Giant Sequoia National Monument is a 353,000-acre preserve in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. It includes 38 Sequoia groves, about half of the Sequoia groves still in existence.
Sequoias are the largest trees by volume in the world, and are one of the tallest and longest-living trees.
Naturally-occurring Giant Sequoias grow exclusively in a narrow 60-mile band of mixed conifer forest between 5,000 and 8,000 feet elevation on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
We hiked along the Trail of 100 Giants. In April, 2000, President Clinton established the Giant Sequoia National Monument beneath one of the giant trees along this trail.
The Trail of 100 Giants runs through the 341-acre Longmeadow Grove, which contains the largest concentration of Giant Sequoia trees in the world. The grove contains about 125 Giant Sequoias larger than 10 feet in diameter at the base, and another 700 Giant Sequoias less than 10 feet in diameter. This photo shows Darby sniffing around a fallen Giant Sequoia that shattered upon impact with the ground.
Giant Sequoia trees have a wide but shallow root system. The roots of a mature Giant Sequoia can spread over an acre of land and contain over 90,000 cubic feet of soil. This massive root system is necessary to keep upright a Giant Sequoia that can reach 300 feet tall and weigh up to 2 million pounds.
Giant Sequoias are different from their cousins, the Coastal Redwood. Giant Sequoias must withstand more severe winters in the Sierra Nevada Mountains than the more temperate winters that Redwoods experience along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Redwoods are the tallest trees on Earth, whereas Sequoias are the largest trees by volume. Sequoias have the potential to reach heights achieved by Redwoods, but usually lose their tops from lightning strikes or strong winds in the mountains.