Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: Wilderness Road Trail

Follow Daniel Boone's intrepid bootsteps westward over silent ground carpeted with ferns and history on this 9-mile figure-eight over the recently restored Gap.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 13.3



Location: 36.6089706420898, -83.6778793334961

S on Object Lesson Rd.; L @ T with Wilderness Rd. Trail


Location: 36.6045799255371, -83.6740264892578

Straight @ Harlan Rd. Trail, heading S


Location: 36.604061126709, -83.6736831665039

Saddle of the Gap: rolling green hills stretch over tri-state area (Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee); backtrack to WPT 2, turn R onto Harlan


Location: 36.6096496582031, -83.6740264892578

Cross road. Turn R, walk road 120 yds.; L onto Harlan Rd. Trail (old wagon rd.). Gentle downhill to Sugar Run Trail jct.


Location: 36.6313209533691, -83.6758422851562

R onto Sugar Run Trail; Follow Ridge Trail through large old-growth hemlock, rhododendron thickets and sandstone outcroppings; Trail gets steep near top


Location: 36.618408203125, -83.6486511230469

Turn R to silent, fern-carpeted ground; path levels near Ridge Trail


Location: 36.6119003295898, -83.6578903198242

Civil War earthworks


Location: 36.6057395935059, -83.6660232543945

Ft. Lyon, changed hands three times during Civil War without a battle; stay L on trail to overlook


Location: 36.6052703857422, -83.6672668457031

Pinnacle Overlook. See 3 states, Smokies; stay L on wooden bridge to WPT 10


Location: 36.6061897277832, -83.6673812866211

Interpretive sign; turn L, descend to Ft. McCook


Location: 36.6084213256836, -83.6740570068359

Turn L, return to gap. R at WPT 3, descend on Object Lesson Rd.


Location: 36.6053810119629, -83.6757431030274

Turn L, pass Indian Rock to follow original Wilderness Road Trail NW & downhill into KY


Location: 36.6059608459473, -83.6820373535156

Turn R off old WRT, contour around hill back to trailhead


Location: 36.6085586547852, -83.6787796020508

JCT with Thomas Walker Trail to visitor center. Keep R; .1 mi to parking lot

Sugar Run Trail Flora

Location: 36.6264762878418, -83.6714172363281

Typical scenery along the trail up to the ridge. The creek follows the trail, and adds to the enjoyment walk. ©Bill Jackson

Fort Lyon

Location: 36.607349395752, -83.6654434204102

Civil War earthworks, located at the peak of Cumberland Mountain. It had a well planned field of fire. ©Bill Jackson

Fort McCook

Location: 36.6090660095215, -83.6747589111328

Located halfway up the mountain, this fort had good coverage of the near valley, and into the Middlesboro Basin. ©Bill Jackson

Pinnacle Overlook One

Location: 36.6051712036133, -83.6670150756836

The northern terminus of the Cumberland Trail starts on the peak in front of you, and just over the head of the man holding the child. The trail is only 2 miles in length here. Fern Lake, Middlesboro’s water supply, is visible on the right. ©Bill Jackson

Pinnacle Overlook Two

Location: 36.6051712036133, -83.667594909668

Overlooking the small town of Cumberland Gap, TN. The highway entrance into the new tunnel is clearly visible in the center. Knoxville, TN is about 50 miles in the distance. ©Bill Jackson

Through the Gap – WPT 3

Location: 36.603874206543, -83.6739501953125

Crest of Cumberland Gap, with Tri-State trail branching off past DAR marker. From here, go left, or south to Cudjo’s Cave, old Iron Furnace, town of Cumberland Gap, TN, or park campground. To continue, go right, on Object Lesson Road. ©Bill Jackson

Waypoint 12 – Indian Rock

Location: 36.6042327880859, -83.6757888793945

Turn left here, walk past Indian rock, then continue along the Wilderness Road trail used by the pioneers. ©Bill Jackson

Plaque @ Indian Rock

Location: 36.6038513183594, -83.6758117675781

Plaque place on Indian Rock, by the DAR, in 1915. ©Bill Jackson

Carpet of Ferns

Location: 36.6169929504394, -83.6524963378906

A carpet of ferns blankets either side of the trail as you approach the ridge.
©Bill Jackson