A date with Drive Thru Tree

Drive thru tree / Chandelier Tree, Legget, CA

I turned another year old last month and I celebrated not with gifts and cakes but a nice long drive into some Redwoods. My birthday wish was to go see some redwood trees and having been to Roaring Camp and Big Basin earlier, we chose to drive north this time. Our POIs included a drive thru tree, a house in a tree trunk and a redwood totem pole.

As we left the San Francisco Bay area, we took US 101 and drove all the way north till we hit the junction of 101 and Highway 1.

Leggett is the name of the place where the famous CA 1 — Californians prefer to simply call it Highway 1 — (the highway that runs through California’s Pacific coast) begins. Leggett might be a very small town but it is famous not just because it is the meeting place of two major highways. It is also the home of a well-known tree called the Chandelier Tree and a Totem Pole that is said to be the largest free standing totem pole.

Drive thru tree / Chandelier Tree, Legget, CA

The Chandelier Tree was our main attraction for the day. This Redwood tree is a tall tree with a tunnel that allows a vehicle the size of an SUV drive through it. For those who are not familiar with Redwood Trees, this variety of trees also known as the Giant Sequoia are among the tallest trees in the world and can be found in plenty on the west coast of the United States. It is also considered to be California’s State Tree.

This redwood tree in Legget, California, which is called the Chandelier Tree is around 315 feet tall and boasts of a diameter of 21 feet. The tunnel I mentioned earlier was hewn out in the 1930s and is almost 7 ft high and 6 ft wide.

Now that is a tunnel that everyone wants to try driving through. When we got to the park it was already afternoon and the mercury had risen to 105 (degree Fahrenheit) and there weren’t too many cars waiting to drive through. By the time we walked around, stepped into the souvenir store and picked up some ice cream, there was a long line of cars waiting to go through the famous drive-through-tree and take a few pictures, maybe.

Drive thru tree / Chandelier Tree, Legget, CA
A car (left ) and an SUV (right) make their way through the Chandelier Tree

This tree lends the park in which it stands, its name – Drive Thru Tree Park. I wondered why the tree was called Chandelier Tree and why not simply the ‘drive-through tree’. They say  it is because the branches of the tree give it a Chandelier-like look. Now, to see that, you’ll have to stand on your head and look up at the tree (or take a picture of it and hold it upside down). 🙂

Drive thru tree / Chandelier Tree, Legget, CA
Does it look like a chandelier now?


Directions Some navigation systems may not show ‘Drive Thru Tree Road’ so if you are driving from the SF Bay Area or Southern California, take 101 North all the way up till you reach the place where CA 1 joins 101. Take a left on to Highway 1, take the Drive-thru Tree Road exit on the left (You’ll see the board which says Welcome to Legget.) The Drive-thru Tree park is 2 miles down the road on the right.

Note The ‘Welcome to Legget’ board also marks a Restaurant and Market but both places were locked and barred when we visited. Moreover it looked like they had been shut down for quite a long time. So you might want to carry your own food. (You’ll find ice-cream at the gift shop) There are picnic tables and restrooms in the park.

Other Redwood attractions mentioned in this post
Roaring Camp – A railway ride into a Redwood forest
Big Basin – The woods are lovely, dark and deep (pictures)

Drive Thru Tree Park’s Official Site 

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  1. Firstly, Belated Happy Birthday to you, Divya.
    The tree is intriguing, removal of vital roots have interestingly not stunned its growth! Very interesting indeed!! Thanks for sharing…

    • Thank you so much!! xoxo!
      Yeah, that's an interesting tree. I've good two more similar posts coming up; of weird but cool things that people have created out of redwood trees.
      Thank you for visiting again. Have a superb weekend.

  2. Wow!! That is a humungous tree. It must have been exciting to drive through that. Nice post D!!


  3. Happy Birthday to you 🙂
    'Drive thru tree' – the idea is very interesting! Nice post.

  4. Very Interesting! That was a perfect birthday gift only a travel fanatic could have asked for. That tree indeed looks like a chandelier, it must surely be something to drive through that! Belated Happy Birthday, wish you all the joys and many more travels ahead of you 🙂

    • :).
      It's supposed to look like a upside down Chandelier. I thought they could have just called it Drive Thru Tree or Tunnel Tree or something. 🙂
      The idea of a drive-through tree is fun nevertheless.
      Thank you for the wishes Arti.

