Driving along Route 58 in Southwest Virginia, you can't miss the Cumberland Mountainsrising up beside you, seemingly guiding you to a new adventure. Adventure surely awaited the settlers who traveled through these same mountains to expand our nation westward.
Today, Wilderness Road State Park, our April Park of the Month,
serves as a reminder of these earlier times and adventurers.
They were on the greatest adventure of their time. Some of these men traveled alone but some brought their families along as they headed toward the Capt. Joseph Martin. Designed to provide protection and rest to travelers, it was also a place to gather supplies for the next portion of the journey.
Today, this page from American history is just one of the stories told at Cumberland Gap National Park. In 1999, Wilderness Road State Park embarked on an adventure of its own. The park set out to build a replica of the famed Martin’s Station. It took over a year to build using costumed interpreters and 18th century tools and techniques. Now, it is nationally recognized not only for the authentic replica of the fort but also the high level of interpretive programming. Once you park your car and begin walking toward the fort, you are immersed in 18th Century culture.
How does a man show his family he loves them? He builds them a mansion, of course. In 1877, the Karlan Mansion, then known as Elydale, was built out of one man’s love for his family. The love shows itself in the features of the handcrafted walnut and marble fireplaces and intricate detailed pie safe, still in the mansion today.
Today, the traditions of sharing love with family continue. The Museum Room in the Mansion lets us have a peek at the thoughts of Robert Ely as he worked on this gift of love. The mansion is the area’s premier site for gatherings such as weddings, family reunions, and group functions. Spending time with the ones we love, is a gift we should all give ourselves.
Wilderness Road is a park perfect for a day visit. Whether you want to spend the day immersed in history, enjoy a picnic, or take a hike along the Wilderness Road Trail, there is something for everyone in this 310 acre park.
You may want to start your day at the Visitor Center. The gift shop, museum, and theater can all be found in the Visitor Center. “Wilderness Road – Spirit of a Nation” is a docu-drama that was produced especially for the park. When it is over, your day will just be beginning.
With nearly 10 miles of trails in this park, it offers not only hiking opportunities but most of the trail is open to biking and horseback riding. The majority of the trail is easy, with less than a mile of the trails at the park rated moderate. This is a trail system that the entire family can enjoy and experience together.
Gather your group together for lunch. Picnic shelters are available to rent as well as picnic tables sprinkled throughout the park.
Open fields nestled at the edge of the Cumberland Mountains allow kids and adults alike to stop and enjoy the beauty. The exploration of Wilderness Road is limited only by the imagination.
Plan your visit to explore this unique park today. camping and cabins. You can reserve a picnic shelter by calling our customer service center at 800-933-7275.