A Tree as Old as the Country

Muir Woods Bicentennial Tree

The coastal redwoods of Muir Woods form as close to a natural cathedral as I’ve ever visited. Tucked in a hidden valley in the Golden Gate Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco, the national park allows visitors to escape from the metropolitan hustle and bustle and step into a primordial landscape.

Some of the trees in the forest are estimated to be more than a thousand years old. One, not near so old, still lays claim to special historical significance: the Bicentennial Tree.

To commemorate the American Bicentennial in 1976, Park Service officials sought to identify a tree at Muir Woods that germinated the same year the country was officially founded. Taking careful core samples, they successfully found one and, in honor of the nation’s birthday, dedicated a plaque that still sits in front of the tree today (the notch where the core sample was taken is still visible, too). The tree sits next to one of the most-traveled walking paths in the park.

Muir Woods Bicentennial Tree Plaque

Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, reaching heights exceed 375 feet tall. They can live as long as 1,800 years—making the Bicentennial Tree just a baby!

Muir Woods Looking Up

(Looking up from the base of the Bicentennial Tree)

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