A dead tree decorated with various footwear along U.S. 97 north of Shaniko, Ore. Photo by Bryan Dorr.

A roadside shoe tree

By Bryan Dorr

SHANIKO, Ore. – If your closet is full of shoes, buy yourself the “shoe tree!”

Although the “shoe tree” may not be its official name, this bizarre looking, shoe-decorated dead tree stands just ten yards from U.S. 97 highway shoulder, exactly at milepost 53 just north of Shaniko.

Many of the shoes are tied together with the laces and then hung onto the limbs or the branches. Cowboy boots, however lack laces, are propped on a short limb.

The exotic or the kinky varieties of footwear were not seen hanging from the tree. That not to say they ever were either.

There are answers to the questions that may still remain a mystery. Who is hanging the shoes onto the tree and why? When did the “tree decorating” occur or is it over a period of time? Was it the locals or the travelers, or both, hanging the footwear?

The “shoe tree” stands along the side of the northbound shoulder. There is a large pullout along the shoulder where the tree stands.

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Effie says ... on Saturday, Jul 12 at 3:28 PM

Bear there is a "new" one just north of mile marker 53, it only has a few pair of shoes tho :(. I just put my shoes on it the first of July 2014

bear says ... on Friday, May 4 at 7:13 PM

Been trying to find this tree for a long time with no luck.there is a shoe tree just south of the 80 mile marker on the 97.i even used the pull out at mile marker 53 today with no luck.i will keep looking

Grandpa Don says ... on Thursday, Sep 23 at 6:04 AM

Kellie said: Are there shoe trees in Heaven?!....... I certainly hope so....

Kellie says ... on Friday, Sep 3 at 12:08 PM

I sent my sister a picture of me by the tree in 2007. We LOVE shoes! I told her there is an actual tree in Oregon that grows them! I came across the picture the other day. My sis died of cancer in March of 2007. Are there shoe trees in Heaven?!

Grandpa Don says ... on Sunday, Aug 22 at 5:29 AM

That's what we figured...thanks Mike.. We have been driving past the shoe tree for a long while.. Trips from La Pine to Yakima.... Our old stomping grounds We all rather enjoyed looking for the tree... It will be missed.

Mike says ... on Thursday, Aug 19 at 11:49 AM

Arson in late February took the tree down. So sorry that someone couldn't celebrate life with the rest of us.

Grandpa Don says ... on Sunday, Jun 13 at 6:51 AM

Why was the shoe tree burned & cut down.?? anyone know

shmoo says ... on Sunday, Mar 14 at 11:49 AM

I can't believe it is cut down!!! We just drove past and was very dissappointed!!

Badman says ... on Saturday, Feb 20 at 2:12 PM

The shoe tree is cut down and burned...what are we gonna do?

Shawnna S says ... on Sunday, Jan 17 at 7:22 PM

My friend and I were just out there yesterday and thid tree is now FULL of shoes. When we drove by I saw it out of the corner of my eye and laughed! It's awesome!

Lana Suzy Q says ... on Thursday, Sep 10 at 8:44 PM

This tree is awsome. I thought I was seeing thing!! I would like to know its history.

Pamela says ... on Monday, Sep 7 at 12:03 AM

saw the tree last wk end...alive and loaded! Posted a picture of the tree on my facebook page. Now I have read that there are allot of the shoe trees all across america! FUN!

Deanna and wayne says ... on Monday, Jun 29 at 3:41 PM

we drove by it yesterday there is way mre shoes now then 5 months ago!!!

michele,george&dave says ... on Saturday, Apr 18 at 7:33 PM

as we approached and were wondering "what's up with that tree"? I said "pull over!, pull over!" I knew it was a camera momment! we missed it in the way from idaho to prineville because of the snow, but saw it on the way home a couple of days ago!!

Myra & Laura says ... on Thursday, Mar 26 at 12:27 PM

Tree of Lost Souls

Just Tammy says ... on Friday, Mar 20 at 1:20 PM

I believe it started as a way to give all of the birds in the area a place to make a nest. With the boots I know they make nests inside near the toe.

Dave & Lavon says ... on Friday, Feb 6 at 12:34 PM

We just drove by the "Shoe Tree" yesterday from CA on our way to visit family in Kennewick WA. N. Hwy 97 is a long drive with little scenery along the way. We saw it and we had to pull over and take photos. It was really cool!

JJ says ... on Wednesday, Oct 22 at 2:21 PM

I drive past it twice a year... it has alot more shoes on it now... and its bigger!

Tom & Michone says ... on Tuesday, Sep 30 at 10:02 AM

We were just here yesterday traveling home from California and saw this bizarre tree. Actually it was the second one we saw on our trip. We also saw one on US 395 between Lee Vining, Ca and Minden, NV. Had to come home and google it. What is it?

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