Our summer road trip this year was all about the California Coastal Redwoods. We started off with a visit to Crater Lake National Park, then worked our was through Redwood National and State Parks, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and Avenue of the Giants, stopping at all sorts of roadside attractions and tourist pit stops along the way.
After spending several days hiking trail after trail through majestic towering redwood groves, kayaking on the Smith River, touring a lighthouse, hunting for agates and walking along stunning beaches, we were ready for something different.
Once we made our way inland to the 31 mile Avenue of the Giants drive, the weather got hotter and the roadside attractions got weirder. In fact, there are four redwood trees or tree trunks that have been turned into buildings, homes, and gift shops, including The Eternal Treehouse, the One Log House, the World Famous Tree House, and The Living Chimney Tree.
The Living Chimney Tree is a 78 foot tall redwood tree trunk that was hollowed out by fire in 1914 to create a room in the base of the tree that is approximately 12.5 feet wide.
We pulled into the parking area for the Living Chimney Tree in Phillipsville near the southern entrance of Avenue of the Giants and discovered there is a grill serving up burgers and ice cream onsite. It wasn’t open yet, so we wandered over to check out the Chimney Tree, which has a real working front door!
When you enter through the doorway, you’ll find yourself inside a large redwood room and if you look up through the Chimney, you’ll see sky as the tree was burned all the way through.
While the hollowed out redwood trunk was cool to see, we didn’t stay long because the only restrooms available were gross, dirty port-a-potties!
Know Before You Go
- The Living Chimney Tree is located at 1111 Avenue of the Giants (State Route 254), Phillipsville, California 95559 in Humboldt County just north of the southern entrance to Avenue of the Giants.
- Admission to the Living Chimney Tree is free.
- The Chimney Tree Grill offers visitors grass-fed burgers, hot dogs, fresh baked pies, and ice cream, and includes gluten-free and vegan options.
- This also used to be the location of Hobbiton, USA — a half mile nature walk that took you past staged scenes from Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The roadside attraction included statues of Gandalf and Gollum and even Smaug. Unfortunately, the attraction has been closed for many years.
- Only restrooms available are port-a-potties.