Utah April 28, 2018
The Longest Tunnel In Utah Has A Truly Fascinating Backstory
If you’ve ever been to Zion National Park, you’ve likely traveled through the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel. The tunnel is truly a feat of engineering, and it has a truly fascinating history.
Construction on the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel started in 1927 and was completed in 1930.
The tunnel cost $1,896,000 to build, and was the longest tunnel of its kind in the U.S. at the time.
The 1.1-mile-long tunnel made it possible for visitors to reach the park.
Prior to the tunnels construction, visitors had to travel along rough, dirt roads to get to Zion. The completion of the tunnel shortened the journey by 70 miles, and provides easy access to the east part of the park.
Working on the tunnel was dangerous.
The methods used to blast through the rock were those typically used in mining. Huge boulders had to be blasted with dynamite. Rock slides were common, and one man was killed when he was hit with a large boulder while he was working on the road below.
Galleries were incorporated into the tunnel during its construction.
During the excavation, large amounts of rock and dirt were dumped through these holes, an efficient way to dispose of the excess material.
Now, they provide ventilation and light in the tunnel, along with some spectacular views.
If you’re driving an RV, you may need a tunnel permit.
First, get your vehicle measured at the entrance. If your vehicle measures more than 7’10" wide or 11’4" tall, you’ll be required to purchase a tunnel permit for $15. You’ll be allowed to travel through the tunnel twice within seven days on your permit, and park rangers will stop two-way traffic when you proceed through the tunnel.
While driving through the tunnel, make sure to appreciate this magnificent gem, but obey the rules, too.
During summer months, the tunnel is very busy, and traffic can back up. Be patient, and don't try to turn around once you're past the tunnel kiosk. Don't stop in the tunnel, and keep an eye out for park rangers who may have special instructions, depending on traffic.
Zion National Park is Utah’s busiest park, and it’s actually the third most visited in the entire country.
Here are 10 reasons why.