Favorite thing: The Daniel Boone Visitor's Center is located a few miles from the main visitor's center and park facilities and is just across the Virginia-Tennessee border. The outdoor interpretive center has some interesting exhibits about wildlife in the area and a nature trail which leads through a forested area. There is a wooden path which leads to a side street where the Iron Furnace and the hiking trail to the Gap and to Three States Peak are located. You can also pick up a map at the visitors center which describes the eight or nine points of interest in the area.
Favorite thing: There are several trails in the Daniel Boone Visitor Center area which lead to the gap. The trails are varying length and varying degrees of difficulty. If you just want to see the gap, drive to the main visitor center located off Hwy 25E in Middlesboro and continue past the visitors center to the Pinnacle Overlook. From here, a short trail leads to the overlook and a fantastic view of the gap.
Favorite thing: The Iron Furnace is located off a short trail which begins just outside of the town of Cumberland Gap. The furnace was originally 30 feet high and was used to produce iron, hence the name. From here, the trail connects with the Wilderness Trail, the Tri State Peak and also leads to pretty incredible views of Cumberland Gap.
Favorite thing: Cumberland Gap lies at the intersection of three states- Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Portions of the park cross these states. If you drive to the Daniel Boone Visitor's Center and the town of Cumberland Gap, you will cross the Tennessee and Virginia border. When I visited, people were stopping along the highway, taking pictures of the Viriginia state sign and then doubling back to get the Tennessee sign. Its a bit silly but fun. I can't comment on that after I stopped and took the time to take the pavement photo delineating the state lines.
The main Cumberland Gap visitor's center lies just off hwy 25E in Kentucky. The two story structure has a few exhibits, but mostly some arts and crafts for sale. When I visited, I noticed the log cabin and several other structures on the expansive green lawn adjacent to the visitor's center. It appears that the park is trying to create a depiction of early pioneer life, but its hard to tell as it was under construction.
Note that there is no food sold at the visitor's center. The best you'll find are bottles of water. So bear that in mind if you're setting off to do some hiking.
The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Visitor Center is on U.S. 25-E, on the Kentucky side of the tunnel. It is a MUST stop, especially for first time visitors. There is an exhibit area, a gift shop, and two different short orientation films which are shown on rotation. One focuses on the life and times of Daniel Boone and the other is more specfically about the Cumberland Gap. Both are excellent - well worth taking your time to see.
At the Visitor Center you will learn that there is much more to the Park than is obvious from just driving through. For instance, it is here that you can sign up to take a lantern tour through the Cumberland Gap Cave, or catch their shuttle to visit the Hensley Settlement a few miles from the Gap, to learn how the pioneer settlers lived.
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