The natural resources of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park are rich and diverse. However, they have been altered during the past two centuries by logging operations, highway construction, Civil War activities, agricultural practices, visitors, development in the adjacent area, fire, and chestnut blight.
East of the gap lies 15,470 acres of roadless area extending 15 miles along Cumberland and Brush Mountains. The Kentucky-Virginia State line is the sheer ridge of the Cumberland Mountain. Both Cumberland and Brush Mountains are exceedingly steep and rugged, forming high cliffs in many areas.
The park contains more than 80 miles of foot and horse trails and five backcountry camping areas. Exotic species occur throughout the previously and presently developed areas of the park. Kudzu, privet, and Japanese honeysuckle are surpassing native species in disturbed sites. Several other exotic grasses, shrubs, and trees are found in the park.