Now that spring is officially here, the National Park Service is beginning to welcome visitors back to their most popular and scenic locations. Take for example Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, which stretches across parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. This weekend, Cumberland Gap will play host to a series of great events, with something to offer the entire family.
The festivities get underway on Saturday, when visitors will have the opportunity to meet legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone himself. Boone will be on hand beginning at 10 AM to regale young and old alike with tales of his daring adventures inside the Cumberland Gap, which he helped explore. His daring exploits eventually cleared the way for westward expansion by early American pioneers. Daniel will be in the park’s visitor center throughout the day, with his famous flintlock rifle close at hand.
On Sunday it’s movie day in the park, with a special screening of a Kentucky Life special that will take viewers to the top of the Cumberland Gap and then descend into the depths of Mammoth Cave. The film will also highlight the important role that Kentucky played in the early development of America, opening the way for settlers to travel west. The screening begins at 2 PM in the visitor center auditorium, with traditional movie snacks on hand for the show.
Perhaps the best activity is reserved for Monday however, when park rangers will take visitors on a guided moonlight hike through the Cumberland Gap itself. The route is specially planned out so that hikers will arrive at the saddle of the Gap just as the moon rises above the surrounding mountains. If you want to take part in the 1.2 mile round trip hike, simply be at the Thomas Walker parking area at 8 PM, and be sure to bring your hiking shoes.
I’m sure these will be just the first of many great activities in Cumberland National Park in the months ahead, but why not make a weekend out of it, and try to take in all three options? The moonlight hike sounds especially promising.