Sandy Ridge tunnel (the other one) – north portal

Finally!  Thanks to diligent map work by my hiking buddy, a way was found to get to this northern portal of the other Sandy Ridge tunnel.  It wasn’t easy. It was a bumpy drive down a long graveled road, across a strip mine, then down to the valley floor. After that, there was about 100′ to drop from the road to the last ledge before getting to the rail bed (the rails are long gone), then maybe 30′ of hanging from saplings and stretching to reach a foothold…from which I slipped and got my butt all muddy and wet (drove home sitting on a sheet of plastic…not the first time, either).  Then, there was a slog through mud and running water to get just close enough to the portal to take the picture below.  Not shown is the  cataract coming down the right-hand side of the mountain…lots and lots of water. 1958 is the date on the lintel.  Oh, and the climb back up the rock cut was even more fun.  But I got the picture.  Enjoy.  Later note: I went back to near the tunnel entrance (I wasn’t even going to get down into that cut again) to do a proper GPS reading (my Garmin had, for some unknown reason, reset to a weird map datum the last time).  Here it is: 37.037311, -82.189956.  Going on back down the road, we found a place where a side road joins the railbed, now a rather dicey road of its own.  The second picture is looking back toward the tunnel from the intersection.  You would have problems walking in to the tunnel from here because of the large growths of wild roses and the average annoying briars.  Back behind me, the road continues for maybe a half mile or so and ends at a strip mine. 

5 thoughts on “Sandy Ridge tunnel (the other one) – north portal

  1. Mike Hopson May 24, 2012 / 11:14 am

    Where is this? Is this on the old “Dumps Creek” line out of Carbon? Thanx! Enjoy your site immensely. Mike Hopson,

  2. Mike Hopson May 24, 2012 / 11:23 am

    Where is this? Is this on the old Dumps Creek line out of Carbon? Enjoy your site immensely. Mike Hopson

    • bobtricities2011 May 24, 2012 / 5:46 pm

      Yep, the old N&W line went up to around Duty. It came south through the tunnel, down along Dumps Creek (by the long-gone town of Wilder, where I think there was a yard) and on to Carbo, where it joined the main line. Thanks for checking out the site! bobl

      • Mike Hopson May 30, 2012 / 1:57 pm

        Thanx Bob! Dang auto-correct…..I meant Carbo! If my memory serves me correctly this was originally a CC&O line, because the old heads I used to work with at Dante told me about working the “Dumps creek Shifter”; a job that started at Dante and went down to Boody, went up the N&W via trackage rights to Carbo, and worked customers on the CC&O owned Dumps Creek branch. Jim Goforth told me before he died that this was the originally planned CC&O route through Sandy Ridge and construction actually began simultaneously with today’s route. It would have gone down Frying Pan creek to the Russell Fork and intersected today’s route through near Haysi. So interesting! Gosh, I’d love to accompany you guys on a trip sometime. Email me at: You might want to get some pics of Brush Creek tunnel over on the south end in NC. It’s planned to be daylighted in the future.

      • bobtricities2011 May 30, 2012 / 5:26 pm

        Great information, Mike! Thank you. We plan another trip over to North Carolina to get those tunnels on the loop and down to Marion in fall. We visited almost all of them in the winter, but my camera dropped down below its operating temperature and I lost 90% of the pix I took. Some of those tunnels are hard to get to!

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