Day 64: The World’s Shortest Tunnel


time of year

We went to the White Moon Coffee Shop, Sylva, NC for fresh made (still warm in their baking tin) real blueberry and lemon/blueberry muffins and a hot Macha Latte. The best muffins I’ve ever had. We think their slogan should be “there’s no such thing as just one bite”.


Elizabethton Covered Bridge, Elizabethton, TN. In 1772, four years before the Declaration of Independence, settlers in the Watauga Valley adopted the”Articles Of The Watauga Association,” possibly the first written constitution in North America. John Carter served as the first chairman not only of the association but also of the Watauga Court this judicial body, probably the first English speaking court west of the Alleghenies, met at this site under this tree.


Blue Hole Falls, Elizabethton, TN (0.4 total out and back, 85’ elevation).

This place is so gorgeous!! A 4 tier waterfall with beautiful, emerald water pool. Very short but steep hike with some large wooden platform steps. The rocks are exceptionally slippery, please use caution.


difficulty: 2

We stopped at Cross Mountain Hike (AT), Shady Valley, TN. There were some beautiful fields with views of the surrounding countryside and a barn with an iconic AT on the side.


difficulty: 2

We stopped at Backbone Rock, known locally as the World’s Shortest Tunnel, Shady Valley, TN. The tunnel is only 20’ long, through a ridge on rock. It was built by a logging company so they could get their trains through. There is now a trail leading up to and along the almost 80’ high ridge. If you go across the road there’s a 0.3 mile loop, 147’ elevation that takes you to see the 45’ high Backbone Falls. The recent rain really made the falls pop.


difficulty: 4

We drove about 10 minutes to Damascus, VA to check into Brinkwaters. Such a unique place, I think it was once been an office building and converted into a hotel. My only complaint is that there was old water in our coffeemaker so we didn’t feel comfortable using it to make our morning coffee the next day.

Price: $140/night


We went for a walk around town. Quite a few well known trails intersect within Damascus town limits including the AT, the Iron Mountain Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail, giving it the nickname of “Trail Town USA”. The town has a few stores and eateries and a ton of boutique hotels, hotels and B&Bs.


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