Giant sequoia tunnel tree shattered by massive storm
John and Lesley Ripper pose in the Pioneer Cabin tunnel tree, a giant, centuries-old sequoia, that had a tunnel carved into it in the 1880s. The tree took a dive Sunday as a massive storm swept through the area.

Photo By Michael Brown

ARNOLD, Cali. – A giant ancient California sequoia tree, famous for a drive-through hole carved into its trunk, fell over Sunday after it faced a massive storm. Fans of the mighty tree are mourning its loss.

The Pioneer Cabin tree was barely alive before the storm, according to Calaveras Big Trees State Park volunteer Jim Allday. Calaveras Park is located 90 miles east of Sacramento.

The tree shattered on impact when it went down Sunday, said Allday.


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“It was majestic,” he said. “Now it’s basically a pile of rubble.”

A tunnel was carved into the trunk in the 1880s to allow tourists to pass through, weakening the giant. The tunnel had allowed cars to pass, but only foot traffic was permitted in recent decades.

Although the tree’s age was unknown, many in the park are over a thousand years old, and sequoias can live more than 3,000 years.

The Pioneer Cabin tree was one of several “tunnel trees”- carved out to serve as human amusements.

Generations of locals and tourists have visited the tree for centuries, posing for photos and carving their names into it. Many of them took to social media Sunday and Monday, posting their memories of the tree.


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