6 of America’s Coolest Trees

Explore a forest.

Remember the Lorax who spoke for the trees? As colorful as they may be,Truffula Trees have nothing on the ones in our own backyard. These six magnificent trees would leave even the Lorax speechless — and you don’t have to venture into a Dr. Suess book to find them.

1. The Banyan Tree; Lahaina, Maui. (Pictured above)

Don’t you just want to stretch out on one of these branches and read a book in the Hawaiian sun? Yeah, we do, too. Planted in 1873, this banyan tree was only eight feet tall. Today it stands 60 feet tall and has 11 more trunks than when it was first brought to Maui from India. It’s also a community center for the town of Lahaina, providing shade for almost an entire acre of land next to the beach.

2. The Lone Cypress; Monterey Peninsula, California.

The Lone Cypress earned its fame for its solitary cliffside location on the rocky California coast. We understand why — this tree is insanely photogenic! At 250 years old, this cypress is a landmark for California’s beautiful 17-mile drive on the Monterey Peninsula.

3. “Methuselah” Bristlecone Pine, California.

Gnarled and mangled, the Methuselah pine tree stands as the oldest living thing in the world. This tree has seen it all, and its twisted branches hold stories over 4,800 years old. No wonder it was named after the oldest person in the Hebrew Bible!

4. Pando Aspen Tree Grove; Utah.

Head to this grove of quaking aspen trees in southern Utah and you’ll find yourself face to face with the largest living organism in the world. Yeah, we’re talking about the trees. Turns out, these trees share a connected system of roots, making them all essentially one giant organism. Pretty neat, huh? The grove was named “Pando,” after the Latin word for “I spread.”

5. General Sherman Sequoia; Northern California.

Who is General Sherman? The person, William Tecumseh Sherman, was a general in the Civil War. But we mostly care about the tree named after him — the Sherman Tree, the biggest tree (by volume) in the world. With a circumference of 102 feet, it would take almost 20 people holding hands to circle its entire trunk!

6. Ancient Angel Oak Tree; Charleston, South Carolina.

The Ancient Angel loves to spread its wings, with a canopy reaching almost 17,000 square feet. Visitors have described this tree as elegant and enchanting, with a Southern charm all its own. Ancient Angel may also be the oldest tree east of the Mississippi at the age of 1,400 years.

Bonus: Hyperion coastal redwood; Humboldt, California.

Discovered in 2006, the Hyperion redwood is considered the tallest tree in the world at almost 380 feet. Scientists are insistent on keeping the Hyperion safe — the giant continues to tower over the forest in an undisclosed location.


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This post originally appeared in Sierra magazine.

Image: Bevis Chin, Tim Pearce, Clinton Steeds, msn678, mikebaird, Charleston’s TheDigitel,