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Impressive Trees

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The Octopus Tree, a Sitka spruce
Photo caption
The Octopus Tree, a Sitka spruce, raises its arms high in Oregon's Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.

California | Hawaii | Montana
Nevada | Oregon | Utah


ANCIENT REDWOOD TREE Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen, Calif. "A gnarled coast redwood cherished since London's time," says Sarah Reid of Santa Rosa, Calif. "Picnic tables and hitching rails are located far enough from the tree to protect her but close enough for a nice trail break." (707) 938-5216,

BAY LAUREL Rancho San Antonio County Park, Los Altos, Calif. "This magnificent tree, over 200 years old and 126 feet tall, has a trunk circumference of 30 feet and once had a canopy spreading 118 feet," says Judy Anne Cavey of Sunnyvale, Calif. "It has lost some of its major branches, yet it continues to thrive." (650) 691-2165,

BENNETT JUNIPER Stanislaus National Forest, off Highway 108 and Eagle Meadow Road east of Pine-crest, Calif. "This is supposedly the biggest western juniper," says Maury Rollins of Sonora, Calif. "It's named for Clarence Bennett, a naturalist who devoted his life to the study of this species." (415) 362-2352,

BLUE GUM EUCALYPTUS Presidio of San Francisco. "When the fog lifts behind this massive old blue gum in the paved-over parade ground, you get fabulous views of San Francisco Bay," says Deborah Mayer of San Francisco. (415) 561-5418,

DANVILLE OAK TREE Danville, Calif. "Estimated to be 350 years old, this huge valley oak is the city's symbol," says Ann Wyatt of Alamo, Calif. "It stands in the median strip of four-lane Diablo Road." (925) 314-3400,

FACADE TREE Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Arnold, Calif. "I've seen most of the well-known giant sequoias, but this one greatly impresses me," says Steve Stocking of San Andreas, Calif. "Almost half the tree has been burned away, top to bottom, leaving a false front, or façade. It's near the Chimney Tree on the popular South Grove Trail."

GREAT BONSAI TREE Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest, Calif. "On a pile of rocks atop a ridge stands a monstrous sequoia, one of the greatest sights to be seen anywhere," says Doug Weresin of San Jose. "Its many huge limbs extend almost to the ground, and a hole in the trunk looks like a gaping mouth." .

W TREE Sunol Regional Wilderness, Sunol, Calif. "I love this beautiful native sycamore with its three trunks in a W shape," says Arlene Tsang of Fremont, Calif. (888) 327-2757,


BANYAN TREE Courthouse Square, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. "A single tree that looks like a forest," says David Tomeo of Denali Park, Alaska. "Planted in 1873, it's one of the largest Indian banyans. Crafts shows and performances take place under its limbs, and pedestrians seek it for shade." (808) 871-7711,


ROSS CREEK CEDARS Ross Creek Scenic Area, Kootenai National Forest, Libby, Mont. "Take the nature trail through these giant western red cedar trees," says Rosa Skillman of Wilsall, Mont. "It's just under a mile long, with benches for visitors to sit on while they look up at the huge old trees." (406) 293-6211,


SHOE TREE East of Middlegate Junction, Nev. "I've seen majestic sequoias, ancient bristlecones, and giant saguaros," writes J. Allen Russell of Shoshone, Idaho, "but the tree that brings the most smiles is this old cottonwood enhanced by strung-together shoes."


BLACK TARTARIAN CHERRY TREE George E. Owen Memorial Rose Garden, Eugene, Ore. "Planted near the Willamette River in 1847, this extraordinary tree is believed to be the country's oldest and largest black Tartarian cherry," writes Carol Ipsen of Eugene. "It really is huge, and the spring blossoms are magnificent." (541) 682-4824,

BRITT SEQUOIA Peter Britt Gardens, Jacksonville, Ore. "Planted in 1862 by Peter Britt for the birth of his son, this wonderful tree overlooks our town," says Gayle Lewis of Jacksonville. "It greets thousands of visitors to the Britt Festivals and anchors the entrance to our woodland trail system." (541) 773-6536.

COURTHOUSE SQUARE GIANT SEQUOIAS Washington County Courthouse, Hillsboro, Ore. "Planted by settler John Porter in the 1880s, these trees serve as majestic reminders of the Willamette Valley's pioneer heritage," says Gerald Kubiak of Portland. "They provide a stately backdrop to the weekly farmers' market."

GIANT SPRUCE OF CAPE PERPETUA Siuslaw National Forest, south of Waldport, Ore. "This tree's bulk is an astonishing reminder of the giants that grew in the Coast Range fog belt," says Andrea Scharf of Yachats, Ore. "You'll find it a mile's walk from the visitor center." (541) 547-3289,

POWWOW TREE Gladstone, Ore. "Well over 200 years old, this grand bigleaf maple stands in a quiet neighborhood a half mile from the Clackamas River," writes Barbara Kochevar of Gladstone. "It's believed to mark a historic meeting place of the Clackamas people."

WALDO PARK TREE Waldo Park, Salem, Ore. "Near the state capitol in what's reputed to be the world's smallest city park stands a huge sequoia planted in 1872 by Judge William Waldo," says Barbara Clark of Keizer, Ore. "The tree is the only thing there."

WILLAMETTE MISSION COTTONWOOD Willamette Mission State Park, Salem, Ore. "This park claims the nation's largest black cottonwood, said to be more than 250 years old," writes Amanda Parish of Keizer, Ore. "There are also 1,680 acres of filbert and walnut orchards, picnic areas, and hiking, biking, and horse trails." (503) 393-1172,


LIMBER PINE Sunrise Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. "Although this spindly pine appears to be hanging on for dear life, it is actually quite alive and well," says Jerry Downs of Larkspur, Calif. "You have to admire its sense of balance and ability to dig deep for strength and nourishment." (435) 834-5322,


TREE ROCK Buford, Wyo. "In the late 1860s, the story goes, men of the Union Pacific Railroad would stop to water a lonely little pine tree each time they passed," says Melissa Barnes of Albin, Wyo. "The old pine can be found, protected by an iron fence, at a left exit along Interstate 80 two miles west of Buford near milepost 333." .

Photography by Eileen R. Herrling

This article was first published in September 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.