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Contact: Carol Borneman, (606) 248-2817
The Chadwell Gap Trail, located in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (NHP), will once again be opened to hikers and horseback
riders beginning April 15th. This popular trail, leading to the Ridge Trail and the historic Hensley Settlement, has been closed for over eight years. According to Park Superintendent Mark Woods, the original Chadwell Gap trailhead had been located on private property. “For years, the Thomas families in Lee County, Virginia had been very generous in allowing park visitors to cross their property to access the trail. But the families were growing. To respect the Thomas families’ privacy, we closed the Chadwell Gap Trail until we could secure another trailhead. We certainly thank the Thomas families for their years of generosity and kindness in allowing visitors to park their vehicles on their land and travel through their property.” Cumberland Gap NHP recently purchased land from a private landowner on which to build a parking lot and trailhead.
Superintendent Woods explains that the new trailhead is located only about ½ mile to the east of the former trailhead. “Folks who hiked the Chadwell Gap Trail in the past will have no difficulty in locating the new parking area. While traveling on Virginia’s Highway 58, access County Road 690 in Caylor, Virginia to its intersection with County Road 688. Travel east/northeast on 688 for approximately one mile to the signed and graveled parking area located on the left hand side of the road.” The parking area will accommodate horse trailers and also has hitching posts. Signs will soon be placed on Highway 58 directing visitors to the reopened trail. Woods also describes the 2.64 mile long trail as delightful. “Though it’s a strenuous hike with one gaining at least 2000 feet in the first two miles, the trail meanders alongside great sandstone outcroppings, nearby historic coke ovens and through a beautiful hardwood forest. This trail is a must for wildflower enthusiasts; spring beauties and hepatica carpet the forest floor in the spring while great specimens of Jack-in-the-Pulpit make an appearance in late spring and early summer.”
Hikers and horse back riders are reminded that overnight use requires a backcountry use permit which must be picked up in person at the park visitor center. The backcountry permit is free of charge. Trail users are also reminded that they should always alert other family members of their plans, carry plenty of water and be prepared for any type of weather that they might encounter while on the mountain.
For information or maps of the park’s almost seventy miles of trails, contact the park visitor center at 606-248-2817, extension 1075.