Kentucky Scenic Drives: Wilderness Road Heritage Highway

Highlights of the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway

©2007 Cumberland Gap is the second-largest historical park in the nation and features numerous sites of interest.

The scenic landscape of the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway is a continuous flow of dramatic views, refreshing small towns, and historically significant features. You will notice a progression in the scenery and land as you move northward along the byway.

In the south, the dramatic Cumberland Gap gives you a chance to see a naturally occurring break in a geological formation. The Pine Mountain Range gives way to gentler, rolling hills as you travel northward on the byway. These foothills are home to picturesque small farms, grazing cattle, tobacco fields, and forested hillsides.

This itinerary gives a few of the highlights moving along the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway from north to south.

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum: In Renfro Valley is the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, honoring all genres of music and musical artists.

Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park: Near London is the Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. In the 20 years after 1774 more than 200,000 pioneers traveled over the Wilderness Road and Boone's Trace during the settlement of Kentucky. Today, visitors can walk in the footsteps of the early pioneers on hiking trails that include original portions of these historic paths.

Colonel Sanders Cafe and Museum: Just a bit off the scenic byway but well worth the brief detour is the town of Corbin, home of the Colonel Sanders Café and Museum. First opened in 1940, this is the location of Harland Sanders's first restaurant where he developed his famous chicken recipe.

Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site: Just five miles southwest of Barbourville is Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site. Preceding Daniel Boone into Kentucky by 17 years, Dr. Walker led the first exploration into the Cumberland Gap, and a reconstruction of the log cabin he built can be toured.

: At the far end of the Wilderness Road Heritage High-way is the town of Middlesboro. A few of the must-sees include the P-38 Lost Squadron Museum, a World War II P-38 Lightning that was recovered from a Greenland ice cap under 268 feet of ice, and the Bell County Coal Museum and Coal House.

: The climax of the trip is this park, featuring several historic and natural points of interest. Rangers guide visitors on an adventure through majestic cathedral-like Gap Cave. A shuttle transports visitors to the remote Hensley Settlement. And of course a trek to Cumberland Gap itself is a must.

The byway winds through many historic towns, including Middlesboro, that provide a variety of entertainment and sites for the visitor. Outside of these towns, small farms and rolling green hills welcome travelers in the north -- while the grand Cumberland Gap and Pine Mountain Range excite the travelers in the south. All the way through, this is a route to remember.

Find more useful information related to Kentucky's Wilderness Road Heritage Highway:

  • Kentucky Scenic Drives: The Wilderness Road Heritage Highwayis just one of the scenic byways in Kentucky. Check out the others.
  • Berea, London, Middlesboro, Renfro Valley: Find out what there is to do in these cities along the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway.
  • Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Kentucky? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.