An Old Logging Railroad and a Yankee Horse

The weather is growing colder, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you’re trapped indoors until the first signs of spring. Gather up your gloves, hats, and scarves, and brave the chilly beauty of the natural world. As you can imagine, the Blue Ridge Parkways is steeped in rich history, and one particular area with physical evidence of the past is the Old Logging Railroad Overlook near Yankee Horse Ridge at Milepost 35. As the legend goes, Yankee Horse is the spot where a Union soldier’s horse fell and had to be put down. (It’s not exactly the most enthralling of legends, but it’s still interesting nonetheless.) Further interest can be found in the Old Logging Railroad. Construction on the railroad began in 1918 and was completed in 1920, with the entirety of the railroad at 50 miles. As you can probably guess by the name of the track, it was built to haul lumber during the pre-parkway logging days, and it used to be known as the Irish Creek Railway. In a document from 1918, one individual reported, “At present, however, a logging railroad is being built up Irish Creek to a point near Irish Creek post-office, and this would make transportation somewhat easier” (Henry G. Ferguson). Click here if you’re interested in reading the entire document. Although the use of the railway for logging has long since been forgotten, it now makes for a beautiful complement to the surrounding scenery. If you’re staying at the Iris Inn and heading for a hike at Crabtree Falls, consider visiting Yankee Horse Ridge, as it’s only a short distance away.