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Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch Cedar Destroyed by Storm

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March 9th, 2014


A legendary tree in the Olympic National Park has become a victim to this wet and wild March weather. The tree, best known as the Kalaloch Big Cedar, was split in two by the latest round of storms to slam into the Washington Coast. Heavy wind, combined with the half a foot of rain that has fallen on the western slopes of the Olympic Mountains over the last 5 days, saturated and twisted this already gnarly behemoth until it could take no more. With a noise that no one heard, the giant of Kalaloch is forever altered.


At 19.8 feet in diameter and standing at 175 feet tall, this thousand year old tree was one of the most beautiful and unique spots in the entire Olympic National Park. With roots and burls making this tree look like it belonged in in another time on earth. This cedar watched over as the first European explorers set foot on the shores of the Olympic Peninsula. It watched the Hoh defend its land against the Spanish and British in the late 1700’s. It stood its ground, even when nearly every other tree in the region was harvested for America’s growth. It stood through generations of tourists climbing on and around her base. It stood during my entire childhood, giving me an incredible chance to see this giant cedar in person.


Sadly, on March 8th, strong winds split this majestic cedar in two, taking away an icon of the Olympic National Park. No more will children be able to climb on the roots and wrap their arms around the trunk. Instead, we lose a tall tree that will eventually be forgotten about by all but those of us lucky enough to see, smell and touch it in person.  For those of you lucky enough to spend time around this tree, you know of its awesomeness and power. The Kalaloch Cedar was one of those destination in the Olympic National Park that was indescribable, with pictures hardly giving justice to the amazing sight that it was.


While the tree itself isn’t completely dead, it has split in half and will, more than likely, have a very slow death. While the passing of this giant is sad, the inevitable death of this tree will bring more life to the region. The trunk of the tree will eventually provide the protection and nourishment needed to support new trees. The new tree roots will grow around the old cedar’s remains, allowing this legend to continue to support life in the forest as a Nurse-Log. Becoming a nurse log ensures us that the spirit of this great tree lives on, and hopefully will provide life to numerous trees just as might as this one was in its life.

Farewell, old giant. You will be missed.


Kalaloch Cedar

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15 Responses so far.

  1. […] for growing space other tree species are using the cedar as a standing nurselog.” The website exotichikes.com reports “At 19.8 feet in diameter and standing at 175 feet tall, this thousand year old tree […]

  2. turtle says:

    I would hope that the parks would perhaps see about a volunteer or someone making wooden keychains or benches out of the portion of tree to fall and selling the in the park shops. This way it would continue to pass along the history of the tree attached , as well as bring in more funds to a hurting parks system

    • ExoticHikes says:

      While it would be great to help generate revue for the park with the fallen tree, I think leaving it alone and letting nature use all the nutrients from it will be awesome.
      That being said, tiny key chains are a great idea!

      • Kayla Nicholson says:

        Hello Exotic Hikes! I was one of the people who commented when you first posted about the tree being destroyed; I said something about a bench. I want to take that comment back. Leaving it as a Nurse Log is the best idea. Like you had mentioned it is more than one tree already and can you imagine what it could grow into one hundred years from now? Anyhow, I don’t know why I wanted to tell you that but I did haha. I just thought about my comment and it was “Taking away” rather than giving back to the forest. I would never want to take away from the beauty. Have a Blessed Day.

        • ExoticHikes says:

          Thank you for the follow up. We appreciate the comment and the passion for nature.
          In case you were worried, I totally understood what you meant by the bench!
          Thank you for taking the time to discuss the beauty of the Olympic National Park!

  3. charlotte says:

    This is so sad. Such a beautiful place.

    • ExoticHikes says:

      It was eerie to stand next to the fallen section. SO many memories flooded back from this tree and it was sad to know that future generations of nature lovers won;t be enjoying the wonder that is this tree.
      Hopefully, it helps grow something even more spectacular.

      • Edie says:

        I completely disagree about “it was sad to know that future generations of nature lovers won’t be enjoying the wonder that is this tree.” I just encountered the tree my first time this weekend and I was blown away by its splendor. I think the remorse in this whole post just shows how humans get so attached to how nature it is in the split second of earth time that they encounter it. The death and decay of this Queen tree is just as beautiful as its standing.

        Perhaps one of the best things about the old growth forest that we miss is modern forest management is the ability to watch and appreciate the process of decay. “While the tree itself isn’t completely dead, it has split in half and will, more than likely, have a very slow death.” This tree has been in a process of slow death for hundreds of years likely! And who knows if this will hasten the death of the rest of the tree?

        I love this tree just as it is!

    • ExoticHikes says:

      We will be sharing your link tomorrow on our Facebook page and through Twitter.
      Thanks so much for finding us and helping preserve nature!

  4. Norma Todd says:

    This tree should not be cut at all of any reason. It has been in many family pictures for years world wide. Mine included. For close to 60 years I have had my picture taken with this tree along with most of my family. My grandmother took pictures of us around this tree back in the 50’s. I have spent over 25 years of my life visiting this tree twice a year (spring and fall) to pray during a time of spiritual retreat along the coast. It is my hope that I can pray one more time at this tree, a prayer of thanks for being there all these years for me through all my stages of growth.

  5. […] temperate forest.  The diversity of the plants and the size of the trees was phenomenal.    The Kalaloch Big Cedar, which is a 1000 years old+ recently split in two due to the wet winter.  Go see it when you are […]

  6. Adam J Quinn says:

    Oh no how sad :'( she was a awesome tree I’m thankful I got to see her :’3 I’m going up on my honeymoon and i was looking forward to showing her to my wife to be so it’s really sad I won’t be able to now this is really too bad :’/ <\3

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