Wilderness Road Heritage Highway

State: Kentucky
Length: 93.8 mi / 151 km
Time to Allow: 2 hours to drive through, or two days to fully explore the area

Wilderness Road Heritage Highway holds an important spot in American history. This highway leads to Cumberland Gap, called the “Warriors Path” by Native Americans in the area, which was a crucial path through the Appalachian Mountains. This naturally occurring gap was one of the few easy ways to traverse the mountain range, and not only acted as a thoroughfare for different groups of people making their way West but became a veritable highway as settlers made their way further across the United States. Today, you don’t have to rough it like the original peoples who crossed this area, as this byway allows you to enjoy the breathtaking views without having to worry about taking a wagon or a horse through the mountains. Wilderness Road Heritage Highway leads to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, a unique location that allows visitors to experience American history as they’ve never seen it before.

For those who are not history buffs, there are plenty of entertainment options available along this roadway, including plenty of outdoor recreation areas that you can stop at and enjoy the scenery. Those who are fans of shopping will find themselves right at home along this byway, as many of the small communities that line this road offer homemade crafts for purchase, allowing you to take a part of Kentucky with you. Those especially fond of homemade crafts should be sure to stop and check out Berea, the Crafts Capital of Kentucky, but should probably make sure they have plenty of room in their suitcase to bring all of the incredible fines they pick up back with them when they leave.

Those looking to explore the natural areas around this byway will be overjoyed to find plenty of rivers, trails, forests, and even caves lining this incredible road. Those looking to take a day trip to the area will find plenty of camping and hiking options, as well as river activities to fill up their days. Spelunkers will find themselves enamored with the various cave formations in the area, especially those tied to the coal industry that was so instrumental in Kentucky’s growth as a state. For those fans of trees out there, Daniel Boone National Forest is home to red oaks, birches, red maples, and many other varieties of trees, as well as rocky cliff faces and views that are sure to take your breath away.

No matter what brings you to this area of Kentucky, you’re sure to find yourself falling in love with the natural scenery and incredible views that line Wilderness Road Heritage Highway, and will be sure to add it to your itinerary for return trips to the area. After all, it’s hard to pass up a visit to an area so steeped in both local and national history, and that is packed with so many entertainment and recreation opportunities. Just make sure to keep an eye on the craftaholic shopper of your group, otherwise, they may find themselves leaving with more than a full wagon worth of crafts and souvenirs!

More Kentucky Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Kentucky by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Kentucky Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.