MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WJHL)- After hiking around .5 miles, travelers from all across the country get to stand in the same spot where their ancestors did, hundreds of years ago.
Park rangers say around 47 to 54 million Americans are able to trace their ancestors back to the Cumberland Gap, or as it’s also known, The Gateway to the West.
You can read more on the history of the gap in the link below.
To get to the Cumberland Gap itself, hikers first need to start off on the Object Lesson Road Trail, which, back in the day, was one of the first real roads built. This provided early enginners a lesson in road building.
Carol Borneman, the Supervisory Park Ranger at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park shows us why knowing this is so important.
Borneman adds that, once a hiker passes through the gap themselves, they become a part of history themselves.
The spot that hikers get to travel through while hiking to Gap is also important, because just 26 years ago, the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park had Highway 25 traveling right through the middle of it.
Nearly 20,000 cars were traveling on the highway almost everyday, but in 1950, Congress and the park service said the highway would be removed and the gap would be restored.
Borneman explains more in the video below.
Once hikers reach the gap, they have the option to turn around or head up a new trail. One of which takes you to the Tri-States Peak, a spot where visitors can be in 3 states at once. Watch the video below for more details.
Whether you want a good view after the hike to the gap, or just want to experience the sunrise or sunset in 4 states, this next spot is worth the visit. Just a 2-mile drive from the entrance to the Object Lesson Road Trail, hikers can visit the Pinnacle Overlook!
This spot is very unique because on a clear day, visitors can see North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. This spot also offers the opportunity to stand in 2 different states, as you park in Kentucky and have to enter into Virginia to get to the overlook! More details in the video below.
It’s important to note, this spot at the Pinnacle Overlook is open 24 hours a day.