Chandelier Tree provides drive-through detour

The species Sequoia sempervirens (the coastal redwood) is typically known for the great height to which the trees grow.

Some additional features however, distinguish some redwoods. One of these is the Chandelier Tree near Leggett, some 22 miles south of Garberville.

Standing serenely in a 200-acre virgin redwood forest, this redwood gets its name from its unique limb structure that makes the tree resemble an ornate chandelier.

The limbs are unique because some of them range from four to eight feet in diameter - larger than the trunks of many mature trees elsewhere.

There is something else unique about this tree, which stands 315 feet tall and is still growing. Through its 21-foot diameter base, there is room to drive a car. And visitors have the opportunity to do just that - drive their car through.

The Chandelier Tree Park is the first large redwood grove that tourists from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond encounter on their way to Garberville and vicinity, where the big trees really abound in scores of groves similar to this one.

The drive-through tree park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk the year around and offers a gift shop, picnic area, and nature walks in the forest.

To reach the park, take the first Leggett exit going south, which is Highway 101's junction with Highway 1, which heads west to the rugged Mendocino Coast and a number of other California State Parks and Recreation Areas described elsewhere in this guide. After exiting the freeway, turn south immediately onto the frontage road paralleling the freeway and watch for the signs directing to the drive-through tree park.