Environment

What and Where is the Chandelier Tree?

The Chandelier Tree is a famous coast redwood tree in Leggett, California.

The Chandelier Tree is a 276 ft. coast redwood tree in the Drive-Thru tree park in Leggett, California. The tree has a 6 ft 9 in high by 6 ft wide hole that was cut right through its base which allows cars to pass through. The Chandelier tree’s trunk has a diameter of about 16 ft. Although there is a sign which claims that the tree is 21 ft wide and 315 ft tall, an experienced, certified Arborist measured it and determined it to be 276 ft high with a diameter of about 16 ft. Its name ‘’Chandelier Tree’’ is obtained from its beautiful limbs which resemble a chandelier. These limbs have a diameter of up to 7 ft, and they start about 100 ft above the ground. Drive-Thru Tree Park is a privately owned park managed by the Underwood family. The park is approximately 180 miles north of the San Francisco Bay region.

When Was the Tree Carved?

Charles Underwood and Hazel bought a 0.48 sq mi tract of redwood forest near Leggett right along Eel River in 1921. They developed the land into a private roadside resort, and in 1922 they opened Underwood Park which had campsites to the public. They hired foresters to carve a 6.75 ft by 6 ft tunnel into the trunk of the Chandelier Tree in 1937. The tunnel was big enough for cars to pass through and it served as an attraction in the park. Although it no longer has camping sites, Underwood Park still provides picnic tables, hiking trails, and a duck pond among the drive-through redwood. The park has parking for tour buses and larger vehicles. Besides trucks pulling trailers or motorhomes, most cars can pass through the tree.

Chandelier Tree is the most famous of the three drive-through coast redwoods in the United States. During summer, over 500 cars drive through the tree. The park is usually opened all year except on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Other drive-through redwoods include Tunnel Log, Tour-Thru Tree, and Shrine Drive-Thru Tree.

Other Tunnel Trees

During the early 1900s and the late 1800s, there were many trees with tunnels dug through them. They allowed people to walk, bike, or drive through the tree, but tunneling affected the strength and health of the tree. The tunneling idea stimulated the automobile tourism, but the tree cutters did not know how to care for the trees. Due to the damaging effect tunneling had on the trees, the trend ended. Two giant sequoia tunnels have fallen, and this includes the Pioneer Cabin tree in Calaveras Big-Tree state park which fell in 2017 and Wawona Tree in Yosemite National Park which fell in 1969. There are two other drive-through tunnels which are still standing which are in United States 101 in Klamath, Myers Flat, and Northern California.

There are still two other walk-through tunnel trees still standing in the United States. These include Mariposa Grove and Tuolumne Grove both in Yosemite National Park. The Mariposa Grove is a California tunnel tree which was carved in 1895 for horse-drawn stagecoaches to go through and currently people bike or walk through it while in the park. Tuolumne Grove is a dead-tunnel tree which was the first sequoia to be tunneled.

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