After 20 years of work, The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, is open. The tunnel itself was once part of a historic railroad built during the 1850s. The trail is 2.25 miles in length, and the trip through the tunnel is about a mile long.
The tunnel itself is a part of a greenway system connecting three counties. Hikers, bikers, railroad enthusiasts, and history buffs will be amazed at the trailway through the restored tunnel. Visitors from all over the country can jog, walk, or bike while admiring the raw, exposed rock, brick walls and ceiling. There’s another surprising twist to this attraction — those who enter must bring flashlights and headlamps. That’s right — the tunnel isn’t lit! What’s more, there are plenty of activities so you can pack a whole day full of fun experiences before or after visiting the tunnel.
The Blue Ridge Tunnel was constructed between 1850 and 1858 beneath Rockfish Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains of central Virginia. CSX Transportation generously donated the tunnel to Nelson County in 2007.
The tunnel is located at the convergence of the southern entrance of Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, the northern entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and U. S. Bicycle Route 76. Both Interstate 64 and U. S. 250 cross over the tunnel at Rockfish Gap.
Traveling through the long, dark tunnel will be a stirring experience for a variety of visitors from across the Commonwealth and beyond: hikers and cyclists of every level, wildlife watchers, history enthusiasts, railroad buffs, heritage tourists, school children on field trips, and nearby residents. This project brings an abandoned and increasingly vandalized resource back to life for a new generation.