Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, all trailheads at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (NHP) are now open as the park continues to increase accessibility in phased stages. The National Park Service (NPS) continues to work servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities in closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
With public health in mind, the following at Cumberland Gap remain temporarily closed:
• Pinnacle Road
• Wilderness Road Campground
• Backcountry Campsites
• Visitor Center
• Picnic Shelters
While the Pinnacle Road is closed, visitors can hike several trails leading to the Pinnacle Overlook for a commanding view into Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and the historic Cumberland Gap mountain pass, which served as the first doorway to the west. On clear days, a faint view of the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina is possible, a distance of 100 miles.
Visitors accessing the Lewis Hollow Trailhead will need to park in the Colson Lane parking area on the entrance road leading to the Wilderness Road Campground.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continue to be paramount. At Cumberland Gap, we are examining each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance,” said Park Superintendent Charles Sellars. “We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowding
and high-risk outdoor activities.
“Visitors are reminded to plan accordingly as no restroom facilities are open at this time,” emphasized Sellars.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Park staff will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the park’s website www.nps.gov/cuga and social media channels https://www.facebook.com/CumberlandGapNHP/ and https://mobile.twitter.com/CumberlandGapNP.
Visitors can also call 606-248-2817.
NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.