• fog flows through Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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    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.

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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?

Fire Pink, a bright red appalachian wildflower.

Although Cumberland Gap is designated a national historical park, 14,000 of its 24,000 acres have been proposed, and are managed, as wilderness.