world makes me believe they really do exist more than the Sequoias in Northern California.

Two great places to see Ents are Muir Woods and Mariposa Grove.


If you don’t know what an ent is, we can’t be friends.
Via tumblr.com

Muir Woods is a fairytale national park just outside San Francisco. There you can see Coast Redwoods, which you probably know as California redwoods or giant redwoods. (They’re a close cousin to the even more famous Giant Sequoia. And probably third cousin to Tolkien’s Ents.)

Siamese Sequoias

Siamese redwoods.

You just know that the minute you get back into the car, one is going to turn to the other and say, “Did you see the idiot with the bandana? Going for ‘wildlife chic’ but just looked like a fool.” (The Ents’ primary topic of conversation is fashion.)

California redwoods

At least have the courtesy to knock.

Gossiping old biddies! The oldest redwood in Muir Woods is 1,200 years old! The rest are generally 500-800 years old. (Mere babies.) Do you know what was going on 500 years ago? Me neither, but Raphael does. And Leonardo da Vinci. And Martin Luther. My point is: dayum!

The park is named for the nature lover and activist John Muir. Ironically, the man who demanded the park be named after Johnny – William Kent – was later unfriended by Muir over another conservation project. (Remember, this was before Facebook. Unfriending was serious business.)

kent_and_muir_muwo_inn copy

I want my mix-tapes back!

Now, the redwoods are cool, but if you want to see those super famous Giant Sequoias, head to Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park, a few hours outside San Francisco. Mariposa Grove is home to two of the biggest sequoias in the world as well as some creatively named Ents.

Look at these characters and tell me they don’t have stories to share!

The Clothespin Tree

The Clothespin Tree.

Fires over the years created that hole in the middle. Look at the size of the people in comparison – a car could drive through the Clothespin’s trunk!

Fallen Monarch Tree, Mariposa Grove, California

The Fallen Monarch.

This guy fell over 300 hundred years ago but sequoias have this really weird ability to resist decay. Wish my treehouse had been sequoia.

The Wawona Tunnel Tree, the Fallen Tunnel Tree, Mariposa Grove, California

The Wawona Tunnel Tree, renamed the Fallen Tunnel Tree, for obvious reasons.

You know this one. It’s the one you’ve seen in pictures with big old classic cars driving through the middle. He toppled in 1969, sending shockwaves through the world of conservation.

And the oldest sequoia in the Mariposa Grove is between 1,900 and 2,400 years old. (That’s a big gap, yes, but science is hard.) And it’s this guy:

The Grizzly Giant, Mariposa Grove, California

The Grizzly Giant.

Those are just a few of the characters you’ll find in Mariposa Grove. To meet the rest of them, you’ll just have to hop on a plane!

Anybody else have some favorite trees of their own?

John Muir quote

 Annie Cosby

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  1. therese says:

    the ones I planted!!

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