In the chapter Shelob's Lair, Tolkien describes Frodo and Sam's journey through the pass of Cirith Ungol. He tells us they don't know if 1, 2 or 3 hours have passed while travelling through the dark tunnel, I'm unsure if he was being dramatic or of the pass really was that large.

So just how long was the pass?

1 Answer 1


From the Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad, the entire tunnel section is estimated to be approximately twelve miles in length. Shelob herself seemed to reside towards the eastern end, according to the smaller diagram of the two shown below.

enter image description here

  • 3
    12 miles? Wow, that makes the journey seem even more oppressive!
    – Doctor Two
    Jun 7, 2017 at 19:56
  • 6
    That's a fast gun you got there!
    – Edlothiad
    Jun 7, 2017 at 19:59
  • 1
    @Edlothiad I have the atlas and I knew I'd seen this part of it before. Also, had the good fortune to see the question just after it had been posted :) Jun 7, 2017 at 20:06

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