- Giant sequoias and coast redwoods are some of the biggest trees in the world.
- Trees you drive through can be thousands of years old.
- When giant sequoias fall the wood tends to shatter.
It sounds like something the bullies would make up just to call you gullible, but astoundingly, it is not. California is home to some of the world’s most immense trees which are called redwoods and sequoias. Some of these trees are so wide they have a tunnel carved out in the trunk that is big enough you can actually drive a vehicle right straight through.
How Did These Sequoias Get To Be So Enormous?
According to Savetheredwoods.org, the widest giant sequoia tree grows in California’s Kings Canyon National Park and is a whopping 31.4 feet across. Giant sequoias have a thick bark replete with something called tannins. This tough exterior helps protect the tree from fires and insects, which is a great bonus. With this excellent shield, these trees can grow for thousands of years. Yes, thousands!
It is not only their great skin that lets these conifers stick around. It also helps that when people tried to log giant sequoias back in the late 1800s and early 1900s it didn’t go so well.
The trees were so big they would shatter when they hit the ground. Craftsmen could only use the leftover splinters to make unexciting things like shingles, matches and fence posts, and so the wood never gained much monetary value. This proved to be a fantastic bonus for future tourists, the environment and many generations of squirrels.
What About Redwoods?
Yes, what about the redwoods? As it turns out, these trees are protected by the same thick bark as giant sequoias. Unfortunately, they haven’t been spared from logging, however.
During California’s gold rush in the 1800s, redwoods were cut down en masse to construct the buildings needed at the time for new businesses and other structures. Consequently, experts say that just 5% of the original old-growth coast redwood forest is still standing in California.
Those redwoods that are still with us, however, are huge, awesome and geriatric! Some may even be over 2000 years old.
Here is where you can see, and drive through, both giant sequoias and redwoods in the Golden State.
Drive-Thru Tree Park
Take your car through the Chandelier Tree, a coast redwood, that spans 16 feet (2.06 m). It can be found in Leggett, California
Shrine Drive-Thru Tree
This one is also an impressive redwood. Located on the Avenue of the Giants, in Myers Flat, California it is best to visit in non-winter months.
Tour Thru Tree
This tree is so very big you may even get your truck through it (some people have). Don’t blame us if you get stuck.
Sequoia National Park
You can no longer drive through the two most famous standing giant sequoias, as they have fallen down. You can, however, drive through a fallen giant sequoia that has a tunnel cut through it. It is called the Tunnel Log and is in Sequoia National Park, in Giant Forest, close to Crescent Meadow.
Since driving through a tree is not something your car or truck was likely made to do, you may find it to be a tight squeeze. Have the driver draw in all the mirrors before you go for it, and heed the warnings on nearby signs.
It could also be a good idea to take a measuring tape with you and measure the width of your vehicle- as well as the tunnel- prior to driving, to ensure safe passage.