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 the 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.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/

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.

Address: Fairview Bridge & Cartwright Tunnel Trail, North Dakota, USA