During the trip I mentioned in the previous entry, we passed signs for the Cumberland Gap. There was some debate among us in the car about where this is, exactly, and what mountain range it cuts through.
(map from Cumberland Gap Wedding Chapel)
The Cumberland Gap indicated with the red star is actually a gap between mountains (a map showing the Gap's gap-itude is available here). As you can see, the Gap is in Tennessee, right near the northern border with Virginia and the northeast border with Kentucky.
At the border of Tennessee, the highway US25E becomes a tunnel that drives through the mountain pass.
- The Gap is a natural opening, carved out by wind, in the Appalachian Mountains.
- Large animals first used the Gap on their migrations westward, Native Americans followed the path that game had made, and settlers also used the Gap on their own journeys to the west.
- The Gap's heyday in the westward migration was between 1775 and 1810, when an estimated 200,000 to 300,00 people passed through it.
Virginia Places, Dr. Thomas Walker
Cumberland Gap National Park