Tall Trees Grove and Hyperion – Redwood National Park

We cover all sorts of wellness tracking in large part because it helps ensure being able to take on fun new adventures. Lately that has included traveling to various National Parks. Each of the National Parks has it’s own fun areas to explore, but the best ones are often the less trafficked and more strenuous parts that help avoid crowds.

For a trip to Redwood National Park one of the more exclusive hikes is the Tall Trees Grove. As a site of some of the tallest trees in the world, the Tall Trees grove is also the closest you can get to “Hyperion” which claims the title as tallest tree.

The grove itself is 1.5 miles away from the trail head, which also involves more than 800 feet of descent. Of course if you go down you must come back up, so in total the easiest hike to Tall Trees Grove still involves a 4.5 mile loop with nearly 1000 feet of elevation change.

To further complicate things the hike is limited in attendance by the need for a permit, and a drive past a locked gate and down 6.5miles of gravel road. These hurdles make Tall Trees noticeably less packed than nearby Lady Bird Johnson trail, or portion of the Newton Drury parkway. To be clear, if you are pressed for time, Tall Trees Grove is likely not the best option. But if you are up for a more peaceful but strenuous adventure through the tallest trees in the world it is a great option.

Getting to Tall Trees Grove

One of the main benefits of Tall Trees Grove, compared to other Redwood hikes, is its relatively small number of hikers. The numbers are kept down by limiting permits, and also by its accessibility.

Getting to the trail head requires a 6.5mile trip down a curvy dirt road. Large trailers, RVs, and Tour buses can’t make the trip. While a typically sedan can make the trip, having a vehicle you are comfortable driving on a gravel road is a must.

The Trailhead is also designed for experience hikers. The pit style latrine is more rustic than the bathrooms at other hikes and there is no water or other amenities available.

The small difficulty in getting to the trail head is itself an experience. With a family the idea that we had special access and had to unlock a National park gate added a bit of awe to the kids eyes and made the windy 30 minute drive from the 101 a bit shorter.

Where is Hyperion? The Tallest Tree in the World

Unfortunately hiking to Hyperion is no longer an option, but you can see it. The area surrounding popular trees and hikes gets trampled. Even though National Parks are designed these days with conservation in mind, their popularity is a catch 22 in the they draw people to beautiful spots that are otherwise untouched.

Although it would be neat to go touch Hyperion and get a picture, in reality it isn’t that special. Other trees have a wider base, more unique trunks you can stand within, and reach nearly as high. The impact of staring up at Hyperion is no different than dozens of other which are accessible from Tall Trees grove.

Even with all this caveat you can see Hyperion, you just won’t know it. Hyperion is situated across the creek at the bottom of Tall Trees Grove Hike in Redwoods National Park in a closed portion of the forest unaccessible to visitors. It too is in a grove though so at best you’ll see the top of it along with others.

To see Hyperion, the tallest tree in the world, stand at the edge of the clearing at the bottom of Tall Trees Hike and scan the hillside up from the opposite bank. You’ve now seen Hyperion. Don’t try to hike to it. Trees can change in height and if you do try to hike to it you very well might contribute to it falling, or other damage that impacts the height of Hyperion and takes away its title.

Looking up the far bank within walking distance of the Tallest Tree in the world. This isn’t Hyperion pictured. But how would you know?

The importance of this superlative is muted, both in order to conserve the area and because it does not stand out. Simply stated, if you have seen a bunch of tall Redwood trees, any one of them is not unique. If you are okay saying you saw Hyperion, without actually being able to pick it out of the forest, then Tall Trees Grove hike will still provide truth to your statement.

Is Tall Trees Grove a Must Stop?

As stated before, after a while all huge redwood trees start to look pretty similar. The Tall Trees Grove takes at least 40 minutes off the main highway to get to and requires some planning to grab permits. At the end of this effort is an experience that is similar to any other more accessible hike through groves.

If you can not get a permit, don’t want to drive on a dirt road, can’t make the climb down 800 feet, or simply do not have the time to dedicate don’t worry. Tall Trees Grove is not a “must stop” of Redwoods, but it is still a great option for those spending more than a day exploring the park.