It emerges from the Etowah River like a watery black hole.
The craggy yawn in the rocks sits nearly four miles downstream of Dahlonega’s Castleberry Bridge where it often tempts brave paddlers into pressing their luck with a quarter-mile underground ride into the darkness.
It’s called the Etowah River Mine Tunnel. And, yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.
Local historian Chris Worick said the tunnel was originally created by enterprising miners looking to divert the water-flow and expose gold-rich sections of the river. Drilling on the tunnel began in 1883, but due to complications, the project wasn’t completed until the 1930s.
Though the get-rich scheme might not have worked as planned, the miners did succeed in creating an awesome Indiana Jones-worthy river-run.
Just ask the folks at American Whitewater.
“There’s virtually no light,” reads the site. “And the noise is intimidating, so hang on, stay seated and keep your limbs in the boat for a fun ride.”
Kerry Morris did just that last year, as he and few fellow adventure-seekers took to the waters with kayaks and a digital camera in tow.
Check out his white-water adventure here: (The Long Dark Tunnel begins at 4:05)
And, remember, don’t try this at home. Try it on the Etowah River instead! (But only if you’re an experienced paddler or have access to one.)
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