Cumberland Gap is a prominent V-shaped indentation in the Cumberland Mountains. It is situated on the Kentucky-Virginia boundary approximately one-quarter mile north of the point where Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee meet. The base of the pass lies in a plane 300 feet above the valley floor and 900 feet below the pinnacle on its north side. On the south side, the mountain is only 600 feet above the saddle of the Cap. Viewed from a distance, this picturesque natural feature probably appears much the same as it did when seen by the first pioneers. However, a closer look will reveal that the north side of the pass has been sliced by a modern highway to a depth of approximately twenty feet.
Indians used Cumberland Gap as a gateway through the mountains long before the arrival of the white man. Those crossing the Ohio at the mouth of the Scioto River found a well-beaten trail known as the Warriors' Path, leading directly to the Gap. Often they ventured beyond and into the Carolina's on the Catawba Trail, or toward the south on the Clinch and Cumberland Cap Trail which connected with others leading to present-day Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee. Occasionally these hunters returned to the Scioto country by following the Great Indian Warpath which intersected the Catawba at a point about thirty miles southeast of the Gap.
The Gap in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee
This structure is located at the base of Cumberland Mountain, next to Gap Creek, near Cumberland Gap, TN - where Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia meet. It was used during the nineteenth century as a charcoal blast furnace for smelting iron. Probably built between 1813 and 1835 by Martin Beaty, it was operated intermittently until about 1881, by a number of people including John G. Newlee for whom the foundry was named at the end of the century. The foundry and buildings were used for ammunition storage for a part of the Civil War. This foundry is considered one of the last examples of a cold-blast charcoal furnace. The site includes the 30' remains of the blast furnace, a grass-covered slag pile, a large stone with drill-holes for splitting it, and a portion of a flume, cut to channel Gap Creek around the foundry.
At Cumberland Gap, the first great gateway to the west, follow the buffalo, the Native American, the longhunter, the pioneer... all traveled this route through the mountains into the wilderness of Kentucky. Modern day explorers and travelers stand in awe at this great gateway and the many miles of trails and scenic features found in the park.
With cave tours, Pinnacle overlook, hiking, backpacking, camping, museum, park films, book store, Cumberland crafts and check the parks schedule for event through out the year.
This old spur tunnel use to carry trains from Cumberland Gap to Harrogate TN. It is now a "Rails-to-Trails" tunnel carrying foot and bicycle traffic between the two towns.
Click HERE to see a aerial view of Rails to Trails starting point in Cumberland Gap, TN.
Click HERE to see a aerial view of the tunnel on Harrogate TN area.
Lee Majors was born in Wyandotte, Michigan, Harvey Lee Yeary [Lee took his acting name Lee Majors, from the University of Tennesse football coach Johnny Majors], on the 23rd of April 1939,. He grew up in Middleboro, Kentucky, where he had been adopted by relatives after the death of his parents, when he was less than three years old. He discovered about his adoption on rainy afternoon during his teenage years. He was alone in the house, and overcome with boredom when for some reason he decided to go up into the attic and start poking around in the old boxe. More at...
The Cumberland Gap Tunnel is a tunnel that carries U.S. Route 25E under Cumberland Gap National Historical Park near the intersection of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. The east portal of the tunnel is in Tennessee and the west portal is in Kentucky; according to United States Geological Survey maps of the area, the tunnel does not enter Virginia. It is one of only two mountain vehicular tunnels in the United States that cross a state line, the other being the East River Mountain Tunnel on Interstate 77 between Virginia and West Virginia.
The park is about 310 acres that lie astride the Wilderness Road, a route carved by Daniel Boone in 1775. The route, which followed a buffalo trace, opened America’s first western frontier. Most notable in the park are the Karlan Mansion built in the 1877, a state-of-the-art visitor center and Martin's Station, a replica of a colonial frontier fort that was near this site in 1775.
With Wilderness Road Trail, a 10-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail. Indian Ridge Trail, a self-guided, natural heritage trail, camping, gift center, and picnic area. More at...
Martin's Station was a frontier fort originally located at nearby Rose Hill, Virginia. The station, consisting of several fortified cabins, was the only station between the start of the Wilderness Road at the blockhouse in Virginia and Crab Orchard on the edge of the Kentucky settlement – a distance of some 200 miles.
See their website for a schedule of events through out the year.
Located on the beautiful campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum (ALLM) houses one of the finest private collections of Lincoln and Civil War material in the world. More than 35,000 artifacts, manuscripts, photos, and rare books fill its three permanent exhibit galleries, special exhibit gallery, vaults, and reading rooms. More at...
Historic Rose Gulf Station: Built in 1930 by Carson Rose and operated until 1956, the historic Rose Service Station located just off Hwy 25E in Tazewell was restored by the town of Tazewell in 2001 back to the authentic condition, representing a Gulf “filling station” from days long past.
Located on Main Street in Tazewell, TN 37879. Open weekdays 423-626-5104
Marinas and campgrounds – Boat, houseboat, pontoon, jet ski and wave-runner cabin Rentals. Along the more than 800 miles of shoreline, there are two state wildlife management areas, three state parks, boat docks, county parks, and public access areas. Norris Lake extends 56 miles up the Powell River and 72 miles up the Clinch River.
