The Boole Tree
October 7, 2006
The Boole Tree is the largest tree in any National Forest. It is, of course, a Giant
Sequoia Tree that grows on the edge of Kings Canyon in the Converse Basin Grove of
Sequoia National Forest. It is the 6th largest tree in the world. To get to the tree
take Hwy 180 and go past Grant Grove about 5 miles. Turn left on Forest Service
Road 13S55 and travel 2.5 miles to the Boole Tree Trailhead. It is a 1 mile hike to the
Boole Tree and you can come back the way you came or do an alternate 1.5 mile trail to
loop back. The trail is moderately strenuous and climbs about 500 feet to a ridgeline
where the tree grows.

I have Wendell Flint's excellent book, "To Find the Biggest Tree" and his photo of the
Boole Tree inspired me to go find it. Well, since his photo was taken, the other trees
in the area have grown significantly, so you no longer get the beautiful view of Kings
Canyon. But the tree is still a sight to see! Todd and I hiked out to it on Saturday and
it is one of the gnarliest sequoias I have ever seen. It has several huge branches that
look as thought they've lost their bark and are nearly white. It has two huge fire
scars, one on the front extending a good third of the way up the tree. The one on the
backside of the tree goes into the tree a few feet and there is a thin strip of bark
that was somehow spared and it appears to be like a thin flying buttress, though I'm
sure it is providing no support for the massive trunk.

The Boole Tree was named around 1895 for Frank Boole, the supervisor for the logging
operation that removed most of the neighboring giant sequoias. Why the Boole Tree
was spared is a mystery, but it is a sad testament to the logging that took place in
Converse Basin. Converse Basin is the largest Giant Sequoia Grove but was mostly cut
over during the turn of the century by private logging companies. Thousands of
old-growth giant trees were cut and only a few were spared, including the Boole Tree.
John Muir visited this grove when it was being logged and saw the devastation
first-hand. Ironically, its devastation really lighted a fire in Muir and other
conservationists of the time and led to the preservation of other nearby groves. Also
ironic, for all their hard work, the logging companies never made money logging the
giant sequoias. Unlike their easier to access cousins, the coastal redwoods, giant
sequoias grow at higher elevations in some amazingly rugged and mountainous country.
Their location is probably what saved them in the end.

Today when you visit Converse Basin you'll see a lot of huge stumps and a huge amount
of new growth. There are young giant sequoias everywhere, and they are thriving! The
area is now preserved as part of Giant Sequoia National Monument and eventually this
grove will come back in all its splendor. In a thousand or two thousand years I have
little doubt that it'll look again like it looked before the loggers came.
In the fall the bracken fern turn all shades of gold and
rust and the trail to the Boole Tree is lined with them
Pine, cedar, and fir trees along the trail
At the base of the Boole Tree, it is 25.4 feet across at breast height
(4.5 feet above ground)
The Boole Tree is 268.8 feet tall
A thin piece of bark that somehow wasn't burned
and extends out far enough from the tree that you
can walk behind it. Another tree I've seen with a
buttress like this is the
Ishi Giant
Stump Meadow in Converse Basin
Despite all the stumps reminding you of the logging
that took place, this forest is thriving