NTSP Purchase Ridge Trail
Located in Natural Tunnel State Park. A couple mile hike from the campground to an overlook viewing the valley with the railroad tunnel.
How to get there
From Kingsport, TN
- Take Highway US-23 north into Virginia for 18 miles.
- At park sign, turn right onto State Route 871 for bit over a mile.
- At Hampton, stay on US19E as it veers right.
- Veer right at State Route 646 until reaching park entrance.
- Continue to just past the camp store on right to find the main trailhead.
There appears to be multiple trail access points. This main trailhead is between the camp store and Cove View campground area, and intersects with the Gorge Ridge Trail. From the cabins area, take the short connectors Buck Rub Trail or Cabin Trail.
The main 2.1 miles of trail wanders up and around the summit. The path has been improved in recent years with several switchbacks to eliminate straight up the hill approaches. It also has a couple of benches at intersections with the access trails.
Once up the hill, there a small shelter (useful during the cold rain) and bench on the loop. Take a right (counter-clockwise) to reach the wood overlook structure on the northwest side. A slot in the forest has been cut to give a view down to the main tunnel. If your timing is great, then a train will be coming through the tunnel.
Continue around the loop to reach the junction for the main trail to return back to trailhead. Alternatively, take the short Cabin Trail over to the roadway for the walk back. This latter makes an easy 3.25 mile total distance.
Hard packed dirt - shared with bikes, so be alert. A walk through hardwood forest, so come in the spring for wildflowers and fall for the leaf color.
Fees, Permits, etc.
Daily parking fee for passenger vehicles into VA state parks is $2 weekdays, $3 weekends. Bring exact change.
After the Hike
Visit the camp store for ice cream or a soda. Check out the park visitors center.