Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park detailed guide

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Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Junction of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, near Middlesboro, KY.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park detailed guide

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Junction of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, near Middlesboro, KY

 

This natural passageway across the Appalachian Mountains opened the west to 18th-century travelers and explorers. Native Americans first discovered the gap by following buffalo herds as they headed into the verdant hills of what is now Kentucky. Around 300,000 settlers later passed through here from 1775 through 1810, expanding American settlements and opening new routes across the continent. Today you'll find wayside exhibits, a museum, and the abandoned old cabins of the former Hensley settlement, all with signage noting the area s historic significance. The park was authorized in 1940.

 

WHAT TO SEE & DO

Auto touring, hiking, picnicking. Facilities: Visitor center, museum, hiking trails. Book-and-gift store, covered picnic tables with fire grills, picnic tables (reservations and fee, see below). Programs & Events: Ranger-led walking tours (May-Aug.; reservations required), Gap (Cudjo's) Cave tours (Jan.-Mar., weekends 10 and 2; Apr-May and Sept.-Dec. daily at 10, weekends at 2; Memorial Day-Aug., daily 9, 11:30, 3; reservations required). Tips & Hints: Go Apr-May for wild-flowers, in Sept. for great hiking, and in mid-Oct. for peak foliage. Busiest July-Oct., least crowded Jan. and Feb. Come prepared for variable weather all year. Pinnacle Overlook may close in winter due to bad weather.

 

FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES

Camping: In the park: Wilderness Road Campground (160 sites; $10-$ 15; flush toilets, showers, hook-ups). Backcountry camping (permit required, see below). E3 Hotels: None in park. In Middlesboro: Best Western Inn (1623 E. Cumberland Ave., tel. 606/248-5630; 100 rooms; $48-$63), Holiday Inn Express (1252 N. 12th St./U.S. 25 E, tel. 606/248-6860 or 800/465-4329; 60 rooms; $79). X Restaurants: None in park. In Middlesboro: J. Milton's Steak House (910 N. 12th St./U.S. 25 E, tel. 606/248-0458; $7-$15). In Pineville: Pine Mountain State Park Resort Dining Room (1050 State Park Rd., tel. 606/337-3066; $7-$14). & Groceries & Gear: None in park. In Cumberland Gap: Zoe's (719 Pennylane Ave., tel. 423/869-0705). In Gibson Station, VA: Montgomery's Grocery (Noetown Rd., tel. 606/248-2772).

 

FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS

Free. Pinnacle Overlook shuttle: $3. Hensley Settlement tour: $12 adults, $6 ages 12 and under. Gap (Cudjo's) Cave tour: $7 adults, $3.50 ages 12 and under and Golden Age Passport holders. Picnic pavilions $20 per day, reservations required. Backcountry permits required (free). No vehicles over 20 feet on Pinnacle Rd. No unleashed pets, skateboards, or in-line skates. Bikes on paved roads and designated trails only. Do not feed animals. Park open daily dawn-dusk. Visitor center open Memorial Day-Oct., daily 8-6; Nov.-Memorial Day, daily 8-5.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

Via U.S. 25 east in Tennessee and Kentucky, and via U.S. 58 in Virginia. Closest airports: Middlesboro (3 mi), Knoxville (90 mi).

 

CONTACTS

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (Box 1848, Middlesboro, KY 40965, tel. 606/248-2817; 606/246-1075 activity reservations, fax 606/ 248-2818, ). Claiborne County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (3222 U.S. 25, Tazewell, TN 37879, tel. 423/626-4149 or 800/332-8164, fax 423/626-1611, ). Bell County Tourism Commission (2215 Cumberland Ave., Middlesboro, KY 40965, tel. 606/248-2482 or 800/988-1075, fax 606/248-0011, ). Town of Cumberland Gap (330 Colwin, Box 78, Cumberland Gap, TN 37724, tel. 423/869-3860, fax 423/869-8534).

 

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Junction of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, near Middlesboro, KY.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park detailed guide