Abandoned Boulder, Montana Railroad Tunnel Transforms Into Winter Ice Cave
Photo Credit: Caitlin Laurel Willson
Montana is full of a lot of really cool places. Some roadside attractions in the state are easily accessible, but many are off the beaten path are harder to find.
The Wickes Tunnel near Boulder is definitely one of those places. A couple of years ago, I visited the abandoned Wickes Tunnel and actually drove through it during the summer. During the winter, the tunnel completely changes. Large ice columns form within the tunnel making it impossible to drive through.
According to the Ghost Towns and History of Montana Facebook page, the tunnel is also referred to as the Amazing Amazon Railroad Tunnel or the Boulder Tunnel.
In 1887, construction on the tunnel began. Crews worked from both ends. The north end was called Portal and the south end Amazon. When the tunnel was built, it was the longest railroad tunnel in Montana at 6,145 feet. The first train rolled through the tunnel on October 24, 1888.
The large wooden doors were added at each end and kept closed in winter to keep snowdrifts out and the warm air in. These doors had to be opened every time a train passed through and needed to be closed afterward.
Recently, Montana resident Caitlin Willson visited the tunnel and took some amazing pictures of what it looks like during the winter. We would like to thank her for giving us permission to share them.
If you'd like to visit the Wickes Tunnel, take I-15 to the Jefferson City exit. From there, follow Corbin Road to Wickes Road. Drive through the houses in Wickes and follow the forest service road until you get to the tunnel.
Take a look, here, at more exploration of the tunnel during non-winter months.