Visiting the World's Tallest Tree Could Cost You

Hyperion is off-limits, California's Redwood National Park makes clear
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2022 10:50 AM CDT
Visit the World's Largest Tree and You Could End Up in Jail
Stock photo of redwoods.   (Getty Images/Vince Barnes)

(Newser) – If laying eyes on the world's tallest tree is on your bucket list, brace yourself for disappointment. CNN reports California's Redwood National Park last week made clear that Hyperion, as the tree is known, is off-limits. Anyone caught in the vicinity of the 380-foot-tall tree will face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The national park's website points out that it's no easy feat getting to the tree, as no trails lead to it and the heavy vegetation around it necessitates bushwhacking.

"Despite the difficult journey, increased popularity due to bloggers, travel writers, and websites of this off-trail tree has resulted in the devastation of the habitat surrounding Hyperion" since its "discovery" in 2006, the statement continues. SFGate reports Hyperion's base suffered as a result, and ferns no longer grow around it. Damage to the base is particularly troubling as redwoods tend to have very shallow roots. "As a visitor, you must decide if you will be part of the preservation of this unique landscape—or will you be part of its destruction?" the park's statement asks. If you think, heck, I'll be in the destruction camp, the park tries to tamp down expectations of what you'll see.

"A view of Hyperion doesn't match its hype," the site notes. "Hyperion's trunk is small in comparison to many other old-growth redwood trees and its height cannot be observed from the ground." It's illegal to fly a drone around it in an attempt to spy the top as well. The statement also points out that redwoods often lose parts of their crown due to wind and lightning, and any regrowth will never get them back to their original height: "The title of tallest tree has changed many times over the years and likely will change again." (Read more redwoods stories.)

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