- 93.8 miles (151 km)
- Two hours to drive or two days to visit places along the way.
Trace the footsteps of early pioneers and explorers along the Wilderness Road Heritage Scenic Byway. From panoramic views of the Appalachians in the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, to a community culture centered on folk art and mountain music, the Byway is packed with reasons to immerse yourself in the woodland culture of the Southeast. Beginning in the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, the Byway follows the trail marked by Daniel Boone and traveled by early pioneers years ago. Tap your toes to the mountain music, take a historic tour, or explore a scenic trail on horseback or with nothing but a backpack filled with essentials.
A little further up the Byway, you will discover Kentucky Community Crafts, just north of Barbourville. You will be sure to chance upon the perfect unique handcrafted souvenir made by local mountain craftspeople. Continue your journey to the Daniel Boone National Forest, where the recreation opportunities are endless! Spend a day hiking the trails, boating and fishing at one of the privately owned marinas, and spend a relaxing night surrounded by nature at one of the campsites.
End your drive in the "Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky," Berea. Named after a biblical town, Berea was founded by citizens sympathetic to emancipation and abolition. Today the town is known for its prominent Liberal Arts college, Berea College, and is home to the Berea Crafts Fair and Kentucky Guild of Artist and Craftsmen Fair. Don't miss touring this fascinating town to learn more about the idealism and activism of its founders, and celebrate its modern local culture.
Take a step back into the past on the Byway by celebrating the culture that still thrives in its communities.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Wasioto is a Shawnee Indian word which means "Valley of theDeer." You may not spot a deer, but there is plenty of opportunityfor golfing on this links type golf course in the mountains. TheWasioto Winds golf course at Pine Mountain State Resort Park offersgolfers a chance to play in a picturesque setting, with the coursesurrounded by mountains, complete with 3 lakes and streams. Thecourse includes wide car paths, practice range, two practiceputting greens and an indoor-use training center. Miniature golf isalso available.
Located in Pine Mountain State Resort Park, KY
Barbourville is a small town just located off of the WildernessRoad Heritage Highway, and is home to Union College. Union College,a college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, is over ahundred years old, and still maintains a focus on community serviceand learning. Barbourville hosts the Daniel Boone Festival inOctober, and the first Kentucky Fried Chicken that was establishedis not far away.
Barbourville, KY just east of US25E at the junction of KY6 and KY11
"Folk Arts and Crafts Capitol of Kentucky". Welcoming visitors since 1855, this community of 10,000 is home to over 200 artists, 30 gift shops, studios and galleries plus many antique shops. It is also home to the historically significant Berea College. The downtown and college campus are very pedestrian friendly with tours available. Berea is home to three major craft fairs in May, July and October each year. Opening in the summer of 2003 is the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. Berea offers southern hospitality and Appalachian Traditional handicrafts.
North end of byway.
Berea Artisans (KY)
Over 120 artisans and craftsmen work and sell their crafts inBerea, making it the Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky.High quality traditional items and skills are made and displayed inBerea from dulcimers, weaving, woodworking, sculptures, artists,basket making, and much more. There are a variety of stores thatyou can visit to check out these unique items. In addition to thesecraftsmen, Berea College is also home to students who are skilledcraftsmen. During the year, Berea is naturally the site of craftfairs, festivals, traditional folk dances, and music.
Berea College (KY)
Berea College was founded on the belief of equality in education for men and women of all races. Cassius Clay, a leader and advocate of emancipation of slavery, offered John G. Fee a homestead of 10-acres to begin a school/church. 145 years later, the college still maintains this dedication to education and has a focus on service primarily within the Appalachian region.
Berea College provides a high quality education focused on liberal arts, and is ranked in the US News & World Report as one of the topliberal arts colleges in the South. Students receive full tuition,and in return, they must work while going to school. This promotes a focus on labor and service, and many students are trained in the traditional crafts which make Berea the Crafts Capital of Kentucky.
Camp Wildcat (KY)
Camp Wildcat was the first area in Kentucky to see action duringthe American Civil War. On October 21, 1861 Union troops facedConfederate troops that had moved in to Kentucky through theCumberland Gap. Brigadier General Albin Scheopf of the Union armybrought reinforcements to Colonel Garrard who was preparing CampWildcat as the Confederate troops under General Zollicoffer movednorth from London toward Camp Wildcat. Although the battle was notcostly in terms of battle casualties, diseases such as measles andfever which followed the battle took more lives. Today, the site isremote and various groups are trying to maintain it. There is awalking trail with monuments at the head of the trail which willlead you to the outlines of the trenches that remain from theBattle of Wildcat Mountain in 1861.
On US25 near Livingston, KY
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (KY)
Carved by the natural elements, such as wind and water, theCumberland Gap has been the gateway through the AppalachianMountains. Animals, Native Americans, trappers, and pioneers usedthis gap to access the pristine lands in Kentucky. It is estimatedthat between 1775-1810 200,000 and 300,000 people traveled throughthe gap. Follow in the footsteps of famous explores like DanielBoone and experience the many sites at the Cumberland Gap NationalHistoric Park. With 50 miles of hiking trails, there is somethingfor everyone, from short nature trails to overnight treks. Inaddition to this, there are many sites to see at the park andrangers provide activities and tours of some of the sites. You canwalk along the Wilderness Road, visit longhunter and pioneerencampments, and enjoy campfire programs.
Other attractions are the Hensley Settlement, a restoredmountain community which shows what life would have been like as anearly pioneer in Kentucky. White Rocks is a massive limestoneoutcropping that was a landmark for those traveling the WildernessRoad, and Sand Cave is a 75-foot high sandstone overhang which isdecorated with different colors of sand.
Near Middlesboro, KY
Daniel Boone National Forest (KY)
Located in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, the Daniel Boone National Forest encompasses over 700,000 acres of land. This land is generally rugged and characterized by steep forested ridges, narrow valleys, and over 3,400 miles of cliffline.
Dr. Thomas Walker State Historical Site (KY)
Dr. Walker, a physician and surveyor from Virginia, was thefirst to lead an expedition through the Cumberland Gap. Most peoplerecall Daniel Boone when thinking about explorers, however, in 1750Walker passed through the gap and went on to explore Kentucky. Dr.Thomas Walker State Historical Site celebrates this pioneer andexplorer and a replica of the cabin he built stands on the 12-acresite. The house and the surrounding area may be toured year round,and there are a variety of facilities to enjoy while there.
Just east of Barbourville on KY6, KY
Kentucky Community Crafts (KY)
Kentucky Community Crafts is a unique opportunity to see qualitycrafts in a natual setting. Mountain craftsmen demonstrate and selltheir crafts from cabins. Workshops and crafting classes areavailable to the public to introduce visitors to this uniqueexperience.