Natural Tunnel State Park
Duffield, VA

Park Size: 950 acres. The tunnel is 850 feet long and 100 feet high inside.

HISTORY:
Daniel Boone was probably among the first men of European descent to see the tunnel in that the tunnel lies along the original route he took westward. However, no one wrote of it until Lt. Col. Stephen H. Long explored the site in 1831 and published an article in a geology journal in 1832. The areas near the tunnel were mined for saltpeter during the Civil War. In 1890 the South Atlantic and Ohio Railroad arrived and, making use of the natural formation, laid tracks through the tunnel. In 1906 Southern Railway acquired the tracks and created a passenger line, the Natural Tunnel Line, which went through the tunnel. Large coal deposits were discovered in the area shortly thereafter, and although they no longer carry passengers, trains continue to this day to carry coal through Natural Tunnel.

THINGS TO DO:
Complex includes a 5,400-square-foot pool, a large bathhouse, and a snack bar in the concession building.

Hiking, mountain bike and self-guided trails - Natural Tunnel State Park has seven walking trails. The longest is 2.1 miles long. The trails lead to unique features of the park: the tunnel floor, Lover’s Leap, Tunnel Hill and Gorge Ridge. A 500-foot boardwalk and observation deck provide accessibility to guests with disabilities who may ride the chairlift, when operable, to the mouth of the tunnel. Most trails are open to mountain bikes.

The visitor center is open daily and provides with information on the park and its programs along with the surrounding area’s attractions. The facility has restrooms available for public use and a gift shop and exhibits on the history and geology of the park there.

The Wilderness Road Blockhouse and Visitor Center, an interpretive area next to the park's picnic area, illustrates the role the blockhouse played in the 1700s during westward expansion of the nation. Hours vary so please call the park for specific dates and times. The park lies along the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail driving tour

Weather and river conditions permitting, guided canoe trips of the Clinch River are offered on Saturdays and Sundays in season. Trips to Natural Tunnel via Stock Creek are offered throughout summer. Wild Cave Tours are available from April 1 through Oct. 31. Groups of eight or more may schedule tours at other times. Reservations are required for these programs - call the park at (276) 940-1643 to make a reservation or for more information. Guided wildflower walks are offered in mid-April; guided bird watching hikes are offered in mid-May. Guided walks, campfire get-togethers, astronomy programs and various kids activities are also offered.

The park houses the Cove Ridge Center, a year-round day-use/overnight educational resource facility that incorporates educational principles and concepts within a natural resource environment. The center, which accommodates up to 100 for meetings and 48 overnight guests, features an auditorium, classroom, catering kitchen, resource library (complete with Internet access), observation deck, audiovisual equipment, great room with stone fireplace, dorm, after-hours swimming (in season and by reservation) and environmental education equipment.

Amphitheater - Located near the picnic area, the park’s amphitheater offers seating for approximately 4,000 people.

Chairlift - The Virginia State Park system has only one chairlift, and you'll find it at Natural Tunnel State Park

CONTACT INFO:
Natural Tunnel State Park
1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway
Duffield, VA 24244-9361
Phone: (276) 940-2674
naturaltunnel@dcr.virginia.gov

LOCATION:
Natural Tunnel State Park is in Scott County, about 13 miles north of Gate City and 20 miles north of Kingsport, Tenn.. To get there, from I-81, take U.S. 23 North to Gate City (about 20 miles). The turn-off to the park is at mile marker 17.4 on Rt. 23. Take Natural Tunnel Parkway about one mile east to park entrance.

Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email resvs@dcr.virginia.gov.

Visit at: www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/nat.shtml