Thursday, October 22, 2015

Old NC288

As a continuation of a previous post showcasing the Road and Tunnel to Nowhere, I now show you the western end of the Road to Nowhere.

When Fontana Dam was constructed, NC288 was submerged as the reservoir filled. Much of the old road ran alongside the small river that Fontana Dam brought under control. But some of the road was on higher ground.  A plan to replace the road fell through, and only short parts of the replacement road were built, hence the "Road to Nowhere" and "Tunnel to Nowhere".

Most of NC288 was a rugged single lane dirt road, winding around the mountains with no guardrails. If oncoming traffic came from the other way, one may have to reverse for a mile or more until the road widened enough to allow the two cars to pass each other. There were many foolish attempts at passing on the one lane sections, resulting in a high number of crashes. Hike several miles along this rugged trail into the mountains to discover what remains from over 60 years ago.

Old NC288

This vehicle rolled off the edge, coming to rest sideways against a tree. Intentional, or accidental?

Off the Edge


Left Behind

Extreme Growth

A very large tree now grows through what was once the engine of this vehicle.

Decades of Neglect

Rear End

Wishing for Older Times

How are You?

The hike begins at Fontana Dam. The view from atop the dam.

Fontana Dam View

If you look up, you may spot a glider.


Another interesting tidbit from the trip... Another dam downstream from Fontana is undergoing repairs for a leak. To do this, the lake had to be drained. What was revealed when the lake was pulled down is quite a sight. The old road that was flooded by the lake after the dam was built is still visible and intact. The hundred year old bridge looks like it would still support traffic! The remains of an old railroad bridge can be seen as well, from the days when trains were needed to ferry supplies for dam construction.

Empty Lake



  1. Cool! I worked up at Fontana Dam and did not know about the old road. I see where you took the picture of the old road and railroad bridge is the start of the Dragon's Tail on Highway 129, you were in some very pretty country.

    1. It is good to learn about the history of places that I visit!