Trees of Mystery

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Trees of Mystery
Significant Sight
Features Redwood National Forest
Opening date 1946
Location Klamath, California, United States
Address Trees of Mystery
Klamath, CA 95548
Coordinates: 41°35′4.1″N 124°5′8.83″W / 41.584472°N 124.0857861°W / 41.584472; -124.0857861Coordinates: 41°35′4.1″N 124°5′8.83″W / 41.584472°N 124.0857861°W / 41.584472; -124.0857861
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues at Trees of Mystery. Note the size of the visitors at Babe's hoof.

Trees of Mystery is a tourist attraction near the coastal town of Klamath, California. It features many Giant Redwoods and a number of unusual tree formations, many of which can be seen from its Trail of Mysterious Trees. Its Trail of Tall Tales displays some 50 chainsaw sculptures and carvings illustrating stories of legendary logger Paul Bunyan and his crew.[1]

Owned and operated by the same family for 67 years, Trees of Mystery is best known for its 49-foot (15 m) statue of Paul Bunyan and 35-foot (11 m) statue of Bunyan's companion Babe the Blue Ox, which are visible from US Highway 101. Constructed largely of wooden beams, chicken wire and stucco, the current Babe was built in 1950 and the current Bunyan in 1961. The original Bunyan was built in 1946 but was destroyed by rain that winter.[2] In late 2007, the half-ton, nine-foot-wide head of Babe fell to the ground as the result of rain damage; it has since been replaced.[3]

An early 1950 brochure referred to the attraction as "Unbelievable but True, World's Largest Group of Natures Living Wonders".[1]


California Redwood (sequoia sempervirens) trees similar to those at Trees of Mystery. (Cited by Wikipedia)

Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack in American folklore. The "tall tale" of Bunyan implies he is superhuman and is larger than humanly possible. He is accompanied by a blue ox named Babe. Bunyan was first created by the oral tradition of North American loggers. He was later popularized by freelance writer William B. Laughed in a 1916 promotional pamphlet for the Red River Lumber Company.[4] Bunyan is known as a symbol of the American lumberjack.

Some historians believe Bunyan was based on the French-Canadian logger Fabian "Joe" Fournier. Bunyan was originally portrayed as a hardworking American logger of large but normal proportions. As his popularity grew, so did his stature, until he was eventually portrayed as standing at treetop height.

Trail through the redwood forest

In addition to its trails with views of unusual tree formations, Trees of Mystery features its The End of the Trail Museum with a large private collection of Native American art, crafts and tools; and a large gift shop with souvenirs, many of them handmade, reminiscent of Pacific Northwest's colorful logging history.


In 2001 an aerial tramway was installed called the Skytrail. It takes guests on a 1/3-mile ride through the forest, allowing them to see parts of the attraction from a different point of view.[5] It culminates at an observation deck where the Pacific Ocean is visible above the surrounding forest.[6]

The trees[edit]

Trees of Mystery highlights a selection of novel tree formations, including:

  • The Cathedral Tree, consisting of nine trees growing in a semicircle out of one root structure, often used as a site for weddings[7]
  • The Brotherhood Tree, so named for its massive size of 19 feet in diameter and 297 feet in height
  • The Candelabra Tree, formed by a fallen tree with younger trees sprouting from it
  • The Elephant Tree, resembling an elephant's trunk, with multiple limbs branching from its base

Given the trees's ages and sizes, it is generally assumed that Trees of Mystery's creators discovered the formations in-place and decided to build an attraction around them. However, the attraction's history and kitschy style have given it archetypal status among West Coast tourist destinations.

Other sites with Paul Bunyan references[edit]

The Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor, Maine.

Other sites in the U.S. are dedicated to and/or feature representations of the mythic logger Paul Bunyan.

The states of Maine and Minnesota have traditionally competed to be considered Bunyan's "birthplace". Bangor, Maine has a 31-foot statue of Bunyan "marking" his birthplace.[8]

Minnesota has multiple attractions and parks with Bunyan statues and tributes, most notably those in the towns of Bemiji and Akeley. Akeley's Paul Bunyan Historical Museum illustrates its own version of the tale, and claims to have the largest Bunyan statue (although the tourist-attraction reference Roadside America states that the statue at Trees of Mystery is much larger). Paul Bunyan Land (Brainerd, MN) and the Mall of America (Bloomington, MN) have talking Bunyan statues and Bunyan-themed log rides.

There is a Paul Bunyan statue in Portland, Oregon, a remnant of the 1959 Oregon Centennial Exposition.

Special Bunyan-related events occur around the U.S. on National Paul Bunyan Day, June 28.

Cultural references[edit]

A scene from the opening of the animated television series Gravity Falls was inspired by the statues.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bisbort, Alan; Puterbaugh, Parke (2009). Moon California Beaches: The Best Places to Swim, Play, Eat, and Stay. Avalon Travel. p. 525. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Klamath tourist attraction loses its head The Times-Standard 11-24-2007
  4. ^ "Paul Bunyan". Wikipedia. 2017-03-19. 
  5. ^ Advertising, Passey. "Ride the SkyTrail at Trees of Mystery, redwood attraction California North Coast near Redwood National Park". Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  6. ^ Hall, Christopher (2002-07-07). "TRAVEL ADVISORY; Aerial Gondola Offers High Redwood Views". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 
  7. ^ Bisbort, Alan; Puterbaugh, Parke (2009-08-04). Moon California Beaches: The Best Places to Swim, Play, Eat, and Stay. Avalon Publishing. ISBN 9781566916141. 
  8. ^ "Paul Bunyan Statue, Bangor". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  9. ^ Jensen, Jamie (2013). Road Trip USA: Pacific Coast Highway. Avalon Travel. p. 53. ISBN 9781612383170. 

External links[edit]