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The giant redwoods of Northern California are the biggest trees in the world with trunks so thick that it’s possible to carve a small driveway through them. Early park promoters thought this was a good idea — create drive-through tunnels and charge tourists a fee to drive their cars through to the other side. It provided a great photo opportunity and the idea quickly caught on. Over time numerous drive-through trees, as well as walk-through trees and even step-thru stumps came along. The National Parks Service and environmentalists no longer allow drive-through trees to be created, but a handful of these tunnels that survive are carefully preserved.

California’s first drive-through tunnel was carved out of a dead and burned giant sequoia at Tuolumne Grove in Yosemite National Park. The tree was struck by lightening but was still living when she was cut down at 90 feet from the ground and debarked. She was tunneled in 1875 to promote tourism. The tree still stands, although you can no longer drive through the tunnel.

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The tree that started it all. The dead giant at Tuolumne Grove. Photo credit: faungg's photos/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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