Are There Redwood Trees In Washington State? Where At?

If there is any state that you would expect to have the biggest and most impressive trees, it’s Washington. Washington is known as the Evergreen State for a reason and is often regarded as the wettest and greenest state in the Pacific Northwest.

However, even Washington can’t have everything.

We recently took a road trip from northern California up the Oregon coast and saw several examples of redwood trees along the way. That is, until we got closer to Washington and they seemed to peter out.

This, of course, begs the question of whether there are even any redwood trees in Washington.

If you’re in Washington State and are hoping to see giant redwoods, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you. There are, however, several types of trees that you can visit which are just as beautiful and nearly as massive.

Redwood trees are not native to Washington and the few examples in the state have been planted. While there are a handful of redwoods you can visit, they are nothing like the giant groves of coastal redwoods that can be found in California and Southern Oregon.

If it’s wonderous trees you’re after, Washington does have several other varieties of trees that are officially recognized as the largest tree of their species in the world. In fact, Washington State has what it considered to be the largest tree in the entire world…if you forget that California exists.

Redwood Trees In Washington State

While Redwoods are not native to the area, there are several Redwoods that you can see in Washington State. However, most of these are only interesting if you really want to see a leaf or touch the bark of the tree as they are not old enough to have grown to colossal heights.

All of the trees in the state were planted by people within the past couple of hundred years and many of them are either on city properties or in people’s yards.

There are no wooded hikes to massive Redwood groves.

Where To See Redwoods In Washington

washington redwoods map
The few, proud, Coast Redwoods of Washington

If you simply must see redwoods, there are a couple of lists that detail where to find redwoods in Washington. However, since most of them are on private property you’ll want to do some research before visiting to make sure that they are actually accessible.

Monumental Trees currently has only 6 trees listed in their database although there are probably dozens of unreported Redwoods in the state.

List of Redwood Trees In Washington & Their Location

Sequoias vs Redwoods

Now, don’t think that you’re chance to see giant trees is out of the question just because there aren’t any Redwoods of significance.

When people think of “redwoods” they are often thinking of the towering Coastal Redwoods that have been made famous by the massive examples in California.

However, many people consider the Giant Sequoias to be interchangeable with Redwoods. They’re not, really, since they’re two entirely different specials of trees. Their similarities do make them just as interesting to see though.

Both Redwoods and Sequoias are native only to California but both have spread out a bit and more Sequoias than Redwoods have made it all the way through the PNW to Washington.

Both trees are recognizable by their cinnamon-colored bark and their ability to grow to massive heights and live for many thousands of years.

The main difference, then, is simply their habitat. While most redwoods live near the coast (hence their name: Coast Redwoods), Sequiouas are more at home in mountainous sub-alpine regions which give them much more space to spread out through Oregon and Washington.

As far as size goes, Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world but Sequoias are the largest, at least if we measure by circumference.

Giant-Sequoia details the Sequoia trees in the state but we run into the same problem of them being planted (and therefore owned) by people. Since the list is somewhat bigger than Redwoods you should have a decent chance of seeing one or more near you.

But those aren’t even the biggest trees around. Washington is no slouch at growing trees and hosts several monstrous specimens. If you’re after big trees, you’re better off seeing a few of the state’s more famous options, most of which are on public land with viewing trails.

Largest Trees In Washington State

Now, each of the following trees has claimed the title of being the largest specimen of its species in the entire world. While there might be some undiscovered monsters lurking in untraveled mountain areas, it’s probably true.

These were mostly discovered by loggers who were either unable or unwilling to remove the giant ancient trees and they have since become spectacles for the public.

Washington is the home to 8 such trees but we’ll just include of the largest and most notable trees here.

1. Kalaloch Cedar – World’s Largest Western Red Cedar Tree

This nearly 1,000-year-old tree is one of the largest and most impressive woody specimens on the west coast. However, sadly, it’s also a lesson in the cycle of life. While it’s still well worth seeing, a good portion of this tree collapsed during a storm in 2014.

There is some debate on how “alive” this tree still is but most people point to the green branches on one side of the trunk and claim that it’s still the original tree, not a sucker tree or child tree.

While it’s no longer the largest tree in Washington by overall mass, it is still considered to be the largest tree in the state and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

How Big Is It?

The world’s largest Western Red Cedar measures 174′ tall, 63.5′ in circumference, and has a 19.5′ diameter.

How To Get There

Getting to the cedar requires a short hike starting from the Lake Quinalt Resort. You can find full directions and updates here.

2. Grand Fir – Largest Tree in the Olympic National Park

While it doesn’t claim the title of largest fir tree in the world, this is the largest known tree in Olympic National Park which is quite impressive in and of itself.

How Big Is It?

The largest tree in Washington’s Olympic National Park measures 246′ tall, 19.1′ in circumference, and has a 19.1′ diameter.

How To Get There

In The Brothers Wilderness (near Olympic National Park), take the Duckabush trail. You’ll find the tree about 100 yards after you cross the stream for the second time. Read more about the trail here.

3. Quinalt Spruce – World’s Largest Sitka Spruce

This spruce is another aging giant. Estimated to be over 1,000 years old (learn how they estimate tree age) it is the third-largest tree in the state and one of the easiest to access.

How Big Is It?

The world’s largest Sitka Spruce measures 191′ tall, 55.6′ in circumference, and has a 17.7′ diameter.

How To Get There

Starting from the Rain Forest Resort Village, head .3 miles down a flat trail off of South Short Road. You can read more about the tree and get directions here.

4. Quinalt Fir – World’s Largest Douglas Fir Tree

This is a massive tree with a circumference more than 12x that of the average pine tree.

Despite its use in construction, decking, and furniture this Douglas Fir has been spared because of its iconic size and location.

However, many people use Douglas Fir as a Christmas tree and I’d be interested in seeing this one decorated (in place of course).

This is the tallest tree on our list and rivals even some of the tallest redwoods.

Recently this tree lost the “world’s largest” title to a tree in B.C. but it still retains the title of largest Douglas Fir in the United States.

How Big Is It?

The U.S.’s largest Douglas Fir tree measures 302′ tall, 40.8′ in circumference, and has a 13′ diameter.

How To Get There

This tree is not easily accessible. It is located within the Quinault Research Area away from developed trails.

5. Cameron Creek Spruce – Nation’s Largest Engelmann Spruce

If you’ve never seen a massive coniferous tree, they’re truly a sight to behold. They can be just as bulky as their deciduous cousins and the added bulk of their piney boughs makes them incredibly impressive.

While this Spruce isn’t quite the size of the Sitka Spruce it’s still a gigantic tree and is relatively easy to access up an established (but long) trail.

How Big Is It?

The U.S.’s largest Engelmann Spruce measures 179′ tall, 22.1′ in circumference, and has a 23.6′ diameter.

How To Get There

This tree can be accessed via the (otherwise desolate) Cameron Creek Trail.

Conclusion

No doubt you’re disappointed to learn the truth about Redwoods in Washington. I do hope, however, that you’re a bit more knowledgeable about the difference between Redwoods and Sequoias and you have a bit of interest to check out the massive tree specimens that we do have in Washington state.

After all, some trees are better than no trees and nobody knows trees like Washington!

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