• fog flows through Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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  • Sugar Run Trail Closed to Horses

    The Sugar Run Trail is temporarily closed to horse use due to the number of fallen trees as a result of recent storms. The trail is still open for hikers, but hikers should use caution.

  • Shuttle to Hensley Settlement

    There will be no shuttle or tour to Hensley Settlement on August 10, 2014. Tours on other days will continue to be offered as scheduled. For questions and more information please call the park visitor center at (606) 248-2817, extension 1075.

  • Back the Bears!

    Support the park's "Back the Bears" campaign and help keep our bears wild and safe! More »

  • Cave Tour Alert!

    White Nose Syndrome is a disease that is killing bats in great numbers and has been found in park caves. While visiting Gap Cave please do not wear or bring anything that has been in other caves. Skylight Cave is currently closed.

Life in Appalachia

Tom Jeff Cupp outside of his cabin

Tom Jeff Cupp sitting on the porch of his cabin, now known as Martins Fork cabin

Photo by Earl Palmer

Of the thousands of early pioneers and settlers that came through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and beyond, many families settled in the region in and around what is now Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Many of these families were of Scots-Irish descent and brought with them their traditions, music, language, and methods of survival. Life in the mountains was sometimes harsh but the mountains were home to many of these families, some of which remain in the area today.

Numerous educational programs and activities offered at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park showcase life in the southern mountains.

 
farmer with Cumberland Mountain in background

Farmer working in a field near Caylor, Virginia with Cumberland Mountain in background

Photo by Earl Palmer

Survival in the southern mountains meant living off of the land. Between the mountain ridges, the valleys were much more fertile and better to farm. Wild plants served to cure many of the more common mountain ailments and crops such as corn and sorghum were staples of the people that lived throughout the region. Hogs, sheep, chickens, and some cattle provided food, milk, and eggs. All activities were generally geared toward survival.

Did You Know?

Wheelchair Accessible Symbol

Designated sites at the park’s Wilderness Road Campground are fully accessible. These sites feature hardened surfaces, increased fire grate height and wheelchair-friendly picnic tables. Many of the park's other facilities are fully accessible as well! More...