After our trip on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad I had one last adventure I wanted to undertake. I had read about the “Road to Nowhere” which starts in Bryson City, and I wanted to find it. Turns out that it was easier to find than I thought, so we were able to explore it.
First a bit of history…
In 1943 the Tennessee Valley Authority began work on the Fontana Dam. 1,300 families were displaced by inundation of the the rising Little Tennessee River. In part to appease the displaced families, the TVA promised to build the 32 mile long North Shore Road so that the families had access to the 28 cemeteries on the north side of the lake.
By 1969 only six miles of the North Shore Road had been completed, including a bridge over Nolan Creek and a tunnel through what’s now known as Tunnel Ridge. An environmental study indicated major damage to the fragile Appalachian cove ecosystem if construction continued, so it was halted – completely. Pavement ends just on the other side of the bridge.