Learn more about the amazing outdoor destinations in the Heart of Appalachia region of Virginia by clicking the links below:
- Breaks Interstate Park
Breaks Interstate Park was established in 1954 by the joint efforts of the states of Kentucky and Virginia. The main reason for the area being protected is the gorge itself. The gorge is 5 miles long and 1,600 feet deep. Due to its size, it is often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the South." The park is located on Pine Mountain. The mountain's age is around 400 million years old. During this time, the Russell Fork River carved out the gap, or 'break' in the mountain which is how Breaks Interstate Park got its name.
- Natural Tunnel State Park
The Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the tunnel and 100 surrounding acres in 1967 from the Natural Tunnel Chasm and Caverns Corp. to establish Natural Tunnel State Park. Approximately 750 additional acres were later acquired and the park opened in 1971.Natural Tunnel, called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by William Jennings Bryan, has been attracting sightseers to the mountains of southwestern Virginia for more than 100 years. Today it is the focal point of Natural Tunnel State Park, a park which offers visitors not only spectacular sights but also swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, a visitor center, an amphitheater and interpretive programs.
- Southwest Virginia Museum
The museum is housed in a mansion built in the 1880s by Rufus Ayers, a Virginia attorney general. The museum was acquired by the commonwealth in 1946 through the will of C. Bascom Slemp, private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge and a member of the U.S. Congress. The museum was officially dedicated by the state in 1948. It features a collection comprised of more than 20,000 pieces, about one third of which is on display at any given time. The museum chronicles the exploration and development of the region during the 1890s coal boom, as well as the pioneer period. It offers activities for kids, scout and school programs, workshops, an annual Festival of Trees program, quilt show, music festival and outdoor exhibits. The museum sells archival supplies and offers the opportunity to have pictures of collection pieces copied. Also offered are a unique gift shop and a Victorian Parlor Conference Room available for rent by calling the museum.
- Wilderness Road State Park
Wilderness Road State Park was purchased in 1993; the park is approximately 310 acres that lie astride the "Wilderness Road." The Wilderness Road was carved by Daniel Boone in 1775 to open Americas first western frontier. Most notable in the park are the Karlan Mansion, built in 1878, and Martin's Station, a replica of a frontier fort built near there in 1775.
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