Glady Tunnel - Atlas Obscura

Glady Tunnel

Bowden, West Virginia

A 1,000-foot-long railroad tunnel under Shavers Fork connected the towns during West Virginia's logging boom until its closure in 1985. 


Amidst the “Forgotten Towns” of West Virginia’s railroad boom, a place of serene beauty and eerie charm emerges. With its thousand-foot shaft hidden beneath the Shavers Fork Mountain, the Glady Tunnel is a sight to behold. Once a bustling hub that connected numerous communities, it now lies in the embrace of the Monongahela National Forest, overgrown with moss and filled with water.

The Glady Tunnel’s story begins in 1899 when the West Virginia Central & Pittsburg Railway (WVC&P) embarked on a monumental project. They created the Coal & Iron Line, a track that would connect the thriving town of Elkins to Durbin and extend all the way to the rail yards in Lewisburg, West Virginia. This line, which later became part of the Western Maryland Thomas Subdivision Line in 1905 and the Chesapeake & Ohio in 1973, played a crucial role in the region’s railroad history and connected many isolated mountain towns with the wider world.

Like many other railroad lines in the region, the Glady Tunnel fell victim to the decline of industries such as logging, coal, and tanning in the latter half of the 20th century. This decline, which led to the tunnel’s abandonment in 1985, marked a significant shift in the region’s economic landscape. Despite attempts by the Forest Service to restore the tunnel for pedestrian use, concerns over its stability forced planners to halt the West Fork Rail Trail a mile south of Glady.

Despite the region’s decline in industry, the former railroad towns now located in the Monongahela National Forest have pivoted towards sustainable recreation tourism and cooperative ventures such as the Mon Forest Towns Partnership to share the region’s amazing natural beauty and rich history.

Know Before You Go

The Glady Tunnel is a unique spot that is only accessible by pedestrians on a bike or by foot. For your safety, we strongly discourage entering the tunnel.

While the Glady Tunnel is owned by the USDA Forest Service Monongahela National Forest, the surrounding properties are privately owned. Please treat the local residents and this historic location with the respect they deserve.

Please note that there is no cell service at the site, and the access roads to Glady are unpaved. We recommend planning your visit accordingly.

Visitors can ride the 24-mile West Fork Rail Trail to the site from Durbin, West Virginia, or park in the West Fork Rail Trail parking lot in Glady. The Glady tunnel is located approximately one mile north of the parking area along the tracks of the former rail line.

Community Contributors
Added by

March 29, 2024

Make an Edit Add Photos
In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web