Thomas Divide Tunnel
We found a new lost thing this weekend. Most folk will drive over it without even realizing it’s there.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was created in 1933 to provide jobs to young men who were skilled in masonry, engineering, architecture, landscaping, or simply hard work. They built hundreds of miles of roads and hiking trails, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, and more in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The CCC most commonly used stone to build the structures. Some of the most well-known structures they built are the original Oconaluftee Visitor Center, the tower at Mount Cammerer, and the four-arch Elkmont Bridge. However, some of the accomplishments of the CCC are less well known, like the secret tunnel under Clingmans Dome Road!
The Thomas Divide Tunnel is less than a mile west of the junction with Newfound Gap Road. When Clingmans Dome Road was finished in 1935, there was a trail that closely paralleled the upper section of Newfound Gap Road on the North Carolina side. It connected to the Appalachian Trail on the far side of Clingmans Dome Road. Instead of routing the trail to cross Clingmans Dome Road, the engineers chose to build the tunnel under the roadbed. This old hiker’s tunnel kept the hikers from having to cross over Clingmans Dome Road
We usually visit The Road To Nowhere and a tiny cemetery on Independence Day. The. We head over to Nantahala. This year we added in Clingmans Dome because we found this online. It’s harder and harder to find something we haven’t done that’s regular tourist stuff. Occasionally you have to dig a little deeper.
It’s not hard to find. Just after the turn onto Clingman’s Dome Road, there’s a pull-off to the right. Park there and make your way to the bridge and down along the side. Watch your step.
It’s a neat place to find, and you certainly won’t have to deal with many people. If I’m heading out to Clingman’s, I will visit again. Maybe take a little picnic lunch and sit at the end over the parkway.
I have many other vids and pics to download and edit from the last five or six days. At least I have material to post.
That’s it. That’s the post.