A Unique Ride for Lights

by Casey Higgins | Posted on December 9th, 2011

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Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy of Virginia State Parks

Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy Virginia State Parks

In Duffield, the Heart of Appalachia, lies Natural Tunnel State Park. It’s a beautiful setting year ’round, but something really exciting for visitors of every age happens around this time of year: 8 Days of Christmas!

Eight Days of Christmas at Natural Tunnel occurs December 9, 10, 16, and 17, and is a light show with a twist: experience the lights from the chairlift! Thousands of bulbs and animated figures are delightful sights as you descend.┬áThe fun doesn’t end when the chairlift does. There are carolers and other entertainers by campfire for your enjoyment. Add a cup of hot chocolate to this peaceful night and you’ll realize you’re in a real winter wonderland.

Care to stay? There are still cabins available for this weekend, but the weekend of the 16th is sold out.

Park Fees:

  • Weekday Parking: $2
  • Weekend Parking: $3
  • Chairlift: $3; under age 6 is free
  • Off-Season Nightly Cabin Rate: 2BR $88; 3BR $110; 6 BR $275
Natural Tunnel image courtesy of Virginia State Parks

Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy Virginia State Parks

Getting There:

1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway
Duffield, VA 24244

Natural Tunnel State Park is about 13 miles north of Gate City and 20 miles north of Kingsport, TN. 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.


Quick facts about Natural Tunnel:

  • The Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the tunnel and 100 surrounding acres in 1967, and later acquired an additional 850 acres. The park was opened in 1971.
  • The tunnel is 850′ long and 100′ high inside.

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