January 31, 2012


The Redwood Trees in the Pacific Northwest of the US are among the tallest. largest (in terms of volume), and oldest trees in the world with a girth so wide that in three cases, a drive thru was hollowed at the base so cars, some models of pick-up trucks or mini-vans, can literally, albeit a squeeze, “drive thru.”  These trees are still alive with sufficient trunk at the base to survive.  All are privately owned and a fee is charged to drive thru, as many times as you wish, provided there are no long lines.  The car I was driving was a 2011 Nissan Altima 4 door with a width (without adding the side mirrors) of 71 inches and an overall height of 58 inches.

Coming from Oregon on my way down to Mendocino, California, along Highway 101, the first drive thru is the Klamath Tour Thru Tree, 19 miles south of Crescent City.*   The fee is US$5.00.  This was the least impressive of the three.  It just didn’t look giant enough.  Driving alone, I requested a carekeeper to click the camera for me.  

Me driving thru the Klamath Tour Thru Tree

The second one was further down 120 miles along the Avenue of the Giants in the hamlet of Myers Flat.  This one is called the Shrine Tree.*  Although bigger than Klamath, after driving through the avenue of giant redwood trees, the Shrine Tree was comparatively adolescent.  The friendly son of the owner who was the gate ticket guy offered to take a picture of me driving thru.  He later quipped that the Shrine tree has literally been a money tree for the family.  At US$6.00 a car, and the fact that the tree requires little maintenance if at all, the family surely had it made.

Me driving thru the Shrine Tree
And the very last, 50 miles further, before I veered off west to the Pacific coast was the Chandelier Tree in Leggett.*  Now we are talking.  This tree is big and tall and supposedly looks like a chandelier with its crown of leaves.  The Chandelier Tree is a 315 foot tall with a 6 foot (1.83 m) wide by 6 foot 9 inch (2.06 m) high hole carved in the 1930s. The fee was US$5.00.  I had to ask another driver to take a picture of me which in turn I did for him.  Ahh – the quandaries of traveling single.

Me driving thru the Chandelier Tree

Chandelier tree but not my car

*Note: Hours vary depending on season, generally open during daylight only.  The ticket booth clerks can advise whether your vehicle can go through.  At the Shrine Tree, the cashier has a long measuring stick which he just pulls out from his window and holds across the width of your car.

Klamath Tour Thru Tree: Klamath (Terwer Valley exit from Highway 101) Located North of Klamath Bridge. Address: 430 Highway 169, Klamath, CA 95548  Tel. 707 482 5971,  At times the ticket booth is unmanned and payment is on an honor system - dropping the exact amount in a box.

Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, and Drive-Over Tree
: Humboldt Redwoods State Park 13078 Avenue of the Giants, Myers Flat, CA 95554  Tel . 805 735 1836 (at the southern end of the Avenue of the Giants)
Chandelier Tree: Take the Leggett exit where Hwy 101 junctions with Highway 1.  Address: 67402 (Hwy 271) Drive Thru Tree Road, Leggett, CA 95585 – Tel. 707-925-6363


  1. In the UK we used to have these fabulous colour picture books called Ladybird books and one of my favourites was the book about trees and I remembered a picture of a car going through a hole cut in a giant redwood. That memory has held fresh for fifty years until today when quite randomly I googled 'giant redwood' just to see if (a) such a thing ever did happen and (b) whether ot might still exist. This page has transported me back to my classroom in 1964 and the sense of wonder and delight you only get when you are a child. Thanks for posting I am once more enthralled and absorbed in these giant redwoods. I am sure the tree in the Ladybird book must have been the chandelier tree.

    Rob Horwat
    United Kingdom

  2. In the UK we used to have these wonderful educational full colour picture books called Ladybird books which covered a multitude of subjects, one of my favourites was trees and one enduring image from that book that remains imprinted in my memory is that of a car driving through a giant redwood... and that colour illusttation I do believe must have been the chandelier tree. Your blog has transported me back to my classroom in 1964 and rekindled that sense of wonder and enthrallment and even regret when the bell went and I had to put the book down. For that I say, for these few words and priceless pictures, a very sincere thankyou!


  3. I remember that 1960's Ladybird school book pic in the UK too - I thought I imagined it until Google brought me here! Thanks for the confirmation - I seem to remember the Ladybird book drawing had the car driving away from us though

    Not all the Labybird pictures depicted actual events you see - hence my initial doubts - unless someone really did put some Iridium on one side of a see-saw (called a "teeter-totter" in the US?) and an elephant on the other end to demonstrate how heavy Iridium is! Remember that Ladybird pic? - https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/1c/94/db/1c94dbd1a4f74d341c8de4bd9a5c3106.jpg

    (I can't find the giant redwood Ladybird pic online)

  4. the ladybird picture is here https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bp22fDAIMAAli2d.jpg
    It's not the chandelier tree though, it's a sequoia that stood in Yosemite for 2,300 years before falling over under the weight of the snow on it's branches in 1969. I too remember the book vividly from the 60s and soon I'll be at the Avenue of the Giants to fulfill my ambition.