menu search

Most People Have No Idea This Unique Tunnel In North Dakota Exists

North Dakota has never had much of a need for tunnels. Most of the land can be traversed by simply going along the surface, so not often do roads or rails go through or under land. In fact, there is only one complete tunnel in North Dakota. This tunnel is near Cartwright, a small town on the very western edge of the state just miles from Montana.

The tunnel is connected to a lift bridge that goes over the Yellowstone River known as the Fairview Bridge, named after the next closest town, Fairview, Montana. Cartwright gets the claim of the tunnel’s name – the Cartwright Tunnel. Both were originally built in 1913 but neither are used today. The long tunnel is completely empty, nary a track in sight, and not a single train ever went through it.

Today, both bridge and tunnel are closed to all but foot traffic. People are allowed to walk across the lift bridge and also through the tunnel but most skip the latter. There are no lights in the tunnel and it is nearly pitch black at some points, warding most people off.

You can see the tunnel up close in this video that takes the trail across the bridge to it. To skip to the tunnel, go to about 10:00.

The Cartwright Tunnel is definitely an interesting part of North Dakota that most people have never even heard of. Did you know about it? You might also not have heard of North Dakota’s only waterfall; yes, believe it or not, there is a waterfall in this state – and only one, just like this tunnel. If you haven’t, you should check it out here. It’s another one of those fascinating hidden gems of the Peace Garden State.

Leah
Crazy old cat lady in training, includes enthusiasm for knitted sweaters. Farm livin', film lovin', pasta cookin', graphic artist and writer from the good ol' midwest!