A car drives through the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree in Leggett California in 1941.
The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree in 1941. Photo © TigerPaw2154 licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0.

No longer even a proverbial wide spot in the road since the US-101 freeway was diverted around it, Leggett marks the southern end of the Humboldt redwoods. At the south end of “town,” a mile from the US-101/Hwy-1 junction along the old highway, stands one of the redwood region’s most venerable and worthwhile roadside attractions, the “original” Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree (daily dawn-dusk, $5). In addition to the famous tree, which had the six-foot, nine-inch tunnel cut through it in the 1930s, there’s an above-average gift shop with a broad range of books, postcards, and schlocky souvenirs.

Nearby, the 14-acre grounds of Big Bend Lodge (707/925-2440, summer only, $149-159) has nine quaint riverfront cabins, perfect for lazy days floating, swimming, or fishing.

South of Leggett, US-101 runs inland, racing toward San Francisco, while scenic Hwy-1 cuts west over the coastal mountains to Mendocino, winding slowly south along the Pacific.


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