Purchase Ridge Trail is a 2.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Duffield, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until November.
Directions from Gate City, VA: Natural Tunnel State Park is in Scott County, Virginia. It is approximately 13 miles north of Gate City and 20 miles north of Kingsport, Tenn. To get there from I-81, take Rt. 23 to Rt. 871 to the park entrance. Continue straight onto Rt. 646 and turn right onto Rt. 795. Take Rt. 795 to Campground A. You may park here and access the trail behind the playground.
The Purchase Ridge trail is what I would consider a moderate trail. The many switchbacks keep it from being difficult, but make no mistake, it is, in some places, very steep. The lookout has the potential to be an amazing view, however, after years of forest growth, almost none of the canyon wall and absolutely none of the canyon floor is visible. Only a narrow window to the canyon can be visualized. On the upside, however, the area is quiet and very secluded. I only met two people, a biker and a runner, and that was on the way back. The growing things along the trail make it well worth the trip if you are, as I am, a photographer. But if the view is what you are looking for, you'll be better off going only as high as Lover's Leap. Lover's Leap is, without question, the best view of the canyon wall and a small bit of the canyon floor. The only place you can see both. I was lucky enough to catch a train coming through on the way back down from Purchase Ridge.