Dotted around the northern regions of California are a handful of the oldest redwoods and giant sequoias in the world, reaching up to the skies like something out of Tolkien’s universe.
These colossal trees can grow to be over 300ft high and 3,000 years old. Over time, their trunks have become wide enough for enterprising locals to hollow out the middle to create incredible drive-through trees.
Аnd what’s even more impressive about these otherworldly tunnels is that despite having their bases hollowed out, some of these trees continue to grow and thrive.
The first drive-through tree was created at Tuolumne Grove in Yosemite National Park in 1875 to promote tourism according to Amazing Planet as visitors paid to pass under it. It was carved out of a 2,500-year-old giant sequoia that had been struck by lightning and later cut down and debarked.
In a trend that continues today, holidaymakers would pass through the incredible structures in their vintage cars. As time passed, more hollowed out trees were created and tourists were charged to drive through the tunnels.
Drive-through trees are no longer created today due to environmental concerns, but holidaymakers can still enjoy the carefully preserved specimens, relics of another tourism age, in California’s national parks.
The first of these drive-through trees was created at Tuolumne Grove (pictured) in Yosemite National Park in 1875 to promote tourism.
The angled opening of the Shire drive-through tree in Myers Flat supposedly formed naturally. Today, it has to be supported by cables.
Taken in the 1930s, the picture above shows a car driving through the Wawona tree in Yosemite National Park’s Mariposa Grove.
Drive-through trees have existed since the 1800s. On the left is an image taken in 1880 showing a horse-drawn cart going through the Wawona tree while on the right is a car going through the same tunnel in 1923.
Wawᴏna tree was well known. On the left is an updated photograph of President Theodore Roosevelt driving through the tree’s tunnel while on the right is a man standing under the enormous tunnel in 1890.
The Wawona Tree (pictured in updated photographs, left and right) fell over in 1969 after a heavy storm in the region. It’s now known as the Fallen Tunnel Tree.
The Chandelier tree in Leggett, about 180 miles north of San Francisco Bay Area, is inside a privately-owned grove. Its enormous tunnel was carved in 1937.
Tһe 2,400-year-old Chandelier tree’s name comes from the way its branches supposedly hang like chandeliers (pictured left and right).
The tree at Tuolumne Grove became a successful attraction, which sparked other entrepreneurs to hollow out similar trees.
An updated image of the Wawona tree showing tourists waiting outside while cars go through its tunnel one by one.