I prefer an old, 1800s Romantic era name for them that's now out of fashion -- the Cyclopean Towers. Locals referred to them as Natural Chimneys, however, and the local name won out. Now, a county park, located near Mt. Solon in Augusta County, VA, at the bottom of the Shenandoah Valley, protects and preserves these geological wonders, not far from the banks of the North River.
These rock formations are so old they make the Appalachian Mountains seem young. And they remind us mere humans that we are here on this precious earth a mere speck of time.
The tunnels and caves at the base of the chimneys are remnants of sinkholes and caves that once laced the limestone layers of this area; in fact, not too far away are several commercial caverns, including Luray, Shenandoah, and the Endless Caverns. One sign in the park described Natural Chimneys as being the remnants, now above ground, of an underground cavern system.
There is a very short -- just a half mile round trip -- but steep hike to an overlook above the chimneys. Worth taking for the view of the mountains in the distance, especially near sunset, but also cool to see the towers from above.
Getting there: 94 Natural Chimneys Ln, Mt Solon, VA 22843
Hours: Dawn through dusk
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