Tunnel Heights

Sunlight illuminates the far end of a stone tunnel on the parkway. Red and yellow fall foliage surrounds the tunnel entrance.
Ferrin Knob No. 3 is one of 25 tunnels located along the North Carolina section of the Parkway.

Steven Freedman photo

 

Tunnels Along the Parkway

Tunnels are an iconic feature of the parkway. In fact, 36% of all road tunnels found in national parks across the United States are found here on the parkway. There are 25 tunnels in North Carolina and one in Virginia. These tunnels are listed below by milepost, length, maximum height (over the center of the road), and minimum height (over the edge of the road). When entering parkway tunnels, do so slowly and cautiously. Be aware of the following safety precautions when entering and traveling through parkway tunnels.

Low Clearance
Many, but not all, of the parkway tunnels have a minimum vertical clearance of 14 feet 0 inches at the edgeline striping. If you are driving a large vehicle, know the height of it to be certain your vehicle will have enough clearance to travel through the tunnel safely while staying in your lane. Please note that it is illegal—and extremely dangerous—to cross the center dividing line of the highway. Please detour around parkway sections if the minimum tunnel height listed does not provide enough clearance for your vehicle. Download a parkway map for alternate routes.

Tunnel Lighting
Be advised parkway tunnels do not have lights inside them. Given the length and curved alignment of many of the tunnels, natural light may not be sufficient to see obstacles inside the tunnels. When entering the tunnels and traveling from light (outside the tunnel) to dark (inside the tunnel) there will be a delay in the drivers’ eyes to adjust to the reduced lighting. It is important to enter the tunnels cautiously to allow for this lighting adjustment in case there are obstacles in the roadway. Ensure your low beam headlights are on to assist oncoming traffic in seeing you.


Bicyclists
The parkway is open to bicyclists. While bicyclists are required to be visible with lights, reflectors, and high visibility clothing, vehicles still need to be aware of them, especially when traveling through parkway tunnels. Treat bicyclists as if they were vehicles. Please be aware that you may encounter bicyclists inside tunnels but they may be very difficult to see. Do not pass bicyclists inside of tunnels!

.

Milepost

Name

Length

Tunnel Height at Edgeline

Tunnel Height at Centerline

53.1

Bluff Mountain

630 feet

13 feet 1 in

18 feet 6 inches

333.1

Little Switzerland

575 feet

14 feet 3 in

19 feet 2 inches

336.8

Wildacres

350 feet

13 feet 5 in

19 feet 1 inch

344.5

Twin Tunnel (North)

350 feet

13 feet 10 inches

19 feet 0 inches

344.7

Twin Tunnel (South)

407 feet

14 feet 6 in

18 feet 11 inches

349.0

Rough Ridge

182 feet

13 feet 8 inches

18 feet 11 inches

364.4

Craggy Pinnacle

246 feet

13 feet 0 inches

18 feet 10 inches

365.5

Craggy Flats

403 feet

14 feet 4 inches

18 feet 7 inches

374.4

Tanbark Ridge

843 feet

14 feet 3 inches

19 feet 1 inches

397.1

Grassy Knob

802 feet

14 feet 3 inches

18 feet 6 inches

399.1

Pine Mountain

1462 feet

14 feet 3 inches

18 feet 8 inches

400.9

Ferrin Knob #1

605 feet

13 feet 6 inches

18 feet 8 inches

401.3

Ferrin Knob #2

457 feet

13 feet 9 inches

18 feet 8 inches

401.5

Ferrin Knob #3

402 feet

13 feet 10 inches

18 feet 10 inches

403.0

Young Pisgah Ridge

418 feet

14 feet 2 inches

18 feet 10 inches

404.0

Fork Mountain

392 feet

14 feet 2 inchs

18 feet 7 inches

406.9

Little Pisgah Ridge

583 feet

13 feet 4 inches

18 feet 9 inches

407.3

Buck Spring

468 feet

13 feet 2 inches

18 feet 5 inches

410.1

Frying Pan

582 feet

13 feet 6 inches

19 feet 0 inches

422.1

Devil's Courthouse

721 feet

14 feet 2 inches

18 feet 8 inches

439.7

Pinnacle Ridge

859 feet

13 feet 7 inches

18 feet 7 inches

458.8

Lickstone Ridge

406 feet

11 feet 8 inches

17 feet 7 inches

459.3

Bunches Bald

290 feet

12 feet 3 inches

18 feet 0 inches

461.2

Big Witch

353 feet

11 feet 7 inches

18 feet 0 inches

465.6

Rattlesnake Mountain

415 feet

14 feet 8 inches

19 feet 3 inches

466.2

Sherrill Cove

590 feet

13 feet 11 inches

19 feet 1 inches

 
Looking out of a tunnel on the parkway. The sides of the tunnel frame a view of a mountain in the distance and trees cloaked in fall colors lining the roadway.
The shortest tunnel along the Parkway, at Rough Ridge (MP 349) is just 182 feet long.

Peter Hamel photo

Last updated: June 28, 2021

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Mailing Address:

199 Hemphill Knob Rd
Asheville, NC 28803

Phone:

(828) 348-3400

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