• fog flows through Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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  • Cumberland Gap Tip Line

    Help protect your national park! Report any crimes or suspicious activity including damage or theft of park resources. More »

  • No Cave Tours or Hensley Tours on September 27

    There will be no Gap Cave or Hensley Settlement tours offered on September 27, 2014 due to special Heritage Walk program. For more information please call the park visitor center at (606) 248-2817, extension 1075.

  • 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.

  • Back the Bears!

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

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?

President Abraham Lincoln

At one time it was proposed that a gigantic head of Abraham Lincoln be carved in the face of the Pinnacle Overlook.