California - Last Surviving Giant Redwood Tunnel Tree
Height: 232.00+ ft (70.71+ m) Elevation: 5,927 ft (1,807 m) GPS Latitude: 37.50436
Volume: Creek: Big Creek GPS Longitude: -119.60030
Width: 14.80 ft (4.51 m) Grove: Mariposa Grove Discovery Date: 1857
Age: Park: Yosemite NP Discovered By: Galen Clark

Notes: California Tree is the last surviving giant redwood tunnel tree. In 1895, the Yosemite Stage and Turnpike Company hired W. H. Coop and John Cummings to carve a tunnel through the base of the tree to allow tourists passage through an alternate tunnel tree in the lower Mariposa Grove whenever snowpack blocked the route to Wawona Tunnel Tree in the upper grove. California remained a drive-through tree from 1895 until 1932 when the National Park Service rerouted Mariposa Grove Road away from the base of Grizzly Giant and converted the segment of abandoned road which had passed through California Tree to a footpath.

All other giant redwood tunnel trees are now dead. Dead Giant, located in Tuolomne Grove in Yosemite National Park, was tunneled in 1878 after it had died, and Tunnel Log, located in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, was tunneled after it fell on Decemmber 4, 1937. Meanwhile, Wawona Tunnel Tree, also located in Mariposa Grove, fell in February 1969, and Pioneer Cabin Tree, located in North Grove in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, fell on January 8, 2017.

Three living coast redwood tunnel trees remain: Chandelier, Shrine, and Tour Thru.

California should not be confused with other California trees which grow in General Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park and in Nelder Grove in Sierra National Forest or with King Arthur (also known as California Tree) which grows in Garfield Grove in Sequoia National Park.

Drive: California Tree is 156 mi (251 km) east of San Francisco near the city of Oakhurst.

Northbound: From U.S. Interstate 5 North, transfer to California State Highway 41 North toward Kettleman City. Drive north 110 mi (161 km) on California State Highway 41 to Oakhurst.

Southbound: From U.S. Interstate 5 South in Sacramento, transfer to U.S. Highway 50 East toward South Lake Tahoe. Drive east 1.7 mi (2.7 km) on U.S. Highway 50 and transfer to California State Highway 99 South. Near Merced, transfer to California State Highway 140 East. Drive east 36 mi (58 km) on California State Highway 140 to Mariposa and transfer to California State Highway 49 East. Drive east 26 mi (42 km) on California State Highway 49 to Oakhurst and transfer to California State Highway 41 North.

From Oakhurst, drive north 17 mi (27 km) on California State Highway 41 to the southern entrance station of Yosemite National Park (entry fee required). Turn right onto Mariposa Grove Road, drive east 275 ft (84 m), and turn right into the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza parking lot.

Ride a free shuttle bus or hike east 2 mi (3 km) on Washburn Trail from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza to the Mariposa Grove Arrival Area. Buses depart from the Welcome Plaza every 10 minutes from 8 AM to 8 PM May 15 through October 14 and from 8 AM to 5 PM March 15 through May 14 and October 15 through November 30. No shuttle service is available from December 1 through March 15. Limited parking is available at the Mariposa Grove Arrival Area in the lower grove whenever shuttle service is unavailable. Mariposa Grove Road remains closed to private vehicles (with a locked gate) from 30 minutes before shuttle service begins until 30 minutes before it ends each day to restrict access during shuttle operations.

Visit nps.gov/yose for updates and more information.

Hike: From the trailhead, hike northeast/uphill 0.15 mi (0.24 km) on Big Trees Loop Trail, past Fallen Monarch, to the junction with Grizzly Giant Loop Trail. Turn right at the trail junction and hike northeast/uphill 0.6 mi (1.0 km) on Grizzly Giant Loop Trail, past Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, and the junction with Mariposa Grove Trail, to California which straddles the trail ahead.

Rating: Easy One-Way Distance: 0.8 mi (1.3 km) Ascent: 413 ft (126 m)
Time: 25 min Off-Trail: 0.0 mi (0.0 km) Descent: 131 ft (40 m)
California Tree Hike Map

View California Tree location in Google Maps

Photos: Pictures of California Tree taken from different sides

California Tree California Tree California Tree California Tree