From Waynesboro, VA to the Blue Ridge Tunnel

June 02, 2021
Stories, Outdoors

Ideally located just four miles from Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and one of only two urban trout fisheries in Virginia, Waynesboro is divinely placed among the adventure. Now, warm weather is here, and it’s time to disconnect from the screens and get outside to reconnect with what’s meaningful in life. The Waynesboro area is packed with adventures guaranteed to help you live in the moment. In fact, a brand new hiking trail opened to the public last year, after a nearly 20-year long restoration project: The Blue Ridge Tunnel. Dubbed the #CoolestHikeInVA, this trail is about as unique as it gets. With its alluring history and ease of access, everyone in your family will find something to love about this trail. And we know all of those outdoor adventures will leave you starving, so head to our Dining page to find some foodie hotspots to tame your hunger and fuel up for your next excursion. It’s time to work up an appetite in Waynesboro!

 

 

This engineering marvel was originally built in the 1850s as a railroad tunnel through Afton Mountain – the longest railroad tunnel in the world at the time. It was designed and built by French engineer Claudius Crozet, with a lot of help from local slave labor and Irish immigrants. After eight years of construction, trains first began utilizing the Tunnel in 1858, and it continued to serve rail traffic until WWII, when it was replaced by a larger tunnel.

 

Now, 75 years later, the Tunnel is open again and accepting a different kind of traffic – on foot and bicycles. There are two entrances to the tunnel, the western trailhead is located just outside of Waynesboro and the eastern trailhead is in the town of Afton. The hike from the Waynesboro parking lot to the Tunnel portal is 0.81 miles and pretty steep, so use caution if you venture from that side. There are about 20 regular parking spots and 2 bus spots in the Waynesboro parking lot. From the Afton parking lot to the Tunnel portal is 0.63 miles and fully ADA accessible. There are 56 parking spots in the Afton parking lot.

 

The Tunnel is located over 500 feet beneath the ridge at Rockfish Gap, so it stays about 50 degrees F year-round. During the restoration process, no artificial lighting was installed, so it is completely dark inside. You’ll need to bring a good flashlight or wear a headlamp while you explore.

 

Now enjoy the sights and sounds of the Blue Ridge Tunnel.