"Cumberland Gap National Historical Park" Cumberland Gap National Historical Park by Stephen-KarenConn

In the Footsteps of Daniel Boone

"Stand at Cumberland Gap and watch the procession of civilization, marching single file - the buffalo following the trail to the salt springs, the Indian, the fur-trader and hunter, the cattle raiser, the pioneer farmer - and the frontier has passed by."
--Frederick Jackson Turner, 1893

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park sits astride three states, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. It memorializes Daniel Boone's "Wilderness Road," which was the first passage through the Appalachian Mountains for American settlers in the early 1800's. Until the building of this road the Appalachian Mountains had formed a barrier to western migration.

Actually, Daniel Boone himself was following ancient paths made by large mammals, particularly the bison, which had used this gap for millenia in their seasonal migratons. The same route was known to early native Americans as the Warriors Path.

Today twin 4,600 ft. tunnels carry US Hwy. 25-E through (under) the gap, connecting Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, and Middlesboro, Kentucky. Interestingly, Middlesboro lays claim to being the only town in the world built on the site of a huge meteor crater.

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park has an extensive wild area of more than 20,000 acres. There are 50 miles of hiking trails ranging in length from 1/4 mile to 21 miles.

And by the way - Daniel Boone wore a wide-brimmed beaver hat. Not the silly coonskin contraption, complete with tail, in the the Walt Disney portrayal of him.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pure Appalachia
  • In a nutshell:Of great interest to history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
  • Last visit to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (6)

Comments (11)

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    Looking forward to wandering in the footsteps of Daniel Boone and the Conns!

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Jul 13, 2005 at 5:51 PM

    Another excellent page! I'll be heading through here in a couple of weeks. Thanks for the great info.

  • 807Wheaton's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2005 at 6:18 PM

    This is a great page. I saw my first geological survey marker there. This is where you can "be in more than one place at the same time"! Marcia

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jan 19, 2005 at 9:00 AM

    An excellent page with beautiful photos and great tips on what looks to be a very interesting Park!! The photo of 'Pinnacle Overlook' reminded me of 'Robber's State Park' in Oklahoma!

  • Easty's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2005 at 7:35 PM

    Nice documentary with historical perspective. This is a place that I would like to visit someday.

  • Paul2001's Profile Photo
    Nov 12, 2004 at 12:42 PM

    I would really like to see the Abraham Lincoln Museum. Very good job.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2004 at 7:56 PM

    What a great park...I love all the history that you infuse into your pages....I learn so much. Some grand photos and excellent writing as I've grown to expect.

  • PA2AKgirl's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2004 at 8:25 AM

    I am so glad you guys are park people! I haven't been here since...oh...98? It's a good place and you're right, PURE Appalachia!

  • basstbn's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2004 at 7:35 PM

    Nice page with good photos. I enjoy your commentary - think we have similar views regarding travel.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2004 at 8:29 AM

    Interesting look at an important area in American history. Also interesting that Harogate would sponsor a Lincoln Museum - though it was important Unionist ground in the Civil War. Poor old Andrew Johnson.

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