Blue Ridge Tunnel
Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail, East Trailhead, Afton Depot Lane, Afton, VA, USA
hike, outdoor-adventures, run
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Enjoy this one-of-a-kind hike, The Blue Ridge Tunnel, and make a special memory!
The Blue Ridge Tunnel hike remains one of our family's most beloved memories. Walking through a dark tunnel seems very daunting with young children, but it truly was special and fun, and we all enjoyed it! There are two options for parking on either side of the trail. We parked at the East Trailhead because it is slightly closer to the tunnel (0.6 miles versus 0.8 miles). Pack anti-nausea medicine if your little ones get carsick because the roads to get to the parking lot are very hilly and winding.
The path from the parking lot to the tunnel is paved, and there are some signs about the history of the former train tunnel. It was built in the 1800s by Claudius Crozet. In 1858 it was the longest railroad tunnel in North America! I love that this outing could be interesting for history buffs, recreation enthusiasts, and families in general. There is a little bit of water for children to touch right before the tunnel - it's just falling out of the tunnel a bit. Before walking through the tunnel, you must put on headlamps and/or utilize flashlights because it is completely dark inside the tunnel. While this hike is completely stroller-friendly, keep in mind that this will be quite scary if your child is fearful of the dark.
Inside the tunnel, it's cold, so wear layers. My kids ended up taking off their sweatshirts, but they appreciated them at the start of the walk. We ended up walking three miles, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. There are portapotties near the parking lot. While there were no picnic tables, we took a snack and water break at the end of the tunnel before turning around. You can sit here, out of the path, and refresh before heading back. After our hike, we headed to nearby Pen Park for more outdoor fun!