A Unique Ride for Lights

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Dec 9, 2011 | Updated: Apr 17, 2018

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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. The 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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