Nada Tunnel is a historic 900-foot (270 m) long tunnel along Kentucky Route 77 in Powell County, Kentucky, in the United States. Formerly a railway tunnel, the presently paved tunnel has often been described as the "Gateway to Red River Gorge" for the shortcut it provides motorists to the Red River Gorge canyons of the Daniel Boone National Forest.Add Nada Tunnel to your Stanton travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Stanton itinerary planning tool.
Built for the Dana Lumber Company between 1910 and 1911, Nada Tunnel (pronounced nay-duh by locals) was named from Nada, Kentucky, then a logging town about 10 miles (16 km) past the tunnel's entrance. Solid limestone was blasted with dynamite and dug out with steam machinery and hand tools, with two teams working from each side of the ridge.
The tunnel's original dimensions were 12 by 12 feet (3.7 m × 3.7 m), but when the first train load of logs became stuck and had to be blasted free, the tunnel's height was increased to 13 feet (4.0 m). Narrow gauge steam locomotives of the Big Woods, Red River & Lombard Railroad regularly hauled timber extracted from the vast forests of the Red River Valley through the tunnel, to a sawmill 15 miles (24 km) away in Clay City.
Once the forests had been cleared, the timber companies pulled out of the area. The railroad tracks were removed and a dirt road was laid in the unlit tunnel in order to accommodate horse and pedestrian traffic. Nada Tunnel has since been paved to carry a single lane of road traffic.
Nada Tunnel lends its name to two prehistoric Native American rock art sites, namely "Nada Tunnel 1 Petroglyphs" and "Nada Tunnel 2", which were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Nada Tunnel reviews
12' wide x 12' tall tunnel. Definitely worth going through. I was hesitant due to the one-way lane and review of folks having to back out, but so glad we did it. We went early in the morning (9 AM... more »
Just wish we could’ve went at night! Great drive through there!! Stop at Red River Adventures for a great kayak trip! more »
I think of it as the " Gateway to the Gorge ", as this is the first historical landmark you will encounter going into the Red River Gorge area. This tunnel was dug through the mountain before the advent of heavy machinery and had to be dug out by men with picks and shovels, by hand. Just walking, carefully, up to it and looking at how far it is and how hard that must have been is simply amazing to me. It is most definitely a wondrous sight to see and drive through!!!!! GO AND ENJOY!!!!
Always enjoy stopping at the Nada Tunnel. The history of the Tunnel is very cool and just a neat "formation". I do wish the jacka**es who fly through would slow down as it is a tourist and photo destination. Highly recommend to stop if your in the Red River Gorge area!
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