First Day Hike 2020 Start the New Year off on the right foot by participating in a First Day Hike at Natural Tunnel State Park. For seven years now, state parks across the country ring in the New Year by offering hikes to get visitors outside and on the trails. First Day Hikes are a great way to kickoff that New Year’s resolution or an incentive to visit a new park or hike a new trail. To commemorate the start of a new decade, Natural Tunnel will have four ranger-led hikes to choose from. Each hike offers unique views, range from easy to difficult, and are for both the young and young at heart. Spend the first day of 2020 at Natural Tunnel State Park. There will be free admission to the park and a collectable bumper sticker will be given to the first 100 hikers. The best way to obtain a sticker will be by attending a ranger-led hike.

6:45 a.m. – Sunrise Hike. Catch the first sunrise of 2020. Join the interpreter on a guided hike to the gazebo, just as dawn breaks. This trail is a moderate 1.2 mile roundtrip. Meet at the Blockhouse Parking Lot.

10 a.m. – Purchase Ridge Hike. Enjoy a hike to the Purchase Ridge overlook. This moderate trail will meander through the woods, with the opportunity to spot wildlife. At the overlook, enjoy a view of the tunnel from a distance. This trail is a moderate, 4 mile roundtrip. Meet at the Visitor Center.

1:00 p.m. – Tunnel Trek. Enjoy a guided hike down the Tunnel Trail to the mouth of the Tunnel, viewing the geologic phenomenon in person. Tunnel Trail: strenuous 0.5 miles round trip. Meet at the Visitor Center.

3 p.m. – Hike for the Tykes. Families will have the chance to take a gawk in the woods during this scavenger hunt themed hike. Ideal for children ages 3-10. This trail will be moderate and 1/2 mile roundtrip. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Wear comfortable shoes, and bring water for guided hikes.

Can’t make it to a ranger-led hike? Stop by the Visitor Center and pick up a self-guided brochure and discover the common trees of the park on an easy 1-mile hike.

Once again, we are adding our Virginia State Parks spin to the First Day Hikes by offering two contests with great prizes.

 New Year Challenge

To participate in this contest, you need to “Resolve” or “Pledge” to participate using this link:  You must do this before midnight on Dec. 31 to participate in the contest. After you visit the park on Jan. 1, you will need to enter the fact that you completed the Challenge before midnight on Jan. 1. You go back to the same web page to register your participation. Prizes will be awarded based on a drawing of folks who complete the Challenge. It’s not every year you can make and complete a New Year’s Resolution on the first day of the year.

Photo Contest

Take a photo on Jan. 1 at one of our Virginia State Parks and upload the photo to the contest site( before 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 1. You can enter up to 3 photos and must abide by the rules of the contest.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation        and Recreation.

For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities, or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit

Saturday, April 13

Bellwort9 a.m. – Salamander Meander. Find out what makes these amphibians so unique. Then join an interpreter as you go on an adventure to find salamanders. Meet at Stock Creek Interpretive Center. Free

10 a.m. – Wildflower and Photography Hike. Enjoy a casual walk in the woods to discover the various wildflowers in bloom during the spring season. Bring along your camera to capture all of the spring beauty. Meet at the Visitor Center. Free

1 p.m. – Tunnel Talk. As you enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the mouth of the tunnel, discover why this geologic phenomena is so unique. Meet at the Visitor Center. Free


Friday, April 19

7:30 p.m. – Full Moon Hike. Enjoy a guided hike to the Gazebo and be a part of a unique experience here at Natural Tunnel. Sturdy hiking shoes and a flashlight are recommended. Meet at the Blockhouse Parking Lot. Free


Saturday, April 20

Night Sky6 a.m. – Sunrise Hike. Join an interpreter on a guided hike on a portion of the Wildlife and Birding Trail. Bring plenty of water, a camera and a flashlight. Pre-register at the main office no later than April 19 by 4:30 p.m. Meet at the Blockhouse Parking Lot.  Free

9 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Invasive Species Removal. Join Natural Resource Specialist, Jordon Blevins in a volunteer effort to remove some unwanted plants from areas throughout the park. Register your group or family by calling the park office at 276-940-2674. Meet at the Visitor Center.  Free 

11 a.m. – Trash to Treasure. Stop by the Camp Store and create a masterpiece from items no longer in use. Discover how to reduce, reuse and recycle here at the park and around your home. Meet at the Camp Store. Free 

2:00 p.m. – Annual Egg Hunt. Come see what the Easter Bunny has left at Natural Tunnel State Park. There are five age groups for the hunt (Toddler – 2;   3-4; 5-7; 8-10; and 11-15). Do not forget an Easter Basket or bag to collect eggs. Sponsored by the Rye Cove Community Church, Rye Cove Community Church Women and Three Bells United Methodist Church Women. For more information call the park office at (276) 940-2674. Meet at the Picnic Area. Free

7:45 p.m. – Touring the Galaxy. View the stars, from the gazebo, as they begin to illuminate the night sky. Park interpreters will provide a shuttle up to the gazebo area. Only flashlights with a red filter are permitted. Meet at the Blockhouse Parking Lot. Free



Saturday, April 27

9 a.m. – Run the Tunnel. Do you have what it takes to run this multi-terrain race? This is a 3.8 mile race that is hosted by the State of Franklin Track Club and the Scott County Chamber of Commerce. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at Picnic Shelter #4. $15/participant.

12 p.m. – 3 p.m. 23rd Annual Kid’s Fishing Day. A unique opportunity for kids to get hooked on the thrill of fishing. See event flyer or call the park office at 276-940-2674 for more information.


Frontier Muster and Trade Faire 

April 27: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

April 28: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Frontier Muster and Trade Faire will celebrate the end of a long, harsh winter and the renewal of hope that comes with the arrival of spring on the Southwestern Virginia frontier in 1775. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about and observe the skills that were necessary for day-to-day survival in the last half of the 18th century on the frontier. This program is provided by the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association. For a schedule of events visit

Meet at the Blockhouse.