World's Largest Red Cedar Tree

World Champion Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata)

Section 36, Township 26 North, Range 13 West, W.M.  Jefferson County

19.4 feet in diameter, 178 feet tall, estimated 1000 years old.

This tree is located on State School Trust land managed by the Department of Natural Resources.  School Trust Land is used to support Washington's educational system by providing income as matching funds for construction projects.  The DNR manages two million acres of forest land for short term and long term benefit of the trust by providing income and ensuring continues productivity of natural resources.  As part of this management plan, forest stands are harvested like a crop.  The older stands are replaced by your thrifty plantations.  By using intensive management practices, such as planting, weeding, and thinning, this crop is nutured like a garden until harvest age.  The plantation surrounding the bid cedar was seeded to hemlock in 1976 and planted with Douglas Fir in 1977.  Over the years, the area also naturally seeded to Western red cedare and Sitka spruce.  This plantation will be precommercially thinned at age 18 years.  At this time, the best trees will be selected for growth.  The stand will grow to maturity (approximately 70 years) and be harvested again. This cycle will be repeated indefinitely as part of sustained management of a renewable resource. 


The common name for the Western red cedar was giant arborvitae or “tree of life”. The native Indians were the first to discover the virtues of this versatile species. The wood and bark were used for shelters, clothing, dugout canoes, fishing nets, totem poles and baskets. Thin layers of the stringy, fibrous bark were used in blankets, clothing, diapers, cradle padding, fish nets and sails.

Trappers form the Hudson Bay Company were the first white settlers to use the straight grain cedar wood for their shelters. The wood was light, durable and split easily into shakes and shingle. In 1845, the first shingles were sold in commercial quantities. Because of the durability of this wood, the shake and shingle business still thrives on the Olympic Peninsula. Today because of the timber supply and high quality wood, western red cedar also commands a high market value for lumber products.

Safety Information

The big cedar is a primitive site. No facilities are available. Please help us keep it clean. No fires are allowed. Smoke only in designated, cleared areas.

 Drive Defensively  -   4.2 miles off Highway 101 at milepost 170

  1. Roads are single lane
  2. Yield right of way
  3. Use turnouts
  4. 25 mph speed recommended
  5. Use turnout – 200 feet past big cedar spur and N-1112 junction.
Jefferson CountyWA