Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Overview

Introduction

Thanks in large part to Daniel Boone's explorations, pioneers crossed the Cumberland Gap as they traveled the Wilderness Road to Kentucky. Today, Cumberland Gap is the second-largest national historical park in the country, with more than 20,000 acres/8,100 hectares in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee (the headquarters is in Middlesboro, Kentucky). The park (in the far southeast corner of the state) offers interpretive exhibits, hiking, camping, picnicking, demonstrations and backcountry outings (permits required). For both its historical importance and its scenic beauty, Cumberland Gap is highly recommended.

If you have time, hike along the Ridge Trail on Brush Mountain to the Hensley Settlement. This community of farmsteads prospered in near-isolation for almost 50 years. (You can take a shuttle to the Hensley Settlement, but the hike is beautiful if you're up for it.) Not far from the park, the opulent houses in Middlesboro reveal the wealth produced by coal mining in the 1890s. The town also has one of the oldest golf courses in the nation. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is located 135 mi/215 km southeast of Lexington.

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