North California Coast Redwood Forest

Big Tree Coast Redwood | 14th Largest
Prairie Creek Redwoods SP

Copyright 2010 - 2017 by Mario Vaden

Continued from: Coast Redwoods Main Page



The Big Tree redwood is the 14th largest known (2013) coast redwood, standing in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park near Foothill Trail. It is most practical coast redwoods for a photo op if you want to brag or show off some west coast giants. It's north of Orick and South of Klamath, about 1 minute drive down the road north from the visitor center. There is parking with a sign by the roadside for directions. The wood sign got clobbered late winter 2014 when a 4' diameter trunk fell across Dury Parkway. But the sign was repaired. The new sign was also innacurate the day it was made, claiming over 300 ft. tall. The real stats for this coast redwood were:

286 feet tall ... 23.7' diameter dbh trunk ... 28,619 ft cu. ft. ... (2014)

This is not the 3rd widest or 3rd largest in case you read that at a Facebook page affiliated with the redwood parks. There were at least 18 coast redwoods that are as wide or wider including Del Norte Titan 23.7', Godwood Creek Giant 24.5', Lost Monarch 25.5' / 26.0' and Arco Giant 24.4'. With new 2013 - 2017 discoveries, the Big redwood of is surpassed by many others. But stop by and take a walk. Its huge ... you will enjoy it.

The first (older) photo from 2008 shows a fence. The next photo shows part of a large deck built over the root system on the east side. I like the woman's stance because Big Tree also looks to have it's hand on the hip if you look at it's south side big limb. Or like a tea cup handle. The last photo was taken at sunset, showing the entire deck.

This used to be listed as taller than 300', but we remeasured it 2012 - 2013 with help from Alan Justice, PhD (visitor center volunteer and 3rd place winner in Save the Redwood League's 2013 photo contest w/ his Spotted Owl photo). We started about 500 feet away down Drury Parkway and worked our way to the trunk with a laser rangefinder. Hence, 286 ft.

This Big Tree appears to be curly redwood from a large piece of stem that fell down. Curly redwood is not rare, but not common. If you walk from the parking area, look for what has the appearance of a fallen log about shoulder height. Check out the pattern and grain of the exposed wood. There are epiphytes growing on it including evergreen huckleberry. Some redwoods like this are nature's orchards for wildlife.

This Sequoia sempervirens is just a little big larger than the Giant redwood near Avenue of the Giants in the Bull Creek Flats area down Mattole Rd.. This redwood in Prairie Creek is available all year long, whereas the one down south is rather inaccessible when Bull Creek rises in winter. Although Drury Parkway may have gates closed for winter blow-down of debris, the big redwood is within walking distance of the visitor center.

North of this big redwood is one of the tallest Coast Redwoods in the park, although you may not be able to tell. But you may catch a glimpse of an unusual trunk that Dr. Steve Sillett of HSU was shown circling in a National Geographic / Nat Geo Discovery Channel video.


Big redwood in Prairie Creek Redwoods

Big redwood in Prairie Creek Redwoods

Big Tree Redwood in Prairie Creek Redwood park prior to new sign