Hidden Gem in Virginia: Natural Chimneys Regional Park

from Off the Beaten Path | 318
Natural Chimneys Regional Park, Virginia© 2009 Virginia Department of TourismWhen an ocean covering the Shenandoah Valley dried up over the ages and wind and rain went to work, towers of rock were left intact near present-day Mount Solon. Today they stand guard at a recreation area.

94 Natural Chimneys Ln., Mount Solon, Virginia

Soaring above the surrounding plain, the chimneys are a strange remnant of a time, centuries ago, when an ocean covered the Shenandoah Valley, leaving behind these rocks etched by the forces of nature.

It takes little imagination to see in these weathered, highly textured formations such shapes as turrets, gargoyles, distant cities, or perhaps menacing fortifications. Small junipers growing among the rocks help to create a curiously deceptive scale.

Since 1821, on the third Saturday of August a jousting tournament has been held on the plains below the chimneys. Modern-day knights on galloping horses try to spear three steel rings hanging from crossbars suspended over the 75-yard course in the meadow known as the National Jousting Hall of Fame. Self-guiding nature and biking trails wander through the fields and woodlands. The park also has 145 tree-shaded campsites with electric and water hook-up, a swimming pool, picnic areas, and a children’s playground.

Open year-round. Admission charged.

www.uvrpa.org/naturalchimneys.htm

(888) 430-2267

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