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Natural Tunnel State Park Day Trips in SW Virginia - Ways to still safely have fun during a Pandemic

The Bluemoonistic Team lives in Abingdon VA. During this Pandemic we stayed home like everyone else, but as Phase 3 allowed some openings we decided to start trying to take Day Trips in our region of Southwest Virginia. A “Staycation” using our own home as our base camp! We wanted see what tourism is like in our region today! We decided to check out the challenges and changes and report back to all those wanting to safely begin to travel locally! Our first adventure took us to Natural Tunnel State Park! Doing our due diligence online we saw encouraging warnings “face coverings are required at all park facilities” and the park is now open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays!

For photos we removed our masks when no one was around or on the chair lift! Dale & Becky Carlson

All the park rangers and employees at the Chairlift were indeed wearing masks! The Visitors Center was even giving away face masks to those who did not have them! Everyone observed social distancing while going through their small museum and gift shop! They sent us down to the tunnel using every other chair on the chairlift! The ride down and up is so much fun! There is also a path that you can use to walk if you are into more physical activity!

This view of the Natural Tunnel shows it lives up to its name of the "Eighth Wonder of the World"!

The earliest report of the natural tunnel was in 1832 in a geology journal. In 1890 the South Atlantic and Ohio Railway acquired it and laid tracks. The museum in the Visitors Center gives a wonderful account of the entire history!

Our time at the tunnel was spent exploring the area and checking out the views! It is a wonder to behold! Most folks were very courteous and made sure that everyone had their time at the best locations while social distancing. However, we have to note that one large family group of 10 people disregarded all safety precautions. We stayed away from them and waited them out! Just plan on being patient to keep yourself safe! We wore our masks even though we were outdoors whenever we were around people. We can all still enjoy our state parks by being courteous and cautious!

Anderson Block House

After exploring the tunnel and returning to the top by the chairlift, we traveled a short distance down the road to see the Anderson Block House which is still part of the Natural Tunnel State Park. The Visitors Center at this location has NOT re-opened at this time. However, it is worth the walk from the parking lot up to Block house just to see the magnificent mountain views and give thought to the early travelers that passed this way and began the Wilderness Trail! We can only imagine their first reaction to these beautiful Appalachian Mountains!

There is nothing like a breath taking mountain view to make you appreciate life! No matter what inconveniences we have to endure, it is worth it to be able to enjoy one more day! We may not feel comfortable flying or visiting a beach right now, but we want you to know that this kind of tourism is available to you! Stay safe, be kind and enjoy!

Created By
Dale & Becky Carlson
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Credits:

Bluemoonistic Images -- www.bluemoonistic.com