For travelers who had to walk, the Appalachian mountains seemed like an impenetrable wall, 600 miles long and 150 miles wide. Here at Cumberland Gap you could find both a good way in and a good way out of that rugged labyrinth of ridges, coves, and meandering streams.
Woodland buffalo and parties of Cherokee and Shawnee passed north and south over this wilderness road for thousands of years. Frontier-era longhunters and settler families followed their trails, climbing up to the Gap and dropping into Yellow Creek's valley. Once past Pine Mountain Narrows, they were well on their way to reach the Kentucky bluegrass and the rich Ohio River bottomlands.
Exploring Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Wilderness Road Trail 1
Walk in the footsteps of Dr. Walker, Daniel Boone, and 250,000 settlers on the newly restored Wilderness Road.
Iron Furnace 2
The shortest trail to the Gap begins at this reminder of 19th-century industry, found in the town of Cumberland Gap.
Gap Cave 3
Park rangers now take visitors on tours into this historic cave. Check at either visitor center for cave tour schedules.
Pinnacle Overlook 4
This easily accessible overlook offers dramatic vistas of the key passage through the Cumberland Mountains.
Hensley Settlement 5
Reminders of Appalachia's pioneer era can still be seen at Hensley Settlement. Ask a ranger about tour schedules.
White Rocks 6
A well-known landmark for early travelers bound west, these cliffs are a full day's walk from the Gap