Why The Location Of The World's Tallest Tree Is A Secret

You could face a $5,000 fine or even jail time if you find it.


Eleanor Higgs


Eleanor Higgs

Creative Services Assistant

Eleanor is a content creator and social media assistant with an undergraduate degree in zoology and a master’s degree in wildlife documentary production.

Creative Services Assistant

The trunk of hyperion disappears into the sky surrounded by smaller trees.

Although its location has never been publically revealed, the National Park Service says damage caused by determined hikers has led them to ban visitors. 

Image credit: Stephen Moehle/

The world is full of very tall things that tourists enjoy visiting: think the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Chrysler building in New York, or the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates. But the tallest living tree in the world is one such visitor experience that you might not get to enjoy. With a location kept secret from the general public, the enormous redwood in California is no longer something you can tick off your visitor bucket list.

Where is the world’s tallest tree?

Hidden deep in the Redwood National and State Park in Northern California stands an impressive giant redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens), nicknamed Hyperion. This giant tree is thought to be the tallest living tree in the world at a mighty 115.92 meters (380.3 feet) tall, even taller than the Statue of Liberty


The tree was only discovered to be the world’s tallest in 2006 by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. The exact location of the tree is a closely guarded secret to try and protect it and has never been revealed publicly – although allegedly it's coordinates were posted by a website in 2015 which led to an uptick in hikers. There are no direct easy walking trails to the tree, and those wanting to have a closer look have been "bushwacking"  their way through some pretty dense vegetation.

Why can’t you visit Hyperion?

Still, scores of visitors were determined to pay Hyperion a visit. So much so that the National Park Service has now closed the entire area and stated that there will be a fine of up to $5,000 and potentially jail time for those determined to break the rules and seek it. 

“The usage was having an impact on the vegetation and potentially the root system of the very tree that people are going there to visit,” Leonel Arguello, the Park’s Chief of Natural Resources, told SFGate. “There was trash, and people were creating even more side trails to use the bathroom. They leave used toilet paper and human waste – it’s not a good thing, not a good scene.” 

The closure is largely to prevent further damage to the surrounding ferns and vegetation in the area but also the protect visitor welfare. Since there is no clear route of access, and spotty GPS and cellphone service, any emergency service would have a very difficult time reaching someone in distress. 


“If someone were to get hurt down there, it’d be a while before we could get to them and extract them,” Arguello said. “These are all reasons why we’re playing it safe and protecting our resources.” 

What's the oldest tree in the world?

While Hyperion is thought to be around 700 to 800 years old, the world's oldest tree is thought to be a Great Basin bristlecone pine tree known as Methuselah also found in California. It's thought to be over 4,850 years old, according to the BBC. The tallest tree in Asia is thought to be a cypress tree standing at 102 meters (335 feet) tall, and it was only discovered in May of this year.


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