The Linn Cove Viaduct and Tanawha Trail, NC

Visited the Blue Ridge Parkway on July 11, 2021. The day started with some clouds and fog on top of the mountain. It was humid but that didn’t deter us from enjoying our hike under the Blue Ridge Parkway viaduct on the Tanawha Trail. Tanawha is Cherokee for Eagle or Hawk. The visitor center was closed so we stopped at the first overlook past it and crossed the parkway to locate an entrance to the trail. We hiked through beautiful greenery decorating rock formations rising among rhododendron trees. The coolest part was hiking under the viaduct. We really enjoyed the portion of the trail we hiked, it was moderate and enjoyable. The trail itself extends 13.5 miles from Julian Price Park to Beacon Heights, parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain 

The viaduct was completed in 1983 amid controversy. A viaduct is defined on the NPS page as “elevated roadway sections carrying the road high above dry ravines or across the shoulders of mountains where extensive and aesthetically unpleasing fill sections would otherwise be required.” The Lin Cove viaduct is 1,243 feet long. The American Society of Civil Engineers designated it a National Civil Engineering Landmark. It was the last portion of the parkway to be completed at a cost of $10 Million. It is 1,243 feet long and contains 153 segments weighing 50 tons each. Damage to the environment was minimized by pre-casting segments of the viaduct indoors at a nearby site. The segments were lowered via a crane and epoxied onto their preceding parts. “The final section is not only a triumph of engineering and sensitivity to the environment; it is a joy to drive, safe but thrilling. Hugging the contours and Grandfather Mountain, the road gently curves and rolls, presenting motorists with magnificent views as it sweeps toward the sky.”

Reference: History of the Linn Cove Viaduct, The Tanawha Trail, The Linn Cove Viaduct via TanawhaTrail on AllTrails

Parkway scenery

Tanawha Trail

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