If you had plans to see the famous “Pioneer Cabin Tree” in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California, you just missed your chance. The iconic Tunnel Tree was toppled by a powerful winter storm on January 7th, 2017.
Images via Calaveras Big Trees Association
The ancient sequoias in the park—some of which are estimated to be over 1,000 years old—have made it a popular destination since the late 1800s.
In the 1880, well before the Calaveras North Grove became a part of the California State Park System, a private landowner dug an enormous tunnel in what came to be known as the “Tunnel Tree” for cars to pass through. The tree had a 33-foot wide base with a large fire scar that made it easy to cut a hole wide enough for a car.
The tunnel was a big hit and curious tourists from all over the country traveled to see it and etch their names in its bark. There are pictures from the 1800s that show tourists looking up at the tree in awe.
Jim Allday, a park volunteer who was on duty when the Tunnel Tree fell, told the Los Angeles Times that the tree “shattered” when it hit the ground. There are wooden splinters all over the ground where the tree once stood.
Images via Calaveras Big Trees State Park
The lesson here? Don’t wait until it’s too late to see an amazing natural wonder. Take that time off because you never know when something like this will happen.
The weekend's storm was just too much for the famous Pioneer Cabin Tree in Calaveras Big Tree State Park. I'm glad I got to stand in the awesomeness of this giant tree with my family in 2015. This tree will always remind me of Baby Diego screaming his head off (zoom in) and I just wanted a nice family picture in the tree and that's as good as it got. Goodbye beautiful tree. #chasquimom #sequoiatree #pioneercabintree #calaverasbigtrees
Sad... This, almost 2,000 year old sequoia tree in Calaveras Big Trees California state park, has fallen this weekend during the heavy storm. My friend took this picture of me under it this past Spring. It was a living tree and it was named Pioneer Cabin Tree. . . Photo credit: @nicole_grote #calaverasbigtrees #norcal #california #northerncalifornia #sequoia #visitcalifornia #onlyinnortherncalifornia #tree_magic #worldofhiking #modernhiker #norcalhiking #californiacaptures #unlimitedcalifornia #gotocalifornia
Just found out this tree fell during a storm in California, 😔 that stinks! One of my favorite parts of the whole trip we took last year, glad we got to see it at least, 🙁 // #tree #calvarasbigtrees #bigtrees #rip #rip🙏 #california #trip #travel #park #parks #calavaresbigtrees #sad #pioneercabintree //