A particularly brutal winter storm brought the tree down on Sunday at 2pm local time. It completely "shattered" upon hitting the ground, park volunteer Jim Allday told SFGate. Visitors had hiked through the tree just earlier that day. It was one of the most popular attractions in Calaveras Big Trees, and while cars were prohibited from driving through it in recent years, that didn't stop hikers from walking through it, carving their names for posterity, and wrangling their screaming kids for some cute photos.
"This iconic and still living tree -- the tunnel tree -- enchanted many visitors," the Calaveras Big Tree Association wrote in a Facebook post. "The storm was just too much for it."