If your family travel plans include a trip to the Coastal redwood forests in northern California, one activity you won’t want to miss is the chance to drive through a tree.
While driving through a jumbo-sized redwood tree is kitschy and touristy as heck, it is a uniquely California experience that is both fun to do and provides the backdrop for fantastic photo op. So where can you find these unusual tourist attractions? The three most popular drive-through redwood trees can be found along Highway 101 in northern California.
The drive-thru tree (or “Chandelier” Tree )
Leggett, California is where motorists can find the original Drive-throughTree (also know as the “Chandelier Tree), a 315′ tall giant with upper branches that are in the shape of a chandelier. Of all the drive-through trees, this one is definitely our favorite since the $5 admission includes access to a nice little park with plenty of parking, picnic tables, free restrooms and a first rate gift shop. (The ticket even comes with a coupon that can be used in the store.)
The drive through part of the tree is a little tight however, since it was carved out in 1936 when cars were a little narrower than today’s luxury sedans. We were able to squeeze through the opening in our midsized car. Larger cars and SUVs won’t be able to make it since the opening in only 6 feet in width and 6 feet 9 inches in height.
Shrine Drive-through Tree
Found in Meyer’s Flat within the Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the “Shrine Drive Through Tree,” a redwood that has split open enough to allow cars (and even small RVs) to pass through. The admission to see the Shrine Drive-through Tree is $6 which includes access to other attractions such as the “drive over tree” and a two story tree house for the kiddos to enjoy. The site also has a nifty little gift shop for souvenir hunters.
The Tour Through tree
A third drive-through tree also found along Highway 101 is located in Klamath, California just north of Klamath Bridge. Known as the “Tour Through Tree,” so as not to be confused with the “Drive Through Tree” in Leggett, this roadside attraction is the least crowded of all the drive-through trees even though it has the largest opening, measuring 7′ 4″ wide and 9’6″ high. Modern cars and most SUVs have no problem traveling through this opening though larger vehicles will need to have their mirrors pulled in before driving through. The entrance fee to this drive through tree is $5 for cars and $1 for those who choose to walk through the tree on foot.
More by this contributor:
Seeing the California Coastal redwoods in half a day
What to see in Founders Grove in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park
What to see at Confusion Hill in Piercy, North California