Braswell Mountain Rail Tunnel – Rockmart, Georgia - Atlas Obscura
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Rockmart, Georgia

Braswell Mountain Rail Tunnel

An abandoned railroad tunnel forgotten by time awaits inquisitive hikers. 

An abandoned 19th-century railroad tunnel hides near an old dirt road. Largely forgotten, it awaits hikers willing to slog through muddy trails littered with decaying leaves.

The tunnel was opened in 1882 on a now-shuttered section of the Southern Railway (formerly the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad) near Braswell, Georgia. After nearly a century of use, it was abandoned in 1980 when the railroad was rerouted.

Since trains stopped chugging through the tunnel, it has been left to nature. Silence, broken only by the wind or the occasional human visitor, replaced the locomotives’ loud rumbles. Nearly 10 feet of mud and silt has piled up near the west entrance, cloaking parts of its exterior beneath blankets of earthy debris. Old tires and other junk clutter the east end, having arrived as people tossed their refuse down the nearby hill.

It’s still possible to venture inside the dark, cavernous space. Its brick interior contains little enclaves, meant to save any pedestrians caught inside while a train thundered through. The roof is stained black, tainted from years of the trains’ coal-fired soot that saturated the air. Even the tracks appear to disappeared, likely trapped under layers of dirt.

The place is almost eerie and spooky. Many rumors and ghost stories abound regarding things that have happened here over the years.

Know Before You Go

The least strenuous hike to see the tunnel involves parking along side the modern rail track crossing at the bottom of the hill and hiking in along the mostly flat, but muddy and wet and somewhat overgrown eastern approach. There is a small area where a couple of cars can park at the crossing.

Hiking in will be very muddy and wet most times of the year so wear some mud boots. Bring a flashlight. The hike is only about 1/4 of a mile long and is pretty obvious given the terrain and steep hills on either side.

If you have a 4x4, and don't mind getting it scratched up, there are a couple of old trails at the top of the hill that lead down to the western side of the tunnel. Tire tracks indicate that people have driven down to the Western entrance and through the tunnel before. This is not generally recommended as current access to the tunnel is dependent on being discrete and not disturbing the neighbors that live in the area.