Natural Tunnel State Park

Starting a trip off in an emergency room is never on my itinerary. But if you must include this exciting excursion in your camping plans, Kingsport, TN near lovely Natural Tunnel State Park has a wonderful hospital, among other treasures to explore. 

If you would rather avoid this side trip, tell your 7-year-old not to test how fast his bike can go down the hill from the camp store to the campsites. We can save you that trouble. It’s fast. With a sharp turn. 

After getting the face gash and road rash fixed up, we decided to explore this town a bit, starting with lunch at Barbaritos (very dog friendly with a nice outdoor patio) and a walk along the river trail. Both are excellent, and a great way to redeem a rocky start to our first day of this 6-day camping trip. Rocky. That also happens to be the name of our new-to-us 2005 Rockwood 27-foot travel trailer. And this was the maiden voyage.

Natural Tunnel State Park is about a 6-hour drive from where we live, so we made sure to dedicate more than a weekend venture to this park. And we are so glad we did. This beautiful and unique park ranks at the top of our list so far.

Unfortunately, the pool was closed during our visit. But due to this inconvenience, the fee for the chair lift that takes riders down to the entrance of the tunnel was waived. So, of course, we took full advantage of this and rode up and down several times like an amusement park ride in the great outdoors. You can also walk down to the tunnel entrance, but why would you with such a thrilling option available. Once down at the tunnel floor, definitely hang out until a train comes through.

Speaking of thrilling options, if you don’t mind getting your feet wet, sign up for the Stock Creek Passage Ranger-guided hike. Watching a train whiz through a dark tunnel while you are inside is pretty incredible. This adventure costs a little bit but is definitely worth it.

The location of this park, which is dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, is not only beautiful but full of amazing places to visit. We don’t always venture out of a park during our camping trips, but this one absolutely calls for several side trips. From one of the coolest and heart-pumping hikes, Devil’s Bathtub Loop, to outdoor theatrics at the long-running Trail of the Lonesome Pine drama, the Heart of Appalachia region offers something for everyone.

Fast Facts (and Opinions)

Location: Natural Tunnel State Park - Duffield, VA

Equipment: Travel Trailer

Date: August 2021

Weather: Warm, Sunny, Rain and Hail

Kid-Friendly: Yes (ours were ages 9 and 7)

Dog-Friendly: Yes

Site: LL16


Cell Service: Yes (Verizon)

Park Highlights:

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Things to Do Next Visit (Because There's Just Never Enough Time!):

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