|Height:||96.80 ft||(29.50 m)||Elevation:||175 ft (53 m)||GPS Latitude:||40.26864|
|Volume:||River:||South Fork Eel River||GPS Longitude:||-123.87555|
|Width:||17.25 ft||(5.26 m)||Grove:||Discovery Date:||1880s|
|Age:||Park:||Shrine Drive Thru Tree Auto Park||Discovered By:||Doust|
Notes: Shrine Drive Thru Tree, also known as Doust Tree, Redwood Shrine Tree, and Shrine of the Redwoods, is located at 13078 California State Route 254 (Avenue of the Giants) in Myers Flat, California 3.9 mi (6.3 km) south of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park visitor center. Shrine is a chimney tree whose trunk was hollowed by fire (perhaps the result of a lightning strike) more than a century ago. Loggers reportedly spared the tree because they suspected it had little, if any, merchantable timber.
Shrine became a popular tourist attraction after its owner widened the natural, angled opening through the trunk to create a 7.0 ft (2.1 m) wide and 7.0 ft (2.1 m) tall tunnel large enough to accommodate vehicles. When Avenue of the Giants was still an unpaved trail, horses pulled wagons through the tree. After the road was paved, Shrine became the first major roadside attraction on the new Redwood Highway. In the late 1920s, Ford Model Ts would turn off the highway, drive through the tree, circle back to the highway, and speed off.
The circumstances behind the tree's renaming remain uncertain. Some sources claim a former owner, who belonged to Shriners International, renamed the tree in the late 1930s to honor his freemason fraternity and donated all tourism proceeds to charity. Others suspect he simply renamed it because he considered the tree a redwood shrine.
Shrine is 78 ft (24 m) shorter, 3.8 ft (1.2 m) narrower, and more than 490 years younger than the sign indicates: 175 ft (53 m), 21 ft (6.4 m), and 3,000 y respectively (the oldest known living coast redwood is 2,342 y old). A white line painted on the trunk just above the tunnel opening indicates the maximum water level of the 1964 flood.
Although Shrine is the oldest of the three drive-through coast redwoods, it remains the least-popular. The tree appears in decline, and the hollow trunk, with an ever-increasing lean, requires support from metallic cables (installed in 1942) to remain upright. Other park attractions include the Balance Tree, Cathedral Tree, Children's Step-Thru Stump, Drive-On Log, Rings of History, Tree House Village, and, of course, a gift shop. Shrine Drive Thru Tree Auto Park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except during winter. Call 707-943-1975 for seasonal hours, entrance fees, and more information.
Drive: Shrine is 189 mi (304 km) north of San Francisco in the community of Myers Flat.
Northbound: From U.S. Highway 101, take Exit 656 Myers Flat. Turn right onto California State Route 254 (Avenue of the Giants) and drive north 0.3 mi (0.5 km) to Boy Scout Road.
Southbound: From U.S. Highway 101, take Exit 656 Myers Flat. Turn right onto California State Route 254 (Avenue of the Giants) and drive north 0.2 mi (0.3 km) to Boy Scout Road.
Turn left onto Boy Scout Road, turn right at the Shrine Drive Thru Tree Auto Park entrance station (entrance fee required), and drive north 250 ft (76 m) to Shrine.
View Shrine Drive Thru Tree location in Google Maps
Photos: Pictures of Shrine Tree taken from different sides