The Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail

The Blue Ridge Tunnel is a 4,237 foot (0.8 mile) long tunnel that you can hike through beneath the Rockfish Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville, Virginia. The trail itself stretches slightly past the tunnel on both sides, making the length of the trail a grand total of 2.25 miles long. The outskirts of the trail take you past the old railway tracks as well as some gorgeous greenery. We saw several rabbits while walking on this trail to the tunnel, itself, and found a variety of flowers and honeysuckles.

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Michael in his mens sneakers and tracksuit

The History of the Blue Ridge Tunnel

Construction of the tunnel began in 1850 and went until 1858 as a part of the Blue Ridge Railroad construction. At the time of its completion, it was the longest tunnel in the United States. During the American Civil War, Stonewall Jackson would bring many of his men around the area on foot as a tactic to move quickly through the mountains to surprise the enemy. He notoriously used the Blue Ridge Tunnel to get his men around the mountains. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railways had their trains routed through the tunnel until it was abandoned and replaced by a new tunnel in 1944. The new tunnel was also called the Blue Ridge Tunnel.

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Malorie wearing her womens tracksuit

When train travel became less lucrative in Virginia, it was closed. In 2007, the tunnel was donated to Nelson County which turned it into a hiking trail. And I have to say, this is one of my favorite hiking trails in the world. You can’t find many other trails like it. Here’s why!

Hiking The Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by The Weird World Adventures of Malorie Mackey (@maloriesadventures)

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As you approach the cave, the construction of it on the outside of the mountain is, in itself, a beautiful sight to see. At the side of the main entrance on the South Eastern side of the trail, there’s a bit of flowing water that cascades down along the sides of the tunnel. As you enter the cave, it’s important to remember that the trail is a bit ridgy and uneven thanks to the dripping water, so be sure to watch your footing all the way through. The sides, specifically have pools of water covering them, so it’s important to stay near the middle of the trail as much as you can. And be prepared to get a little wet, as there is water dripping in the passages of the trail ever so slightly. Luckily, when we were on the trail, we were wearing our tracksuits and sneakers, as they are water resistant and allow you a comfortable hike even if there is a bit of splashing water. We love our hiking attire, as it’s always practical, comfortable, and stylish!

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When you start your walk into the interior of the cave, you’ll see the tiny light from the other side of the cave in the distance, and it looks like a very small ball. This is, quite literally, the light at the end of the tunnel. The more you continue in, the more it appears to be the same size and not get any bigger, which shows you just how long the tunnel really is. Because of that, you must bring a head lamp or powerful flashlight to see. The further you go into the cave, the more a bright light is essential to you being able to keep track of your footing. If you shut off your light source near the center of the cave, you feel as if you are consumed by darkness. The first time I visited this cave, I forgot to bring a light and had to rely on my phone flashlight which did not provide enough light to see. This time, with a headlamp, it truly made all the difference.

All in all, if you’re looking for an adventure through a historical tunnel that takes you through the eerie damp darkness, this hike is for you. It’s my favorite hike, as the explorer in me can’t get enough of the unique scenery. If you come from the South Eastern side of the trail, it’s quite an easy walk in and out. If you come through the North Western side, be prepared to walk down hill a bit to access the tunnel and up hill a bit to come back out.

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All in all, I can’t recommend this uniquely bizarre hike enough! It has history, mystery, and adventure!

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer. Malorie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she loved sports, the outdoors, animals, and all forms of art. She took to acting at a young age, so it was no surprise when she decided to go to college for theatre. While in college, Malorie studied body movement with the DAH Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia, voice in Herefordshire, England with Frankie Armstrong, and the business of theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Malorie moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles after receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Upon arriving in LA, Malorie participated in the Miss California USA 2011 Pageant where she won the “Friend’s Choice” Award (by popular vote) and received a beautiful award for it.

While living on the West Coast, Malorie accumulated over 40 acting credits working on a variety of television shows, web series, and indie films, such as the sci-fi movie “Dracano,” the Biography Channel show “My Haunted House,” the tv pilot “Model Citizen” with Angie Everhart, and the award-winning indie film “Amelia 2.0.”

Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show: “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book.

In 2022, Malorie was thrilled to become a member of the Explorer’s Club through her work on scientific travel. Her experiences volunteering on archaeological and anthropological expeditions as well as with animal conservation allowed her entry into the exclusive club. Since then, Malorie has focused more on scientific travel.

Malorie’s show “Weird World Adventures” releases on Amazon Prime Video in the Spring of 2024! Stay tuned as Malorie brings the strangest wonders of the world to you!

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