Hyperion, which was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest living tree in 2007 — stands at a height of 115.9 meters (380 feet) — California’s Redwood National Park has put off-limits to visitors. According to a statement released by park officials, anyone caught near the tree could face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The coast redwood (sequoia sempervirens) tree is deep in the park and has no trails leading to it; it has faced serious environmental degradation from thrill-seekers who have visited since 2006, when it was found by a pair of naturalists.
Hyperion is located off trail through dense vegetation and requires heavy ‘bushwhacking’ in order to reach the tree, according to the National Park Service’s statement on its website. The park service states that because of bloggers and other writers who publicized the off-trail route to the massive tree, tourism has increased at an unsustainable rate.
Fires are a growing concern in California’s national parks. In 2021, officials at Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Parks took extreme measures to protect some of the world’s biggest trees from fire. General Sherman, considered the world’s largest tree — determined by density rather than height, as it is shorter than Hyperion — was wrapped in an “aluminum-based burn-resistant material” as a way to keep it safe during the devastating KNP Complex Fire.