A woman enjoys redwoods at the Muir Woods National Monument, California. AP Photo

A woman enjoys redwoods at the Muir Woods National Monument, California. AP Photo

The tallest redwood tree in this forest, Muir Woods, is 777 years old. AP Photo

The tallest redwood tree in this forest, Muir Woods, is 777 years old. AP Photo

You think 777 is old? This bristlecone pine nicknamed “Methuselah” could be 4,841. AP Photo

You think 777 is old? This bristlecone pine nicknamed “Methuselah” could be 4,841. AP Photo

Muir Woods AP Photo

Muir Woods AP Photo

Tallest Tree Age

Posted: September 1, 2015

Take a looong look. But don’t hurt your neck! People call this redwood “tree 76” for short. But short is the last word it makes you think of! Tree 76, standing near San Francisco, California, measures 249 feet tall. To get to the top of tree 76, about 60 average-sized eight-year-olds would have to stand on each other’s heads!

You can bet it takes a long time for a tree to grow that tall. But it didn’t take quite as long as scientists thought. Scientists once guessed the tree began growing 1,500 years ago. That estimate takes us back to the year 500 AD. That’s just after the days of King Arthur in Britain.

But then scientists tried a new test. They pulled out strips from the core of tree 76. They compared the strips to other ancient California trees. Compared to the other trees, tree 76 is just a baby! It was born about 777 years ago. To you and me, that still sounds like a long, long time. Back then, the Crusades were just coming to an end. But scientists believe one tree in California is 5,000 years old. They call that tree Methuselah, named for the man in Genesis.

Tree 76 is the tallest tree in a famous forest called Muir Woods. Beneath the towering trees, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, and river otters dart. Woodpeckers and owls rest in the branches. President Teddy Roosevelt established Muir Woods in 1908. He wanted to make sure no one destroyed the historic trees. Visitors from all around the world travel to the forest. They look up, up, and up. By the time they get home, their necks need a rest!