Redwoods in Stout Grove

Hyperion Coast Redwood

World's tallest discovery in 2006, Redwood National Park, 379 ft. - 386 ft.

Continued from Coast Redwoods Main Page



Copyright 2016 by Mario Vaden

Note: Hyperion was discovered 2006 and was the tallest redwood published. The page Redwood Discoveries added insight that not every new discovery is being revealed past 2014. Since new territory was explored and new champions found, Hyperion's info here will mainly refer historically to 2006. I can expound on this more farther down this page, with an extra redwood forest photo. On April 5th, I'm adding a big update to the bottom of the other page for redwood discovery: some big news related to Hyperion and other tall and large redwoods.


Hyperion coast redwood was discovered August 25, 2006 by Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor. It was one of 3 world record Coast Redwoods found the same year in Redwood National Park. The 3 redwoods found in 2006 were Hyperion, Helios and Icarus. By 2013, heights of the tallest redwoods shuffled the deck and Redwood National Park did not hold claim to the "three tallest" as of 2014. Even if location clues leak, my tendency is to withhold directions, and some folks like figuring it out themselves.

The image below is the oldest top-to-bottom view of Hyperion. Available on 16 x 32 print canvas. This is the photo farthest-removed from human influence, taken on a rainy January 23, 2009. In that regard the four-frame composite is historical. My wife likes this better than the Geisha redwood print (my favorite).


Continue below this image for more information

Hyperion redwood one of the tallest in the world


This Coast Redwood was the tallest known of all plant species in the world from 2006 to 2013. The 2012 measurement was 115.66m or 379.46' high, 15.2' diameter at dbh or 4.5' above average grade.

It is mostly a single stem redwood with fire charring on the trunk. Hyperion looks like a stereotypical Sequoia sempervirens.

The stem length on the low side was 386 feet. It's location is a hillside above a creek of Redwood National Park. In a sense, you could accurately say Hyperion is a 386 ft. tall redwood. One professional measuring standard averages the height based on the upslope and downslope reach of the trunk. But if it were possible to remove Hyperion from the earth, hang it from a crane and dangle the bottom reach of the trunk on the ground, it would stand no less than 386 ft. tall. Its accurate to say Hyperion was 386 ft. tall from the lowest reach to the highest reach of it's trunk.

worlds tallest coast redwoods and old growth near Yurok and Klamath

Around August 26, 2006, forest expert Dr. Robert VanPelt referred to this redwood as "unnamed" and wrote "The most significant year in tree height measuring just joined the ranks of years like 1066, 1492, etc."

Image right: coast redwoods near Klamath and Yurok territory ..... Note from above continued: some notable new discoveries are not being published, named or shown anymore. Therefore, the real tallest and largest coast redwoods are only known among a few researchers and discoverers.

Around 2013, the most skilled discoverers pushed into new territory. Many new discoveries were made including tallest redwoods that did not show up on LiDAR lists. In other words, redwood forest had been flown-over with LiDAR equipment before indicating potential tallest redwoods, and those were sought and measured. But the same forest was re-explored, and new discoveries were made that did not appear in the LiDAR set. Similarly, expanses of Redwood and National State Parks was not explored or covered with LiDAR gear.

Other forests were also explored, including old growth coast redwoods near Klamath, etc.. I cropped-out the tallest redwood which was to the right, but the old-growth is evident.

In a nutshell, outside of about 20 people, the real tallest and largest coast redwood discovered is not known. The redwood forest was not fully explored or fully re-explored; but we are still out there looking for even more.

During the first climb shown by National Geographic researcher Steve Sillett said foliage near the top was not as reduced in size as expected. The needles still had some "expansion" indicating potential for extra height.

The first climb involved Dr. Steve Sillett, his wife Marie Antoinne, Jim Spickler and author Richard Preston. National Geographic's film crew tagged along plus 3 officials from Save the Redwoods League, one being Ruskin Hartley who carried the crossbow for Sillett that September 16, 2006. Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins who discovered it were also present.


Image: glimpse into the canopy, one trunk with unique hook-arm reiterations

Hyperion redwood crown in Redwood National Park, canopy view


Prior to 2010, a plane flew over several redwood parks for LiDAR but left the door open for more unknown super tall redwoods because swaths of Redwood National Park area was skipped, or missed for some reason. Tallest redwoods have been found in the LiDAR zone, which were undetected. That basically opened up all parks flown-over for LiDAR to re-exploration, and of course, we returned.

A lot of people thought there was no chance another largest coast redwood trunk existed either, but more were found anyway. Chance has potential.

The largest waterway is Redwood Creek with Prairie Creek as largest tributary. Lost Man Creek is another tributary. Among this web of waterways and slopes stand quite a few Coast Redwoods over 350 feet including Hyperion. When I first found Hyperion, I tried a route that involved water over my waist.

My favorite story by others is a 2007 Above and Beyond by Clynes. Even though I have been to Hyperion a couple of times, I still enjoy reading this fun article from time to time. If it is still online, see ... Above and Beyond Article

The narrative unfolds as if they they picked Redwood Creek trailhead close to Orick.

photography assistant next to Hyperion one of the tallest coast redwood

That article opens weighing options in hours and pints of blood. Their first search party had a 75% casualty rate for injuries the first day. I found interesting quirks comparing Preston's book with Clynes story.

