Sequoias Suddenly Snowless

Nearly snowless giant sequoias at Sequoia National Park in March.
Nearly snowless giant sequoias in March. These trees in Giant Forest are named after the US House of Representatives.

I fastened on my snowshoes and set off for a wintertime hike among the giant sequoias.  I quickly realized the snow in the forest was patchy at best and completely melted at worst, and it’s only March! It was shocking to feel the crunchy leaf duff on the forest floor instead of snow. Even more dramatic was the warm midday temperature up in the Sierra at this time of year.

In Sequoia National Park, few places in the forest still had a foot of snow on the ground like this part of Giant Forest.
In Sequoia National Park this month, few places in the forest still had a foot of snow on the ground like this part of Giant Forest.

The giant sequoias depend on water from snow melt all year round. With a low snow pack and early spring melting, it makes me and my colleagues wonder if the trees will show signs of drought stress later this year if we don’t get any more snow. We’ll be keeping a look out for signs of tree trouble through our Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative and I’ll keep you posted with any news.

Despite little need for snowshoes, I loved seeing the brilliant red bark of the giant sequoias in winter as I wondered through the woods. I highly recommend a trip to see the massive and impressive giant sequoias soon, before the parks get crowded! Visit our Redwoods Finder interactive map to plan your winter trip.

About the author

Emily Burns, the League’s former Director of Science, led the research program that includes the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. She holds a PhD in Integrative Biology on the impacts of fog on coast redwood forest flora from the University of California, Berkeley.

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2 Responses to “Sequoias Suddenly Snowless”

  1. Emily Burns

    Thank you James so much for the support and the kind words! We can always use help spreading the word about how awe-inspiring the redwoods are and about our work to protect them. So please continue to visit our redwood parks and encourage your friends and family to visit.

    Thank you again and hope to see you on the trail!

  2. James Bowen

    When I was a small child, I had the chance to have the opportunity to visit the Beautiful WONDER of GODS beauty. THE SEQUOIA’s !!!! As an older adult, I never forgot the beauty of intense MAGNIFICIENCE of the GIANTS of the WORLD……

    Im not in a position to financially help @ the moment…but if there is any other way I can help the league…PLEASE….DONT HESITATE to let me know


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