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Shrine Drive-Thru Tree.

Shrine Drive-Thru Tree

Field review by the editors.

Myers Flat, California

The Shrine Drive Thru Tree is one of the oldest tourist spectacles along the Avenue of the Giants. The towering redwood chimney tree is anchored on a slope, and features a paved road through its narrow, angular gash. The opening is claimed to be partly natural -- an early 20th century lightning strike sparked a fire that hollowed out the giant.

Tree House Village,

Since the 1920s, drivers have interrupted their travels to maneuver through the tree. The opening was eventually enlarged to accommodate larger vehicles, although sideview mirrors in large vehicles are occasionally snapped off. During its career as a roadside attraction and postcard darling, it has also been called the Shrine of the Redwoods, the Doust Tree. It is one of three drive-through trees in northern California.

Visitors pay a per car admission to pass through the gate next to the gift shop, and then queue briefly to enter the tree (If they realize they won't fit, there's a bypass parking lot). Cars stop inside the Shrine Tree while companions stand on the road to snap their Bucket List photo.

Shrine Drive-Thru Tree.

Signs at the attraction make claims of enormity: Height 275 ft.m Diameter 21 ft., Circumference 64 ft. However the height my be exaggerated or merely out-of-date. The tree is essentially dead, with its top gone (though redwoods are known for their resurrection prowess).

Rings of History,

Atmosphere-wise, the Shrine Drive Thru Park seems secluded in the forest, but it's close enough to the Klamath River for inundation when there's a rare Winter or Spring flood. A white line painted on the tree, just above the tunnel exit, indicates the crest of 1964's historic flood.

One local resident told us "My great uncle use to play in the tree as a child, chasing the bats up thru the hole in it. By about 1994, the river came up and went down so many times in just a short amount of time that it took out the bank and all the trees around the tree." The tree can survive such soakings, but as a precaution the gift shop was built well upslope to stay dry.

The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree features other items of note:

Tree House Village is a pair of stump-carved fairytale houses suitable for kids and photo ops.

Drive On Log is one of the more peculiar redwood attractions, inviting vehicles to ascend onto the flattened side of a fallen giant tree.

The Rings of History shows 3,200 years of human history mapped to redwood growth rings on a huge log. When we last checked, these were the traditional milestones on the sign: Christ born, Charlemagne Crowned, First Crusade, Magna Carta Signed, Discovery of America, and the Declaration of Independence. Our photos from 1997 show a solid log with metal labels pointing to each milestone ring. By 2016, it seemed as if we were on the wrong side of History -- the log next to the sign was a rotted mess. Is it also working as the Drive-On Log?

We recommend a visit to make your own determination.

Also see: Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree | Tour-Thru Tree

Shrine Drive-Thru Tree

13078 Avenue of the Giants, Myers Flat, CA
US 101 exit 656 onto Avenue of the Giants. Four miles south of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park visitor center.
Daily 6-8, closed for weather or in winter. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
$8 car/5 passengers, $3 walk-ins
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Redwood Log of HistoryRedwood Log of History, Weott, CA - 3 mi.
Charles Kellogg's Travel LogCharles Kellogg's Travel Log, Weott, CA - 3 mi.
Skinny Carved Old ManSkinny Carved Old Man, Phillipsville, CA - 6 mi.
In the region:
Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree, Leggett, CA - 29 mi.

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