Looking to visit Wilderness Road State Park?
Located right down the road from the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, the Wilderness Road State Park is a great place to stop and visit while you are in the area.
From the rich history of Wilderness Road, Daniel Boone, and the early settlers of Martin’s Station, this park is definitely a great place to visit and is full of rich history. Read on to learn more about what to expect before you head that way!
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How Do I Get to Wilderness Road State Park?
Wilderness Road State Park is right down the road from Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Ewing, Virginia.
The physical address is: 8051 Wilderness Rd Trail, Ewing, VA 24248 and is easily located right off the main road.
A Little History About Wilderness Road State Park
The Wilderness Road State Park was established in 1993 and sits on over 300 acres right in the Cumberland Gap area. The park is right in the same vicinity of what was formerly known as Wilderness Road.
Daniel Boone and many of the early settlers helped pave the way for westward expansion by creating what was known as the Wilderness Road, which was a path that led many families out west.
Besides the historical significance of Wilderness Road and surrounding areas, the park’s grounds are also home to Karlan’s Mansion that was built in 1877. This house is full of interesting history and is also available for rental for special events, weddings, etc.
Wilderness Road State Park also has a replica of Martin’s Station, an early colonial settlement dating back to 1775 that was originally established around this region.
If you are looking to learn a little more about the Wilderness Road or early settlements in this area, here are a few suggestions to check out before you head that way.
Arriving at Wilderness Road State Park Visitor Center
Immediately upon arriving at the Wilderness Road State Park, you will come to a ticket booth where you will pay a small admission for parking.
The cost for parking at the time that we went was $5.00. To check for the most current parking rate, check the Virginia State Parks website for the most recent and up to date information.
Park Operating Hours
The park is open daily from 8:00am to dusk. The Visitor Center and gift shop are typically open every day from 8:00am – 4:30pm. And Martin’s Station is open Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm.
We recommend calling to double-check the days and times that you are visiting before you head that way as dates and times are always subject to change. For more information about Wilderness Road State Park, call (276) 445-3065.
Wilderness Road State Park Visitor Center
Once inside the park, the Visitor Center is a great place to begin your visit and familiarize yourself with the area.
The park ranger on duty that day in the visitor center was super helpful and very knowledgeable of the area. We spent some time talking to him and learning more about the park, the history, and how to make the most of our visit.
There are also some great historical displays in the visitor center so take a little time to walk around and explore before you head outside.
And of course be sure to peruse the gift shop area. There are plenty of things for all ages. From books about Wilderness Road, Daniel Boone and the surrounding areas, to plenty of options for the kids to grab a little keepsake to remember their visit!
Watch the Video “Wilderness Road, Spirit of a Nation”
If time allows, be sure to take time to watch the film they show in the visitor center, “Wilderness Road, Spirit of a Nation.” The film is about 20 minutes long and is supposed to be really good!
Unfortunately we were a little tight on time and didn’t get a chance to watch it. Maybe next time!
Have a Picnic at Wilderness Road State Park
Although we had already had our picnic earlier that day at Cumberland Gap, there are several picnic areas easily accessible as well!
Visit Martin’s Station
Once you are ready to explore outside, head on over to the Martin’s Station area. You can walk from the visitor’s center or drive and park near the cabin.
History of Joseph Martin
Right near the parking area is a monument that tells a little more about Joseph Martin and the significance of the area.
Take a Little Walk Back in Time
When you head past the cabin you will walk through a pretty wooded area as you make your way back to Martin’s Station.
As you continue on, it opens up into a beautiful valley situated right at the base of the mountains.
That particular day that we were there, they had live demonstrations and reinactments of what life was like at Martin’s Station during this time. We had no idea that we were in for quite a treat that day!
Exploring the Buildings
We were greeted by a soldier and he began explaining a TON of history about Martin’s Station. His knowledge was quite impressive of the history of not only Martin’s Station but also of the area. If you can make it during a day that they are doing reenactments, we HIGHLY recommend it!
We learned all about the buildings inside the fort as well as their purpose and what they were used for during that time.
The fort area is very well maintained and some of the little touches like wagon wheels and posted proclamations made it all seem so authentic.
They described different ways of living from trapping animals for fur (like otters, bears, etc.), to a gun demonstration with a rifle from that time period.
Another building was the blacksmith shop where we watched them forge a nail. (Which we got to keep as a little keepsake!)
There were also plenty of other settlers milling about and working on shoes and other things that the early settlers might have been doing during this time.
See the Farm Animals
One of our favorite parts was visiting Bacon Bit, their Mulefoot hog over in his pen. This particular species is very rare, so it was interesting to learn more about this animal and its history.
They also had some sheep in the pen next to the fort which were fun to see!
As we wrapped up our day, we took one last look at the fort and reflected on how life during this period was for the early settlers. And how much they paved the way for our lives that we live very comfortably today.
See the Buffalo
The last thing we did before we headed out was try to find the buffalo that they have on property at the Wilderness Road State Park.
That particular day was a rather warm one, so they were off huddled in the shadows of the woods and we couldn’t see them up close. We did see them from afar when we first got there in the field nearby the parking booth. Depending on the day, you may be able to see them more up close!
Final Thoughts on Wilderness Road State Park
From the beautiful views of the surrounding areas, to the amazing visit at Martin’s Station, Wilderness Road State Park was a win in our books! We highly recommend trying to visit during the times that they have reinactments as it added a ton of value to our experience!
We absolutely loved visiting Wilderness Road State Park! It is a great place to make more memories with your family as you explore the area of the many early settlers that contributed to the gateway to westward expansion!
So have you ever been to Wilderness Road State Park before? What was your favorite part of the park? And if you are in the area, be sure to visit Cumberland Gap National Historical Park right around the corner!
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