Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (Kentucky/Tennessee/Virginia)


in the early days of European

colonization of America the population

centered around the Atlantic coast as

settlers began expanding into the

wilderness they quickly arrived at a

massive obstacle the Appalachian

Mountains rises a natural barrier from

present-day Maine to Georgia fifteen

hundred miles to the south these

mountains were largely impassable so few

people expanded beyond their eastern

slopes only a few natural passes existed

to allow for easy trips across the

mountains located today at the

intersection of Virginia Kentucky and

Tennessee the opening of the pass was

formed by a meteor strike millions of

years ago the resulting three mile wide

Middlesboro crater which can be seen for

many overlooks also contains the city of

Middlesboro Kentucky Cumberland Gap was

originally included in a failed effort

to create a Lincoln National Park in

1922 later attempts in 1929 sought to

create memorials for Civil War battles

fought in the area but that also failed

finally in 1938 the National Park

Service agreed to support the creation

of a park Cumberland Gap National

Historical Park was established on June

11th 1940 by Franklin Roosevelt in order

to commemorate the story of the first

doorway to the West here in natural

beauty and a complex history are each on

display stories of the Native Americans

early pioneers Civil War battles and

mountain communities come to life when

visiting the numerous historic

structures and locations found in the

park the Visitor Center is located on US

Highway 25e and from here you can see

examples of period buildings and ascend

the road to pinnacle overlook which

provides vistas of all three States

longer trails and distant homesteads

like the Hensley settlement require more

time but are incredibly rewarding

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

allows visitors to see Appalachia or

Appalachia up-close

the park covers 24,000 acres and varies

in elevation from 1,100 feet to 3,500

feet the boundaries run along the

Cumberland Mountains stretching almost

20 miles with an average width of 1.6

miles and features a large cliff system

with stunning viewpoints the mountains

offer over 80 miles of trails 62 miles

of streams caves several campgrounds and

abundant wildlife