Speed Reads


A 1,000-year-old California tree with a tunnel big enough to drive a car through just toppled over in a storm

A famous California sequoia tree estimated to be more than 1,000 years old toppled in a giant storm over the weekend, the Calaveras Big Tree Association reports. Known as the "Pioneer Cabin" tree, the sequoia had a tunnel carved into it 135 years ago that was big enough for cars, horses, and people to pass through:

A photo posted by Bev (@bev_sf) on Jan 8, 2017 at 11:20pm PST

"When I went out there [Sunday afternoon], the trail was literally a river, the trail is washed out," volunteer Jim Allday told SFGate. "I could see the tree on the ground, it looked like it was laying in a pond or lake with a river running through it."

While tunnel trees were popular attractions in the 19th century, the act of carving a tunnel damages the sequoia — Pioneer Cabin was "barely alive," said Jim Allday's wife and fellow park volunteer Joan Allday.

There are no other living tunnel tree sequoias left, NPR reports. Only three other tunnel trees, all coastal redwoods, remain in California.