It was a colder, but beautiful day here in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park.
We drove from the campground a couple of miles to the town of Cumberland Gap, TN while admiring the colors.
We drove past the Daniel Boone Visitor Information Center, .....
and on into town following the signs to the Iron Furnace parking area.
We were going to hike to the top of Tri-State Peak above our Jeep in the photo below.
That's the mountain where Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky come together and it's also the mountan the Cumberland Gap Tunnel runs through.
We started up the paved path ....
toward the Iron Furnace, .....
a remnant of an iron smelting business that was here beside Gap Creek from the 1820s - 1880s.
From there, we walked up the gravel trail known as the Tennessee Road Trail until it connected to the Wilderness Road Trail, .....
which was at one time known as The Warrior's Path.
Long before pioneers used the Wilderness Road to make their way through Cumberland Gap, the Cherokee to the south and the Shawnee to the north used this trail to attack each other.
We continued up the trail until we reached what is known as "The Saddle of the Gap" where we found this sign.
"Salt seeking buffalo, Moccasin clad warrior, Dreaming pioneer, Battling Civil War soldier. Each was here in the Cumberland Gap and now so are you".
This is what I was looking for - the single point in the area that is truly the Cumberland Gap, the low point in the mountains where hundreds of thousands of early Americans walked west. From "The Saddle" the trail started down toward Kentucky.
We walked down a little ways to get a better view of the expanse ahead.
We walked back to "The Saddle" and took the Tri-State Peak Trail .....
up beside the monument marking the "Daniel Boone Trail" from North Carolina to Kentucky which overlaps with Wilderness Road.
We continued up the leaf-covered Tri-Peak Trail ....
where we had brief views of Pinnacle Point where we were a couple of days ago.
Eventually, we came to the spot where Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky come together.
That spot is 1.2 miles from the Iron Furnace parking lot and the hike is all uphill. Unfortunately, the only view from there is out toward Middlesboro, KY and it is obstructed by power lines.
From the three states marker, the Cumberland Trail begins.
It's the starting point for what will be a 300-mile hiking trail from here in Cumberland Gap to Signal Mountain outside of Chattanooga. Check out the Cumberland Trail Conference website for more information on the project.
We continued up the Cumberland Trail to the top of the mountain where there is a short boardwalk and a sign indicating "Fort Farragut, Elevation 2040".
There was a little bit of a view .....
but not much to look at. I just wanted to get to the top since we'd come that far and it was only a couple tenths of a mile extra to get there although one of the steepest parts of the trail was on the way.
We took it easy going back down.
It was pretty with Pinnacle Point in front of us ....
and the town of Cumberland Gap down below.
It was a nice stroll back down to the parking area. With a little extra walking, it was about a three-mile roundtrip.
Back in the Jeep, we decided to take a little tour of Cumberland Gap.
They have a couple of B & Bs, an Inn, and a few of restaurants and coffee shops. Nothins Perfect is a store, visitors center, coffee & tea shop, and a restaurant all in one.
There is a hike & bike trail and a bicycle museum.
We walked around the town and visited Festival Park to look at the pumpkins that will be in tomorrow's carving contest.
It was a lovely Fall day, as we walked and drove around town.
We then left Cumberland Gap and went through the tunnel toward Middlesboro ....
where we needed to make a couple stops at the Walmart and Kroger.
Soon, we were heading back into the campground.
We had a relaxing evening until the Louisville vs. Florida State football game, where my Cardinals looked good early and I was pretty fired up. But the collapse eventually came and the #2 team in the country made our defense look silly. Oh well, basketball season is almost here. :)
Tomorrow's activities depend on the weather. We may get some rain and the timing will determine whether we do another hike. I want to do at least one longer hike while we're here, so we'll see if we can squeeze it in tomorrow or if we'll have to wait until Saturday. But at least we walked through THE Cumberland Gap today. :)