Image: my photography assistant with a Canon camera at the base of the tall Coast Redwood trunk.

It was unusually warm that day ... 80 degrees the first day of May.

Clynes never did find Hyperion, but he closed his story with a great appreciation for the forest. Its worth the read.

Clynes contacted co-discoverer Chris Atkins afterward to chat. Around April, 2015, Chris and I stopped for an IPA and supper where I asked about his conversation with Clynes, and Atkins confirmed the phone call.

I reread Above and Beyond recently. Clynes mentioned at least an "hour" of "sloshing" and the narrative indicates one of the next days was even farther so they could have gone up a full mile or more. Far enough to reach solitide grove up Redwood Creek.

The article began with 10 ft. log jams. Coming out of the gate, the story has a McArthur Creek vibe. But the Rhody patches ring true of spots like Forty Four creek or Elam creek north slope.

Clynes never says how many days they spent. The "last" day in the context of the call to Atkins remains a mystery. Some people assume the last stretch Clynes explains is the last day. But whether they looked 2 days or 5 days he did not reveal.

In the beginning, the park's ranger made the effort to draw their attention to a specific stand of redwoods and one part of the park. That's about the only time Clynes names a spot they went. Afterward, they left to study maps for where to lead themselves. They went to the visitor center south of Orick for a "better" map. Its uncertain what map they started with or whether a ranger provided any at the "headquarters" operations center earlier in the story.

One section in the narrative that reveals their thoughts . . . "I turned discreetly and scanned the steep, mazelike country upstream. Somewhere up there, Hyperion had been quietly holding forth for decades" . . . Considering the exact spot the ranger took them, Clynes' comment points toward Bridge Creek, Emerald Creek, etc..

In the future as new data is released, names are not expected to accompany the data. It may be unavailable for more people to know when the tallest cooast redwoods have actually traded places.

It may not be announce anymore, at least not by name.

Tags on redwoods are not reliable for verification. Between canopy researchers and other studies, there are reams of tags. Tags for some redwoods are across valleys on trunks of other Redwoods or Douglas Firs where the window was open to use a laser toward the opposite side of the valley.

Between 2008 and 2011 the number of tags multiplied. (707) 464 - 2137 @ 701 Hy. 101 S. Crescent City, CA 95531. Click photo for more .. 8 / 2014 Curly Redwood Lodge Motel Lodging




cleaning camera lens on day of photographs at Hyperion

Keyhole in the Landscape

Richard Preston wrote of a keyhole in the landscape, leading to Hyperion Valley.

For a while, it made no sense.

Eventually, I realized that one or two spots in the park can be described as a keyhole.

Image: cleaning lens in Redwood National Park, the same day my photography assistant, above helped me get more images

October 10, 2015

Found an interesting error this month.

Someone posted online that Hyperion's canopy / crown is the greatest known, over 90 meters top to bottom. Almost 300 ft. worth.

The error is apparently elsewhere too, but it caught my eye, since the post I read this month is also connected to a series of errors on coast redwoods.

Anyhow, let it be known that other in the coast redwood species named in Preston's 2007 redwood adventure book and on my webiste exceeds Hyperion in this regard.

There is other redwood crown out there well over 300 ft. top to bottom.

This goes to show how easily misinformation can be spread when people who disconnect themselve from redwood experts try feeding information online without consulting others.


December 25, 2014

Who is the photo assistant? A few have inquired.

It is Jenni ... the one who inspired redwood photos with dresses you may have seen in a gallery or motel. She enjoys image adjusting, video and editing. Our first shoots were in Eureka and Humboldt when she worked in Eureka as a dancer and model. I met her via Lotus who is mentioned on the Knotty Lady redwood page. They both helped establish the foundation of my redwood portraiture and art photography displayed at the redwood coast. Some hangs in motels, gallery, magazines and brochures. We also tinkered with photography at the beach, city streets and tourist attractions.

The world's tallest maple was named Humboldt Honey after a photo of Jenni taken near Koster St.. in Eureka, by a huge stack of logs. Plus I photographed her in a redwood grove where the tallest maple was located.

Jenni enjoys the outdoors of Humboldt, photos, dancing and yoga. It should be evident from the photo she has the flexibility and stamina for a lot of adventure.


jenni the hyperion redwood photo assistant in humboldt



Image: Chris Atkins, co-discoverer of Hyperion, swimming in Redwood National Park in an area described by author Clynes in the Backpacker Magazine article Above and Beyond.

See commentary above to know more about this area. This is upstream from Solitude Grove


Chris Atkins explorer swimming in Redwood Creek on a measuring expedition



I always thought this would make a great movie. But there's not a prayer's chance the redwood parks would allow this kind of filming in Redwood National and State Parks.

A successful filming would probably require private old growth forest like the Yurok have near Klamath and some other places. There's not shortage of locations, so an authentic looking backdrop is available.


hyperion redwood adventure movie poster for taylor and atkins