A recent video went viral, showing a tourist's unfortunate encounter with the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree along the Avenue of the Giants in Myers Flat, California. In an ill-fated attempt to drive their Nissan Armada through the towering 175-foot redwood tree's naturally formed opening, the tourist ended up knocking off a mirror. The incident that was captured on TikTok and has since been viewed by millions.
The living redwood is thousands of years old, is at least 175 feet tall and still produces cones. The opening was created naturally by a fire that burned out the inside, Jim Allmon, owner of Shrine Drive-Thru Tree Auto Park & Gift Shop, told SFGATE.
While accidents do happen sometimes, he said there are signs posted explaining the dimensions and that the shop is not responsible for any damage caused by "driver negligence." If there is an issue, it's mostly mirrors that end up damaged.
"Their car will fit — it's mostly user error," Allmon told SFGATE.
Allmon points out that even larger vehicles, such as a Chevrolet Suburban, can navigate through the tree without incident. Allmon also highlights two other drive-thru trees—the Chandelier Tree in Leggett and the Klamath Tree north of Eureka—as alternatives for visitors. Despite the mixed reviews on Tripadvisor, Allmon believes the natural wonder of these trees continues to draw in visitors. He shares that some tourists, upon recognizing their mistakes, have even asked him for duct tape to fix their damaged vehicles on the spot.
As you'll see in the video, the Nissan escaped the tree but not without some damage.