Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Travel Guide
Pinnacle - see all 3 states
Its worth the winding drive up the mountain (ok, I liked the drive too) to see a great view of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky at once.
It's cool to know that Daniel Boone and a large percent of American ancestors came through this gap to the West.
Gap Cave Tour
I have been in a lot of caves, and this may be my favorite. The park ranger guides were very informative and personable. The cave is beautiful. It isn't very commercialized. We got to see quite a few bats at close range. There are even signatures from the civil war. (ask...
Visit the Visitor Center
Start at the park visitor center on the Kentucky side. It's full of information about the historic trail and information about where you can go hiking and the drive to the top of the Pinnacles. See the movie (25 minutes or less). It's a great summary.
View from the Pinacles.
It's a steep drive, but once you're on top, the view is wonderful. You can see south along the chain of mountains. This is a rare place in each of the three states it's in. Technically, the Pinnacles is in Virginia, but you reach it from Kentucky.
Drive the tunnel.
Sounds silly, but tunnels are rare in most countries and especially in the U.S. Here, you can quickly pass under the mountain and visit the Tennessee side. Little to do, but it's the historic eastern end of gap and the eastern segment of the Wilderness Trail (Daniel Boone...
Other areas of the park
There are also other areas of the park that extend further into Virginia. If you are a hiker and enjoy beautiful views and want to be able to see for miles then I would suggest making a trip to Ewing Virginia for a visit to the sand cave and also to the white rocks where you...
Tri State Peak Trail
The tri state peak trail is just a little over a mile and begins at the saddle of Cumberland Gap. On the way to the top, you'll find the remains of a Union brigade's camp which was blown up when the Union had to retreat. The Gap actually changed hands between the north and...
Daniel Boone Trail
The Wilderness Trail, also named after Daniel Boone, runs from Tennessee through the gap and into Kentucky. This was the road that hundreds of pioneers crossed on foot and later in covered wagons in their quest for establishing settlements in the west. You can walk a portion...
Civil War lookout point
When driving to the top of Pinnacle Overlook, you'll notice a turnout for one of the lookout points along the gap. A canon still stands as memory to the war fought on this terrain. Later in the war, when the Union army advanced, soldiers dug earthworks and took defensive...
New Tunnel Under Cumberland Gap
Stephen-KarenConn 2608 reviews
You can't drive over the Cumberland Gap any more, not since Oct. 1996. Which is wonderful, because now there is a very quite hiking trail where the old road used to be. The pity is that many people, much too much in a hurry, now zip through the 4,600-foot four-lane tunnel on U.S. 25-E, and never know what they are missing. Be sure to stop and take a look around.
The northern portal to the tunnel is in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and the southern portal in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.
Updated May 27, 2004
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- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Civil War history at the Gap
Cumberland Gap was both a lookout point and a strategic hold of the south during the civil war. It was referred to as the Keystone of teh Confederacy and both sides felt that an invasion by the other would come through the Gap. To prevent this, the Confederate army cut down...
The original earthworks dug by Confederate soldiers remain along Cumberland Gap. When driving to Pinnacle Overlook, you'll see a sign indicating a civil war historic site. Here a short trail leads to a lookout point guarded by a canon and the entrenchments used by...
snakes and poisonous plants
I want to point out the dangers of doing any hiking in this area. I know the dangers of the area well because I live here. If you are planning to hike or camp at the Cumberland Gap camping sites, be wary of poisonous snakes such as rattlesnakes and copperheads. They are very active during the summer months. I had a friend to be bitten by a copperhead on his 16th birthday party by wandering into a weeded area. So be careful.
Also be sure you know what poison ivy and poison oak plants look like. It can save you a lot of pain and make your stay here a lot more comfortable. Depending on your level of tolerance to these plants, it could range to mild irritation to spreading all over your body.
Written Mar 31, 2006
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The best view
This hill is located along the trail leading to Cumberland Gap. There's a footpath along the side, which I thought was the actual trail, so I hiked on up to get a better view. It was very steep actually and tough to get down (almost tumbled a couple of times). Bur the view...
Abraham Lincoln Museum
Two miles south of Cumberland Gap, In the small town of Harrogate, TN, is the campus of Lincoln Memorial University and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum. Here we thoroughly enjoyed viewing one of the largest and most diverse collections anywhere of memorbilia...
Cumberland Gap Visitors Center
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...
Tri State Area
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...
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...
Daniel Boone Visitors Center
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...
Explore Deeper into Cumberland Gap National Historical Park