The Pioneer Cabin Tree, a California landmark loved by tourists for decades, has been toppled by wind.
A giant sequoia, the huge tree was 150 feet tall. The cutout in its trunk was wide enough to drive cars through and, over the years, many cars did pass under the tree.
Eventually California authorities closed access to cars, but in recent years there has been a hiking trail that leads to it and visitors could still stand in the cutout.
Located in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Pioneer Cabin Tree – also known as the Tunnel Tree – was estimated to be over 1,000 years old. The large hole in its trunk was carved by owners of the land on which it grew in 1880.
A report in the San Francisco Chronicle explained that there is no way to be sure of the reason why the Tunnel Tree could not withstand the storm that has hit the Golden State in recent days. That storm, the worst in at least a decade, flooded Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The Chronicle explained that the Tunnel Tree’s shallow root system, typical for a sequoia, was likely a factor.
Giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), also known as redwoods, are the world’s largest organisms by volume. They can grow to a height of 85 meters and have been known to live for more than 3,500 years.
Now that the Pioneer Cabin Tree has fallen, there are no longer any known living sequoia trees with tunnels through their trunks.