Monday, June 27, 2016

Natural Tunnel State Park - Duffield, VA

Natural Tunnel State Park in Duffield, VA is a gem of a find!  We spent five days there exploring, chilling, and enjoying life.
Our site - 11
In addition to the main attraction and hiking trails, this park has a TON of activities…..canoeing, kayaking, caving, ranger led programs, night hikes, etc etc.

We spent the first few days exploring the tunnel and visitor‘s center.
Everyone's doing the locomotion....
The tunnel was formed millions of years ago when groundwater that had carbonic acid in it ate away the rock and formed the tunnel.  It is huge…about 200 feet wide and 80 feet high.  There is some folklore that says that a Cherokee maiden and a Shawnee brave were forbidden to marry and jumped to their deaths from the highest pinnacle…now named Lover’s Leap.  There is a still an active railroad thru the tunnel hauling coal.  And, there is a creek that flows thru the tunnel. The campground sits atop the tunnel.  

There are two ways to get down to the tunnel…you can ride the chairlift or you can hike.  We did both!
Syl and I are cautious!

Gin and Dan are not!

Looking up - pictures do not do it justice!

Dan walking towards the tunnel

Would love to see a train now!

Man-made tunnel

Another perspective of the height

Making memories
Taking a stroll

Little cabin in the big woods

You know I love "back" pictures   
We purchased all day passes to ride the chairlift.  A bargain at $6 a person

View from Lover's Leap

The mountains are calling - we must go!

Syl and I on the trail at Lover's Leap - the drop-off is right past the chain fence

The only time we saw the train was when we hiked Stock Creek Trail

The hills are alive.....I LOVE this picture!

Rock hopping on Stock Creek Trail
Tiger lilies were everywhere

North side of the tunnel - no one in sight!


Mom and Cathy - this is for you!

Syl and I had signed up for a caving program.  This is something that intrigued me but also knew I would be pushing my limits.  Cold, dark, damp enclosed space.  Hmmm….oh yeah - and little did I know - heights!
Our guide, Cory, unlocking the gates
Cory told us that the gate on this wild cave served two purposes.  One, it kept trespassers out. Two, it kept bears out.  The slates on the gate are horizontal instead of vertical for the bats. Apparently, due to the way they fly, they do not do well with vertical slats.  Who knew?!

We had 10 people in our group.  We were told we would get dirty; we may get muddy.  We got both! The cave was a “wet” cave and you had to do plenty of crawling.  It was beautiful inside but also a little bit scary!  Cory did a good job explaining different features of the cave and gave us time to look around.  The scariest point of the experience was a cliff you had to navigate.  It was about 20-25 feet high and about a foot or so wide.  One side of the cliff was cave wall….the other side was open  - and at the bottom, if you fell, was a substance like quicksand.  GREAT! Thank goodness there was a rope you could hang on to but I was still very nervous.  My friendly hiking partner Syl understands my fear of heights and is of great assistance when I am out of my comfort zone.  I am so glad we had the chance to do it!   It was absolutely amazing.
Happy cavers!
We left Natural Tunnel State Park and continued to head west to Kentucky.  We were going to Kentucky Horse Park Campground for a few days.  Unfortunately, I had caught a bad, bad bug (which we later figured out was the FLU!!) and gave it to Dan, Gin and Syl.  We did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in Kentucky except focus on getting better.  We left Kentucky a few days ago and headed to Indiana….leaving that pesky bug behind!


  1. I just caught up with your blog & am so happy you are enjoying your travels. The scenery is beautiful & providing many wonderful memories for you.

  2. The pictures can't do it justice. Amazing, just amazing!

  3. What a fantastic find...your photos are beautiful. So cool that you continue to challenge yourself and found out you really enjoyed the cave. Keep having more bugs...we will be following the adventure:p)))