Explore Cumberland Gap

20 Miles Round Trip - 200 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park Campground - Search Nearby - Added by Jen Seiser

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park is an awesome place to check out for a weekend. There is a waterfall, great backpacking hike, historic village and sand caves all within a small range.

I made a two night trip out of this adventure and spent the first night in the town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. This town was even smaller than we expected. The plan was to stay at the Old Mille Bed and Breakfast, but they were all booked up by the time we arrived. Instead, the town’s mayor, who we met at dinner suggested the only other accommodation in town- The Cumberland Gap Inn. All I can say about this accommodation, is that it served it’s purpose and added to our experience of Appalachia. We lucked out and caught a showing of A River Wild on the twenty year old television and had a nice evening enjoying the simple, quiet town. The second night we back country camped in the Cumberland Gap National Forest. To do this, we picked up a free permit at the visitor’s center and stayed in Martin’s Fork Site. While it is still back country camping, you need to sleep in designated areas allotted for camping, we didn’t love this part of the park but it worked out fine since the park was so empty. At Martin’s Fork there is also a cabin (full of mice!) available to rent and sleep in. White Rocks may be a better site choice for future visits if it is free.

On our way down to Cumberland Gap National Forest on the Tennessee/Virginia boarder, we went out of our way a bit to check out Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. This is a decent size waterfall for the area and it is located in a well maintained State Park.

From here, we headed to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee for the night where we checked out the Iron Furnace and explored the happenings of the small town for the evening. In the morning we passed back through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel to begin our hike on the Ridge Trail. We did about 20 miles in two days, which was a challenging hike given the elevation increase. Sites worth checking out along the hike are the Hensley Settlement, Sand Cave and the White Rocks Overlook.


Easy Parking
Picnic Area


20 Miles
200 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Corbin, Kentucky


London, Kentucky

Holly Bay

London, Kentucky

Craigs Creek Group Area

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