(Cumberland Gap TN)
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park highlights the place where
Daniel Boone forged a passage across the Appalachian Mountains. In the 1700s, the mountains were a barrier which prevented westward migration.
What became known as Wilderness Road was really an expansion of a well used wildlife and native trail. It quickly became a favored route to the west and was the primary route until 1810. A portion of the road can still be hiked; which I did.
Next to the park is the village of Cumberland Gap which grew up from the heavy use of the road. It was also considered a strategic spot during the Civil War, changing hands three times during the conflict.
The Visitor Center had nice displays, and two films that dramatized the opening of the road and the history in the area. There was also a guided tour to the Hensley Settlement high in the mountains. Unfortunately, the tour was booked solid during my entire stay.
There was a state park a few miles down the road which was having a festival. I had planned to attend to see the crafts show, recreated fort, and demonstrations by period actors. However, it rained the whole weekend of the event.
Many trails, overlooks, and a few caves would have provided much more to do while there. My reason for being in the mountains was to find some fall colors; so, I continued onward.
Camp: Wilderness Road CG-NPS drycamp
Scene: Historic road, old village
Note: This visit occurred in October.