Friday, June 29, 2012

Backbone Rock Tunnel

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. 
--John Quinton

Here's the 'World's Shortest Tunnel' through Backbone Rock on Hwy 133 between Shady Valley, TN and Damascus, VA.  It was constructed in 1901 for hauling timber from Tennessee to a nearby saw mill outside of Damascus. Unable to go around the 75' high, 20' wide wall of rock, they decided to blast their way through. Check out these early photos of the tunnel. Today there is a short trail which takes you up to the top of Backbone Rock, and another trail that takes you to a nearby waterfall, Backbone Falls.  This area is popular with motorcycle enthusiasts as part of "The Snake" (map here) -- and also with repellers.


  1. How have I managed to miss this my entire life. Thank you so much for posting. Lovely photo as well as a striking location.

  2. I was amazed when I went in Dec of 2015. A friend who had passed away had told me about it. He loved going there, and that is where I said my farewells. I love it up there and plan on going back.


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