Questions and Answers
How to Find the Chandelier Tree? Gift Shop Inside The Park: Highlights Let's Go Touring Where to Stay Home

Hopefully your questions are answered here!

Here we will try to answer some questions about Drive-Thru Tree Park and Redwood Country. Please understand that some of these answers are not proven fact, but are oral history. The most asked question is: Where is the rest room? It's the separate building next to the gift shop. Of course, there have been other questions such as:

Does it cost to drive through the tree?
What are your hours?
How tall is the tree?
When was the opening cut?
How old is the tree
How does the Chandelier Tree stay alive with so much of its heart cut out?
Can I bring my dog?
Why is it called the Chandelier Tree?
What's the weather like?

Does it cost to drive through the tree?

The fee that is charged is to enter the park. The Drive-Thru Tree is the main attraction and is the center of the park. The park entrance fee is:

Cars $5.00
Motorcycles
Bicycles
Walk-Ins
$3.00
Tour Buses (Commercial vehicles
with 8 or more passengers)
$25.00

This is a day-use park with hiking trails, a pond, and picnic tables. The tree is the main attraction but we hope that you will get out of your car and enjoy our forest before you continue on your journey.
Back

What are your hours?

Days: Daily
Weather permitting the park is open every day with the exception of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. We are sorry you but wish to thank you for allowing us to spend the holidays withour families.

Hours:
Because the changing seasons causes days to lengthen or shorten, please check
Facebook for current opening and closing times.
Back

How tall is the tree?

In the absence of scientific equipment you can use a stick. Apparently by holding the stick vertically you move away from the tree while sighting the trunk base above your hand. You're supposed to make certain the length of the stick above your hand equals the distance from your hand to your eye. So you walk backwards away from the tree keeping the stick in place and when the top of the stick is level with the top of the tree you measure how many feet you are from the tree and that should be the height. You can also use your shadow and the tree's shadow. If you're not very good a math, just belive the sign.

In recent history the top of the Chandelier Tree has not been damaged by any storms - this is a hazard for the tall trees and the "tallest tree" designation can change because of storms taking a few feet off the top. Believing the top to have suffered no damage we decided to stick (no pun intended) with the original estimate of approximately 315 feet.
Back

When was the opening cut?

An article published in The Redwood Journal on May 6, 1931 reported there was a new attraction in the redwoods. At Coolidge Park a tree was cut to enable cars to drive through it. The tree is 305 feet tall and 58 feet in circumference (18.5 feet in diameter). Oral history has automobiles becoming larger and unable to fit through the opening in the Coolidge Tree. The Chandelier Tree at 21 feet in diameter (approximately 65.9 feet incircumference) was a much larger tree and was located at the edge of the park much closer to the highway. This opening was cut in 1936 or 1937.
Back

How old is the tree?

The Chandelier Tree is a mere baby compared to the Bristlecone Pine named Methuselah which in 2005 was reportedly 4,767 years old, or the recently discovered Norway spruce found in Sweden which has been growing for around 9,950 years. Underwood family tradition has the height and the age of the Chandelier Drive Thru Tree estimated at approximately 2000 years old with a height of 315 feet. These estimates were calculated in the late 1930's at or near the time the opening in the tree was cut. To date there has been no attempt to recalculate the age or height and there is nothing written which indicates how those calculations were determined.

The Boy Scouts have a lesson plan on calculating the age of trees which requires having a piece of string, a yardstick and a branch of the tree and doing some simple algebra. You would count the growth rings in the branch and measure its diameter. Using the piece of string you determine the circumference of the tree and then determine the diameter. Once you have the diameter of the tree and having determined age of the branch you prorate the growth rate of the branch to the diameter of tree.

This sounds pretty complicated and we don't have a branch from the tree handy, so let's just say the estimate of 2000 years is still a viable estimate. Or you could add the number of years since the opening was cut to that estimate to calculate an average age for today.
Back

How does the Chandelier Tree stay alive with so much of its heart cut out?

The Chandelier Tree is a Coastal Redwood or Sequoia semperviren. These trees have no tap root, but instead a shallow root system (4 to 6 feet deep) that spreads out for up to 250 feet from the base. The widespread root system adds to the stability of the trees because they entwine with the roots of neighboring trees. You will notice in the park there is a fenced area around the tree to help protect this widespread root system as well as the layers that provide moisture, nutrients and growth.

The cambian layer just under the bark is where the growth of the tree takes place. This thin layer is followed by sapwood (which serves as the pipeline for water from the roots) and lastly the heartwood (which is the inactive or dead heart of the tree). A tree may be hollowed out as damaged heartwood decays or is burned. With the bark and cambian layers intact the tree can continue to grow, upheld by the widespread root system and the root systems of neighboring trees. Examples of trees continuing to survive with the heartwood damaged would be a “chimney tree” (such as the Shrine Drive Thru Tree in Myers Flat) or a “goosepen tree” whose hollows were often used as pens for a settler’s livestock (the Tree House in Leggett or Eternal Tree House in Redcrest).
Back

Can I bring my dog?

We are animal people here. You might get to glimpse the herd of deer, the flock of wild turkey, the wintering blue heron who spends his time gazing intently at the ground and occasionally coming up with a gopher, or the wild duck who use the pond as a stop-over on their way south -- yes, dogs are welcome.

Mendocino County has a leash law, which we enforce. This is not only to protect our wild creatures but you wouldn't want to ride home with the family pooch should (s)he encounter a skunk while running through the backwoods. Tomato juice baths are supposed to help but I never found that to be completely true.

Drive-Thru Tree Park is a privately-owned grove so the same restrictions of "no dogs on trails" that you might find in state or federal groves is not an issue. But we do ask that you respect our wild animals, our other human and animal guests, and protect that curious family member by keeping him/her leashed.
Back

Why is it called the Chandelier Tree?

The Chandelier Tree gets it's name from the enormous branches balanced on either side of the trunk. These branches, which are the size of small trees, begin about a hundred feet up the trunk.

Imagine a three-armed candelabra or, if you are more athletic, stand on your head for the chandelier effect.
Back

What's the weather like?

Leggett is about 1,000 feet above sea level and about six miles as the crow flies from the ocean, so it's pretty mild here. Summer temperatures can soar to the 100's for short periods of time and average rain fall is around 80 inches. We can have snowfall, but usually it's in the surrounding hills and not down in Leggett proper. If the snow does reach ground level it usually doesn't stay long. Of course, there are always surprises by Mother Nature, so you can check today's weather. Look at that, there are two Leggetts in the USA. We're the one in California.
Back