Appalachian Mountains

Cumberland Gap is located just north of the spot where the states of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia meet. Cumberland Gap, Tennessee was named from the pass.

The Gap was formed as an ancient creek, flowing southward, cut through the land being pushed up to form the mountains. As the land rose even more, the creek reversed direction flowing into the Cumberland River to the north. Used in prehistoric times by migrating animal herds, the Indians used it after their arrival into North America.

The Duke of Cumberland, Prince William Augustus, sponsored an expedition in 1750 into this area and the gap was named after him.

In 1775, Daniel Boone brought a company of men to cut out a path through the gap to enable a settlement effort by the Transylvania Company in Transylvania. The trail became known as the 'Wilderness Road'. It was widened in the 1790's to accommodate wagon traffic.

It is estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 immigrants passed through the gap on their way into Kentucky and the Ohio Valley before 1810.


Picture of Cumberland Gap: This work is in the public domain because it is a work of the United States federal Government. This applies worldwide.