Nada Tunnel

An interesting way to enter the Red River Gorge is through the 900-foot Nada Tunnel, located along KY 77 on Cumberland Ranger District.  This tunnel was built for use by a logging railroad during the early 1900s. The tunnel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tunnel is a one-way section of a two-way road, drivers must watch for the headlights of oncoming vehicles. It is 12-foot-wide by 13 feet high; so RVs, tour buses and other high vehicles should use extra caution.

Image of road and tunnel entrance with sun streaming through trees.

Gateway to Red River Gorge on the Cumberland Ranger District,  Nada Tunnel was constructed to haul logs from timber operations in the Red River Gorge. Construction of the narrow gauge railroad began in December 1910 and was completed in September 1911. Rock and dirt were removed by dynamite, steam drills and hand tools. One man was killed in an explosion when he set frozen dynamite near a fire to thaw.

Starting in 1912, 25-ton and 35-ton Climax locomotives hauled logs for about fifteen miles through the tunnel to the Clay City sawmill. The tunnel brought loggers into the gorge and served as a means to transport wood products.

Today the tunnel brings tourists into the gorge to enjoy and experience its natural wonders. The rugged appearance of the tunnel serves as a reminder of the work and labors of early settlers in the area. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nada Tunnel Workers