20 Most Incredible Tree Tunnels on Earth‏

Tunnels, like doorways, signify a point of transit between worlds. However, the following tree tunnels – designed by man and built by nature – are destinations in themselves. Beautiful, enchanted and occasionally creepy, they mark the threshold to a magical realm of experience.

20. Dark Hedges, United Kingdom

Gnarled and foreboding, the Dark Hedges was used as the location for the King’s Road in Game of Thrones. The tunnel is composed of 150 shadowy beech trees and encloses the entrance to the 18th-century estate of Gracehill House in Northern Ireland. Interestingly, it is said to be haunted by a tormented ghost known as the “Grey Lady.”

19. Kawachi Fuji Garden, Japan

Reminiscent of an impressionist oil painting, the fairytale cascades of white, blue, violet and indigo flowers at the famous wisteria tunnel in Kawachi Fuji Garden are a spellbinding spectacle. Wisteria is strictly speaking a vine, but this tunnel – which features 150 plants and 20 different species – is so magical that it deserves a mention in any case.

ADVERTISEMENT

18. Oak Alley Plantation, United States

Draped in swaths of Spanish moss, the rows of giant oaks framing the Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana are a botanical treasure. Running for 800 feet, the 300-year-old trees were planted way before construction of the plantation started in the 18th century. These days, the estate is considered one of the best remaining examples of plantation architecture in the Mississippi Valley.

17. Halnaker Windmill, United Kingdom

ADVERTISEMENT

Nestled between wildflowers and grasslands in the English countryside, the gentle woodland trail leading to Halnaker Windmill is more than faintly Hobbit-esque. Its enchanted tunnel of trees is particularly atmospheric in the hazy light of fall, too, when a litter of rich red leaves carpets the floor.

16. Jacarandas Walk, South Africa

This street in South Africa is enclosed by the vibrant purple blossom of jacaranda trees, their petals strewn over the ground like the road to some fairytale kingdom. There are some 50,000 jacarandas in South Africa, mainly in Pretoria – sometimes called Jacaranda City – but they are not native to the country and are considered invasive.

ADVERTISEMENT

15. Asan Ginkgo Tunnel, South Korea

ADVERTISEMENT

Gingko trees are celebrated as much for their medicinal qualities as they are for their aesthetic beauty, and their cultivation in Asia is an ancient practice. In the city of Asan-si in Japan, the road to the Hyeonchungsa Shrine is, moreover, lined with them, their canopies blazing with golden leaves.

14. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Japan

There is a bewitching, otherworldly quality to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, its dense walls of bamboo fracturing the sunlight. Thought to ward off evil, bamboo is traditionally planted in the vicinity of holy sites. The Arashiyama grove sprawls outside Tenryu-ii Temple, one of the five main temples of Kyoto in Japan.

ADVERTISEMENT

13. Maynooth College, Ireland

ADVERTISEMENT

The traditional yew arbor of Maynooth College in Ireland forms the unnerving entrance to an old graveyard filled with crypts and Gaelic crosses. Yew trees have a traditional association with death and are commonly planted in cemeteries. In fact, their leaves are poisonous and discourage animals from disturbing burial sites.

12. Meguro River, Japan

In Japan, springtime signals the start of “Hanami” – the national pastime of viewing cherry blossom (“sakura” in Japanese). There are countless sites around the country at which to enjoy the spectacle of blushing blooms, including the Meguro River in Tokyo, where the flower-filled boughs merge to form a dreamy pink tunnel.

ADVERTISEMENT

11. Bodnant Gardens, United Kingdom

ADVERTISEMENT

The laburnum trees at Bodnant Garden in Wales, U.K., spring to life in May and June to create a dazzling archway of sun-hued flowers. The garden encompasses 80 acres of landscaped grounds and includes Italian-style terraces and scores of plant species from around the world.

10. Marconi Wireless Station, California

Recalling a bygone age, a tunnel of grand cypresses lines the road to the Marconi Wireless Station in Point Reyes National Seashore, California. For its part, the wireless station was formerly housed in a handsome art deco building dating to the 1920s and served as a receiving center for KPH, which communicated with offshore ships using telegrams and telex.

ADVERTISEMENT

9. Gyeonghwa Station, South Korea

ADVERTISEMENT

The picturesque swath of blooms tunneling the railway tracks at Gyeonghwa Station in Jinhae is considered one of the finest cherry blossom sites in all of South Korea. It draws crowds of admirers when it flowers each April, an occasion celebrated by the Jinhae Gunhagie Cherry Blossom Festival.

8. Gormanston College, Ireland

Gnarled and gothic, the centuries-old yew walk in the grounds of Gormanston College is part of an historical estate and boarding school managed by the Roman Catholic Orders of Friars Minor. The pathway leads to an ancient graveyard and the final resting place of Franciscan priests and nuns who served the order.

ADVERTISEMENT

7. Sena de Luna, Spain

Like a setting from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this dazzling tree tunnel in Sena de Luna features a psychedelic carpeting of purple flowers. Hidden in the autonomous community of Castile and León in northwest Spain, the tiny village is home to some 450 inhabitants.

ADVERTISEMENT

6. Porto Alegre, Brazil

Many “urban jungles” are concrete hellholes, but this corridor of lush greenery in Porto Alegre, Brazil looks like paradise on Earth. Nestled between grasslands and subtropical forests in the southernmost part of the country, the city shelters a variety of impressive tree species, including these giant rosewoods, which line a 1,600-foot-long section of the Rua Gonçalo de Carvalho.

ADVERTISEMENT

5. Orton Plantation, North Carolina

ADVERTISEMENT

Sturdy oak trees line the driveway to Orton Plantation in North Carolina, which is among the finest surviving examples of antebellum architecture. The estate holds more than two centuries of eventful history, including a spell as a military hospital and as a colonial governor’s mansion.

4. Aberglasney Gardens, United Kingdom

There is something slightly nightmarish about the knotted and gnarled yew trees of Aberglasney Gardens, bent over the earth like hunchback figures. Planted in the 18th century, they form part of one of the oldest gardens in Britain; the earliest written reference to it was penned by a poet in the Middle Ages.

ADVERTISEMENT

3. North Lake Road, United States

ADVERTISEMENT

Nestled between the peaks of the eastern Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains, the “Leaf Tunnels” of North Lake Road are a deeply photogenic locale. Best snapped in the fall, the road connects with Route 168 not too far from the town of Bishop in California.

2. Col de la Schlucht, France

Drenched in mist and shadow, this serene forest tunnel was snapped in the high elevation pass of Col de la Schluct in the Vosges Mountains. The range is located in eastern France in the region of Lorraine, overlooking the German border, and rises to a height of 4,672 feet.

ADVERTISEMENT

1. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

ADVERTISEMENT

Cloaked in verdant foliage, the Tunnel of Love in Ukraine is a deeply intimate locale that inspires romantic moods and gestures. The tunnel is part of a four-mile railway line beginning at the settlement of Klevan and is a favorite with canoodling couples. Legend says that those who follow it will be granted a wish.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT