SoHum Chamber’s Featured Business/Destination of the Week: Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree
Every week the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce features a business of the week. We’ll be sharing their posts here to celebrate our community.
The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree has been serving tourists and out of towners alike for several decades and has become one of the hottest destination locations to visit! Although the Drive-Thru Tree is geographically located in Mendocino County, it’s not far from the Humboldt County line! The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree Park is a privately owned grove that has been operated by the Underwood Family since 1922. Located approximately 180 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area and 23.8 miles south of Garberville CA, the park itself was once the ideal stopping place for overnight or week-long stays. In 1937 the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree was added to provide a unique treat for travelers. With the exception of motor homes or vehicles pulling trailers, most can drive right on through the tree. There is plenty of parking available off to the side for motor homes or big trucks that just don’t quite fit. Whether you drive or walk through it, the experience is sure to be an unforgettable one and visitors have been taking pictures inside the opening ever since!
Many guests that visit The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree continue on highway 101 north stopping in many of the surrounding towns of Southern Humboldt, searching for other adventures to experience! We have a great partnership and are proud to have them as a member with the Chamber! We hope you enjoy the read!
Turning right or left (depending which way you are coming from) off highway 101 into the small quiet town of Leggett CA, a huge sign points you in the right direction just another ¼ of a mile. Taking one final turn you feel the road beneath your tires grow soft with dirt as you approach the front entrance to the park. A path has been neatly outlined with wooden posts and carefully planted ferns in between. Just up ahead a small cabin comes into view and an employee of the park greets you with a friendly smile and small wave of her hand.
After a pleasant greeting with the staff and a few detailed directions were given, she points you in the correct direction to continue on. Taking the scenic drive slowly, the sounds of nature begin to silence the highway into the distance. As your eyes lock in on the beauty of nature that’s all around you, your focus shifts, allowing the journey to begin.
The dirt road gently leads you deeper into nature, careful not to disturb the natural habitat of the park. Scattered alongside the road amongst the shrubbery and trees, handmade carvings can be seen. The details and distinct features of each carving is impressive and they all have a different scene and story to tell.
The last stretch of road ends and you enter a clearer more open space. In front of you standing tall and mighty is the historical and well known Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree! Instantly you and your partner turn to one another trying to decide which one of you will hop out of the vehicle to take the picture and which one will be driving through the tree! Your veins flooding with anticipation, you happen to see another visitor standing close by gazing at the height of this tall giant. Politely asking the unknown guest if he will take your picture, your eyes dance with excitement as he smiles and says yes!
Putting the Toyota Rav4 in drive, you slowly creep toward the entrance of the tree as the unknown guest runs to the other side waiting to capture the perfect Kodak moment! Inching your way forward you begin to drive through the tree careful to not touch either side as so many others have done for decades! Pausing slightly as you come out on the other end, the camera sends off a flash and the moment was captured! You slowly drive past the unknown visitor, thanking him for the picture as you grab your camera and head toward the open parking lot.
The park is made up of many well maintained acres decorated with an assortment of trees, a small apple orchard, a large pond and beautiful benches that have been placed in various spots perfect for sitting and enjoying a quiet lunch. The pond attracts different species of birds as the deer spend their days grazing and stopping for a quick drink. On rare moments you can sometimes see a family of river otters that come up from their normal habitat and feast on the abundance of bull frogs in the pond. The river otters seem unafraid of innocent bystanders and are a joy to watch and observe as they play in the water before you.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast or avid hiker, there are many hiking trails that take you deeper into the thicker sides of the forest. On some of these trails more detailed handmade carvings can be found!
What sets this park apart from the rest is that The Chandelier Tree is still living and thriving! The staff at the park put a lot of effort in to limit traffic around the tree, which is why one half of the tree has now been blocked off, preventing vehicles from driving all the way around. In addition secure fencing has been built around the sides so that people do not climb on the bark.
The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree Park offers simple pleasures for all and is open for day use seven days a week, only closing for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Whether you want the experience of driving through the historical tree, a place to stop and eat lunch after you walk the dog, a good hiking trail that has yet to be discovered, or the perfect souvenir from the classic gift shop, this destination location creates and experience to remember!
For more information on this unique experience please contact The Drive-Thru Tree Park at: