Big Trees

How Tall are Those Trees?

Individual big trees are spread around the Middle Fork Valley with a very few concentration or groves.  In 2009 and 2010 I scoured the Valley for old growth giants.  I took  notes and measured the largest trees.

Giant trees are so outside our realm of experience that it is very hard to estimate their size.  To make any sort of claim they must be measured and to be a record they have to be measured with a tape measure or a laser device.  Be skeptical of any claim that a tree is a certain size unless the person has measured it.  Most "tallest trees" aren't.

I measure trees using a digital inclinometer fitted with a sight and a long string I can stretch out to 100', 200', or 300'.  Trigonometry gives me the height.  Ideally I like to have 3 measurements, from three angles, 200' away from the tree.  This is hard and the topography around some trees just don't allow it.

I consider any tree over 150' to be big, over 200' to be a giant, and, in the Middle Fork, really big is around or above 250'.  These are far from the tallest trees in the world, Hyperion, a Coast Redwood in California, is over 379' tall.  I have found a lot of mixed claims and poor record keeping on tree heights with claims of a 302' Douglas fir on the Olympic Peninsula being the largest Douglas fir in the world.

The most interesting potential record is the CCC Tree in the Middle Fork Valley which I have measured carefully (3 angles, 300' away) and found it to be 205' tall.  I can find no record of a western red cedar taller than 200'.  The CCC Tree might be the tallest western red cedar in the world.

Tree log
Dingford big Cedar with bike

Not Forever

The Big Cedar at Dingford was 11 feet in diameter and several hundred years old when it fell during the winter of 2014-2015.  This was a special tree that I liked to visit and was a featured giant in Dreams in the Wilderness, Stories from the Middle Fork.

A gentle reminder that very few things are forever.

Dingford big cedar down

I'd like to see Big Trees

The old growth giants in the Middle Fork range from a walk up (see walks here) to hard scrambles requiring serious off trail experience.  The map below shows the general locations for the major old growth in the Middle Fork.  The larger trees can be hard to locate and recognize.  For example, the Garfield Giant is extremely isolated and is only 8.5' in diameter.  It's hard to recognize.

If you would like to talk more detail about the old growth giants and where to find them, feel free to contact me directly (

Where the Big Trees Are