  5. 🙂 Nice. I remember doing this.

  6. oooh what a sweet birthday drive 🙂
    Love the scenic Highway 1!
    Happy Birthday DN 🙂 May you have many more wonderful drives to wonderful places!

  7. We have a tree down by the riverside (in NZ) that has a natural hole carved into it that looks like the trees in children's books where elves and goblins and fairies dwell and I absolutely love it. Your drive through tree which must be at least four times the height would, I think, blow me away. What a superb birthday gift.

  8. You know this is a childhood dream to see the Great Redwood trees of california, WE had this question in a quiz and since then I have always wanted to see it .. God willing one day Will make it to the place 🙂


  9. Belated Happy Birthday and wishing you many more!! Your each post tempts me to see these amazing things which I have not seen. A big thanks and keep sharing all such mysteries, Divya:)

  10. I must say that I am very impressed with this tree. Quite fascinating.

  11. Happy belated Birthday and many more blogging years to you..!
    Absolutely loved the tree..! Such an exciting place to go to 😀

  12. Dear God.. that last pic was something else altogether !! Belated birthday wishes !

  13. nice post, i remember visiting Yosemite national park, band seeing some giants but this one seems to be the grandfather of them all…

    • I'm yet to visit Yosemite. I know, that's too bad, right? 🙂
      I'm sure you loved the place. Do you have Yosemite posts on your blog. I should come by and check out all your posts.
      Btw, Welcome here Desi Traveler. I hope to see you here more often.

  14. Belated happy birthday dear and I guess your way sounds more fun. Even I am planning a trip around my bday. The place looks amazing and lets see, I wish to hit west coast this time…

  15. Such a beautiful way to celebrate a birthday! Belated wishes to you!! Must have been a fascinating experience!!

  16. I have read about this tree in a Social Studies chapter as a kid. First time seeing pictures of it. And when you said Chandlier I thought 'May be the Sequoia is different' and then you yourself explained that its the same. Lovely pics Divya!

    • They grow to be really huge and tall. There's plenty here along the Pacific Coasts. In fact it's said to be California's State Tree. Gorgeous, aren't they?
      Thank you, Jaish. 🙂

  17. Amazing! Belated happy birthday Divya:) What a grand birthday wish you had…you would not settle for ordinary trees:) Amen! God is great! Long live the Drive Thru Tree:)

  18. OMG! I have not seen anything like this before.

  19. Had seen the picture of this long back when I was a kid and at that time I thought "Wow a tree big enough that you could drive your car through" and now I see the picture again and think "Wow a tree big enough that you could drive your car through"
    Well one may think that I am crazy, but the fact is that I love nature and will be always fascinated by it 🙂

    • I was fascinated too. When I was little there was this over-a-century old mango tree near our ancestral home that was SO huge; it needed four to five people to hold hands around it to cover the circumference of the truck. And I thought no tree could be bigger than that one, which was locally pretty famous. But I was wrong! Look at this one above :).
      Thanks for dropping in again, Haddock. Stay crazy about nature. Don't let that fascination die. 🙂

  20. I remember seeing this tree on TV a loooong time ago. Btw I still dont see the Chandelier in there 🙂

    And belated Birthday Wishes and wish you many more long drives…

  21. Belated birthday greetings to you!
    That journey is a dream for me. 🙂
    Great shots.

  22. I read about them as a kid in school. Happy to see it again through your experience.

  23. This is great! I always saw the image of the car passing through the tree and its nice to see it again here 🙂

    • If you plan to do the whole Highway 1 drive, you should go see this tree, Siddharth. It's at this place called Legget that Highway 1 starts (or ends). And the first 15 miles of highway one is through Redwood forests before it hits the coast.
      You've not been doing much travelling these days, eh? I sure miss your posts and pictures.

  24. awesome , It must have been an amazing experience 🙂

  25. Have always had a fascination for such gigantic trees…

    Remember one in granny's village which was cut down later…

    Although these ones seem to be even taller and imposing… would visit them someday…

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