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Bryson City, North Carolina: Road to Nowhere

Promised in 1943 and still not finished. Monetary settlement reached with the government in 2010, but no one plans to remove the vestiges of a dream highway.

8899 New Fontana Rd, Bryson City, NC
Take US Hwy 74 to exit 67 (Bryson City Exit, turn right onto Veteran's Blvd. At the 1st light turn right onto Main St. To Next light turn Left onto Everett St. Go straight for about 6-7 miles. you will pass the Swain county High school and keep going until you go into the Great Smokey Mtns Nat'l Park and until you cross the bridge "Nolands Creek" up to the parking area next to the barricade. Walk 1/4 mile through the tunnel and to the end of the road.
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Visitor Tips and News About Road to Nowhere

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

The Road to Nowhere

My Dad and I came here together while staying in Bryson City. I will warn you, if you plan on going through the tunnel, bring a flashlight! We had nothing but the beams of our phones, which only cast the faintest light on the ground. That tunnel is dark, creepy, and much, much longer that it looks from the outside.

I would also suggest bringing a camera, as there are some stunning views on the curvy drive along the road. There are parking areas so you can stop to take pictures.

[Kaity P., 05/23/2015]

Tunnel to Nowhere.

Road to Nowhere

Our family visited the Road to Nowhere, and it is a strange experience. Out of the way, and a definite drive to get there (you don't find it by accident). You park your car, then walk down a deserted road. Walking through the tunnel was a bit nerve-wracking. You come out the other side and the road just disappears into the forest. It was very peaceful and beautiful -- so much so that it makes you relieved that the road wasn't finished and that the forest remains intact.

My boys and hubby hiked up the large hill to sit on top of the tunnel. Got some cool pics.

[Bonnie Cantrell, 01/25/2015]
Road to Nowhere

My wife and I checked this out on a recent trip. It was amazing to walk through a traffic tunnel, built about 40 years earlier, that has never seen a car, and is now deteriorating! It's feels like being a science fiction movie. The drive to the end of the road has some beautiful views of Fontana Lake.

Although this is presented as a "broken promise," that's a rather slanted view. While building the road, they ran into acidic minerals in the ground. Disturbing this would release acid and kill everything growing there and pollute the watershed. That's why they stopped building the road.

[Roger, 11/25/2012]

The Road to Nowhere.

The Road to Nowhere

Accidentally found "The Road to Nowhere" while I was visiting Bryson City. I have always heard about this road, however didn't really know where it was. It was cold and rainy as I was driving on this winding road... but it was still beautiful yet lonely. When I came to the end of the road, I got out of my car and walked a little ways up toward the tunnel. I turned around since I was by myself -- however I want to come back and explore this again soon. It is so sad that the Gov. did not keep its promise to the good citizens that was forced to leave. They should make this right!

[Lisa, 02/19/2012]

Road to Nowhere.

Road to Nowhere

Swain County and the Federal Government reached a money settlement. So, the road to nowhere will remain.

[Tom Taylor, 02/17/2012]

According to several news accounts, the legal settlement on the 1943 agreement to replace Hwy 288 finally occurred in early 2010. The National Park Service is paying Swain County $52 million over a ten year period (a fraction of what a replacement road today would cost). The Road to Nowhere will just exist as an infrastructure oddity...

Nearby Offbeat Places

Kayak RanchKayak Ranch, Bryson City, NC - 7 mi.
Clingmans DomeClingmans Dome, Bryson City, NC - 7 mi.
Warrior Motel: Big Indian SignWarrior Motel: Big Indian Sign, Bryson City, NC - 10 mi.
In the region:
Rock City Barn, Maryville, TN - 32 mi.

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