Tree tunnels are a beautiful blend of natural and manmade elements. Although they take many shapes and sizes, each has its own character and charm. At their most fundamental level, tree tunnels are simply trees growing in a long row on both sides of a walkway, street or drive. As the trees grow over time, their crowns widen and spread and can eventually reach the branches of the trees on the opposite side of the lane. When this occurs, the tree tunnel effect occurs. To view this illusion, you simply stand on one end of the row of trees and look down the lane. It is a striking effect and resembles that of a tunnel or gothic cathedral! While some tree tunnels are formed with very large trees spread out uniformly, others form with a chaotic array of branches.
Tree tunnels look incredible in all seasons. Summer offers a lush, cool green atmosphere, while fall brings a splash of color and backlit leaves. Even winter can be a beautiful time to walk beneath the trees, especially after a fresh snowfall. With bare branches, you can appreciate all the twists and curves of each tree’s limbs. Below is a list of ten of the most beautiful tree tunnels. With countless examples around the world, this list is just enough to whet your appetite for beautiful trees tunnels!
1) Wormsloe Plantation, Savannah, Georgia
Wormsloe is one of the most accessible and impressive tree tunnels in the South. With a live oak lined drive stretching nearly a mile, there are several unique views. The most famous is that from the main gate, but farther into the plantation the vegetation on both sides opens and offers beautiful sidelight.
2) Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont
Smuggler’s Notch is a fantasyland of colors, twists and turns. With a variety of hardwoods, fall is a beautiful time to visit. As you approach the notch from the south, the canopy of trees completely covers the road, and it appears as though you are driving into a darkened tunnel.
3) Cypress Tree Tunnel, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
One of the most famous tree tunnels on the west coast, the Point Reyes KPH radio station has a row of old cypress trees on the drive in. The leaves are near the top of these cypress branches, meaning the tunnel itself shows off the beautiful trunks and large branches of the trees. This is a must see spot on the way to the seashore.
6) Sagano Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan
Easily the most well-known bamboo forest in the world, Sagano is filled with dense thickets of blue-green bamboo stalks. With a path leading through the forest, people enjoy walking under the canopy and listening to the leaves rustle and bamboo trunks knocking together.
5) Oak Alley, Vacherie, Louisiana
Not far from New Orleans you can find the Oak Alley Plantation. One of the most famous features of this plantation is the live oak lined yard. The 28 enormous oaks are all members of the Live Oak Society of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation. The largest of the trees has a girth of 26.5’ and is over 300 years old.
4) Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges is a dramatic tree tunnel located in Northern Ireland. In 1775, James Stuart built a new home and planted over 150 beech trees along the entrance road to the estate. Around 90 of these trees survive today, and are now rather famous. The Dark Hedges have been featured in the series Game of Thrones and in the Transformers movie The Last Knight. Try to time your visit for morning or evening for the best light.
7) Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
Cumberland Island is a barrier island on the east coast of Georgia. The entire island is protected as a national seashore and is designated wilderness. However, the island used to be a working plantation, and a retreat for the Carnegie family. Today, you can visit the ruins of the gigantic Dungeness mansion, bike on the car-free dirt roads and admire the wild horses that roam the woods. One of the most intriguing features of the island is the maritime forest, full of twisting live oak branches and saw palmetto. This tangled forest offers the perfect recipe for tree tunnels, and the island is full of them.
8) Central Park Mall, New York City, New York
Millions of people pass through Central Park each year. Perhaps the most famous city parks in the world, Central Park is a natural respite for city inhabitants. The Mall is a straight carriage lane lined with American Elm trees and lights. These tall Elms are one of the largest remaining American Elm plantations today. This is one of the grandest tree tunnels on the East Coast, and one can catch glimpses of the soaring skyscrapers just beyond the edges of the park.
9) Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
The Tunnel of Love is a section of railway near Klevan, Ukraine. The tracks are surrounded by trees and foliage that has grown to a perfect oval shaped tunnel. In spring and summer the tunnel is bright green and is a favorite place for couples to walk. Legend has it that couples that visit the tunnel will be granted a wish, as long as their intentions are sincere.
10) Evergreen Plantation, Edgard, Louisiana
Evergreen Plantation has a live oak lined drive on the side of the main house that forms a narrow canopy over the dirt road. Since live oaks keep their leaves year round, you can visit this spot any time of year and see it with green leaves and mysterious Spanish moss draped upon branches. Just make sure to stay at the road, as this is a private drive.