Natural Tunnel,,, One Cool Tunnel With Train Tracks Running Through It

Natural Tunnel,,, One Cool Tunnel With Train Tracks Running Through It

Remote Natural Tunnel shows off its railroad crossing sign in front of the tunnel.
Even Natural Tunnel has a railroad crossing sign in front of the rock tunnel, which nature cut out of the mountain it runs through.

Natural Tunnel State Park: Quite a Phenomenon

A great place to hike and check out the local scenery is at Natural Tunnel State Park in Scott County, Virginia. When we visited here October 21, 2007, author Tony Scales set up a table near Natural Tunnel and autographed his book. The book,  “Natural Tunnel Nature’s Marvel in Stone,”  is a treasure trove of info. Tony’s photos truly showcased this “eighth wonder” of the world. Train track and trains run through this natural phenomenon. So, you can’t actually walk through the tunnel. Yet, you can get pretty close. The tunnel is 850 feet. However, access to it is available by the park chairlift or the Tunnel Trail.


Natural tunnel up close looks dimunitive compared to its massive mountain.
The mountain through which the Natural Tunnel runs dwarfs the tunnel.

A Replica of the Anderson Blockhouse, the Carter Family Cabin, Lover’s Leap and the Tunnel Observation Platform

Besides the tunnel there is the Carter Family cabin, a replica of the Anderson Blockhouse and the Rye Cove Education Center. In addition to Lover’s Leap, there is Tunnel Observation Platform  and several hiking trails. So make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch,  since the park is open from dawn to dusk.

The longest trail is Purchase Ridge Trail for 1.1 miles. There also is a foot bridge over Stock Creek, a branch off of the Clinch River. The creek originally ran through the bridge, but eventually the park diverted the water underground. The hiking difficulty ranges from easy to difficult.

Natural Tunnel's mountaintop is simply breathtaking. The mountain is quite a steep one.
The view of the mountaintop, which houses the natural tunnel is quite steep, This natural phenomenon is amazing.

Hike Around a Mountain at Natural Tunnel State Park

Hiking to the observation platform to the tunnel is up the side of a mountain, so take your time and rest along the way. My  76 year-old Mom hiked with us up the mountain. She didn’t make it all the way to the observation platform, but she managed to comfortably make it halfway to a bench. She saw us waving to her from her vantage point.

This truly is an enjoyable way to spend the day with family and friends. From the Tennessee/Virginia state line, take route US 23 North to Gate City. Take State Route 871 from there. Go one mile east to the park entrance. It is about 13 miles north of Gate City, Virginia. In addition, it’s 20 miles north of Kingsport, Tennessee. Truly as statesman William Jennings Bryan dubbed it, Natural Tunnel inside Natural Tunnel State Park truly is the eighth wonder of the world.


Trease L Carpenter

Trease is a freelance writer, who hangs her hat in Kingsport, TN. Her writing niche covers local events, food and travel-related articles. Travel, lifestyle and community show the story. If you want rich content with the real story, Trease is your writer/storyteller/photographer. Check out her other Southern Fried blogs. Trease also wrote the Thursday edition of the "Across the Fence" column for the Kingsport Times-News from May 10, 2010 - August 28, 2015. She is big on local tourism and anything related to travel... including all things local like the food, eateries, shops and events. So, go for the local historic flavoring, along with the varied lodging and the picture-perfect scenery . Trease also writes on writing... wordsmith crafting on another blog. Southern Fried Travel, Southern Fried tlc and the Southern Fried Scribe blogs showcase Trease's writing. So head on over and check out all the cool stuff.
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