Beach Island Resort and Marina
Bunch Hollow Campground & Resort
Cedar Grove Marina and Campground
Mountain Pass Campground
Norris Landing Marina
Straight Creek Boat Dock
The view from the Pinnacle Overlook provides a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, the Cumberland Gap, and the historic Wilderness Road. The states of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee are all visible from the overlook which can be accessed via the Skyland Road near the park's main visitor center.
Pinnacle Overlook Today
The first great gateway to the west, Cumberland Gap is a mountain pass that was used by wildlife, Native Indian tribes, and later by settlers moving west. Daniel Boone was hired to blaze a trail beginning in Southwest Virginia through Cumberland Gap known as the Wilderness Road. It became the route westward for pioneers who travelled west through the mountains into the wilderness of Kentucky. Both the North and the South vied for control of the Cumberland Gap during the Civil war. Today the park consists of approximately 20,000 acres and 70 miles of hiking trails. There are numerous scenic and historic features in the park and ranger led programs are offered throughout the year including tours of Gap Cave and the historic Hensley Settlement
Fifty years later, this single aircraft was recovered from the ice in 1992 after many years excavation. She underwent an intensive restoration process in Middlesboro, Kentucky beginning in 1993. After hundreds of thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, Glacier Girl stands now as the most perfect restoration of a World War II era warbird ever done and the most perfect P-38 Lightning in existence.
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Coal mining equipment is housed in this structure made entirely of coal. Home to the Bell County Chamber of Commerce, this building is truly a unique landmark. The Coal House was built in 1926 out of 42 tons of bituminous coal.
After years of being closed to the public, the National Park has began to give guided tours of the famous Gap Cave (also known in the past as Cujo’s Cave). This is one of the most unique attractions in the entire area, and it’s a great activity to check out in the summertime since the cave stays nice and cool. The 2016 tour schedule and prices are as follows:
Middlesboro Crater, is a meteor crater in Kentucky. The Middlesboro Crater is located in the Appalachian Mountains, between the Cumberland Mountains and Pine Mountain. The town of Middlesboro, built in the crater, was established in 1886 to mine the iron and coal deposits. Middlesboro Crater is approximately 3 miles diameter and the age is estimated to be less than 300 million years.
Kentucky’s first state park is a hidden gem in the Commonwealth. Located just south of Pineville, KY, the park has over 15 miles of some of the finest hiking trails in all of Appalachia including favorites like Hemlock Garden Trail, Honeymoon Falls Trail, Chain Rock Trail, and much more. The park has an adjacent 18-hole golf course in Wasioto Winds, a lodge with both rooms and cabins for rent, and a brand new zip line and canopy tour (see below). Visitors can also enjoy many fantastic overlooks, including the famed Chain Rock Overlook that overlooks Pineville. Website
Chain Rock is a unique point of interest that sits within Pine Mountain State Resort Park. From the parking lot at the top of Pine Mountain, it is a short hike to the Chain Rock overlook. There, legend has it, the chain was put between two large boulders to keep them from falling onto the town of Pineville.
The Bell County Historical Society is located right beside the Middlesboro Post Office on 20th St. It houses many artifacts and exhibits pertaining to the county’s history including the Middlesboro meteor crash, coal mining, Indian artifacts, and much more! Hours and info are on website.
Built in 1888 -1889 by the Powell's Valley Railroad; sold the same year to the Knoxville, Cumberland Gap and Louisville Railroad; sold in 1896 to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. Now owned by CSX Railroad to connect Norfolk-Southern RR.
Click HERE to see a aerial view of the Rail Tunnel in Cumberland Gap, TN.
The Academy was founded by German immigrant George Shutter, who came to Tennessee from Pennsylvania in the early 1800′s. It was established in 1806 as Powell Valley Male Academy and later called Speedwell Academy. The Academy was also used as headquarter by General Zollicoffer during the Civil War as he prepared to take Cumberland Gap from Union forces. The Academy was later used as a hospital by both Union and Confederate forces. Hours Open to the Public: Apr. – Oct. (3rd Sun.) 2 – 5 p.m.; Holidays 2 – 5 p.m.; Christmas Open House (1st three weekends in Dec.) 2 – 7 p.m.; Tour groups by appt. 220 Academy Rd., Speedwell, TN 37870 • 423-869-3414. Facebook
The Marker is in Middlesboro, Kentucky, in Bell County. Marker is on U.S. 25E, on the right when traveling east. Just before the entrance to the Cumberland Gap National Park.
Middlesboro is home to the oldest continually played golf course in America. It was founded in 1889, the same year as the town, as a way for the English investors and businessmen who were settling in the area to have some recreation. Nestled inside a beautiful circular valley, the golf course was proven to be the center of impact for the meteor that created the unique valley that the city of Middlesboro sits in. The golf course hosts several golf scrambles and events throughout the year, make sure to check out their website for details.
...Roughly 85 miles of hiking trails meander through the eastern deciduous forests of Cumberland Gap. Distances range from a 1/4-mile loop trail to the 21-mile-long Ridge Trail. Some of the most popular destinations in the park include the Hensley Settlement, White Rocks, Sand Cave and Tri-State Peak...
Bicycles function as reminders of the way things were and harbingers of things to come. Our mission is to represent the past with carefully selected bicycles which combine styling that is principally based upon market, theory and engineering with historical and cultural significance.