Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blue Ridge Tunnel

I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about this place. The internet doesn't provide any clear direction on how to get there, so that's what I can offer. Completed in 1856, it was an engineering marvel in its day and still is considering it was dug without dynamite. (wiki)

To get to the Waynesboro entrance, park alongside 250 at the train bridge overpass between Rockfish Gap and Waynesboro. (We parked just beyond the guardrail on the Waynesboro side. It seems a little sketchy but there was another car there when we left.) There is a dirt road next to the overpass that leads up toward the tunnel. It's on the Waynesboro side of the bridge on the southern side of the road. It quickly leads up to the tracks. Cross there and then pick up the trail on the other side. Follow it until you get to the tunnel. About a 100 feet from the entrance you'll feel cold air.
We didn't bring flashlights. That's an adventure for another day.

This masonic symbol festoons a drainage culvert along the dirt road just off 250.

The other end of the tunnel is simpler to access. From Waynesboro, head back over the mountain on 250. Take a right on 6 toward Afton. Take a right on Afton Depot Lane before the tracks. Pass the old train station on the left, now an attorney's office. Take the road to the end where there's a spot to park. Follow the dirt road/path to the other end of the tunnel.

This side of the tunnel is hewed granite, whereas the other has the stonework. With all the recent rain, standing water filled the entrance.

Seeing this historic site is definitely worth the quarter mile hike to each entrance. More history and what is planned for the tunnel in the future.

Here's a post with pictures by a better prepared, flashlight toting visitor.


Anonymous said...

I happened across the tunnel on a trip to Shenandoah National Park in April. What a cool find! It's also amazingly inaccessible, relatively speaking. Thanks for posting the pictures and information!

Anonymous said...

I take it that you cross the existing tracks, then follow them to the old tunnel? I have been to the Afton side a few times, but have failed to find the Waynesboro side.

Unknown said...

The trail to the Waynesboro side is no longer accessible.. is there landmarks we can follow to show where the trail is supposed to be??

cogwheeler said...

I haven't been in a while. I'll post update when I get over there again.