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Wilderness Road State Park

8051 Wilderness Rd., Ewing, VA 24248; Phone: 276-445-3065; Email: WildernessRoad@dcr.virginia.gov

Location of Wilderness Road State Park in Virginia

About this park ...

Google map thumbnail showing Wilderness Road State Park's location Click for Wilderness Road State Park Forecast
Latitude, 36.633168. Longitude, -83.527348.

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General Information

Wilderness Road offers picnicking, hiking, and nature and living history programs. Visitors can enjoy the visitor center, home to a theater showing an award-winning docudrama, "Wilderness Road, Spirit of a Nation." The center also has a frontier museum and a gift shop with unique regional gifts. The park features the reconstructed Martin's Station, an outdoor living history museum depicting life on Virginia's 1775 frontier. Guests also enjoy the park's picnic shelters, 100-seat amphitheater, nature play-scape, ADA-certified playground, sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits. Visitors can hike, bike or horseback ride on the 8.5-mile Wilderness Road Trail linking the park with more than 50 miles of trails in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The 1870s era mansion is available for weddings and meetings. It has a solarium that's perfect for showers, birthdays and other special functions. The park's visitor center theater and amphitheater also are available for group functions.

Hours

8 a.m. - dusk.

Location

At the intersection of Routes 58 (Wilderness Road) and 923 (Martin's Station Trail), five miles west of Ewing, Va., and 10 miles east of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, Ky.

Its address is 8051 Wilderness Road, Ewing, Va. 24248.
Latitude, 36.633168. Longitude, -83.527348.

Drive Time: Northern Virginia, 10 hours; Richmond, eight hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 11 hours; Roanoke, five hours.

Directions:

From Interstate 75 (Kentucky): Take exit 29 (Corbin, Ky.) and head south on U.S. 25 toward Middlesboro, Ky., for about 50 miles. Take first exit after passing through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel onto U.S. 58 (toward Jonesville, Va.). Wilderness Road State Park is about 8 miles ahead on the left (Martin’s Station Trail) across from Elydale Elementary School.

From Interstate 40 (Knoxville, Tenn.): Take exit 6 (Old Broadway) heading north on U.S. 441, which merges with Maynardville Highway (TN 33) near Halls Crossroads. Continue north on TN 33 about 25 miles to Tazewell, Tenn. Merge north onto U.S. 25E for about 10 miles to Harrogate, Tenn. Exit right onto U.S. 58 (toward Jonesville, Va.). Wilderness Road State Park is about 8 miles ahead on the left (Martin’s Station Trail) across from Elydale Elementary School.

From Interstate 81 (Bristol, Tenn.-Va.): Take Exit 74B south onto U.S. 11W (towards Kingsport, Tenn.). Go about 20 miles on U.S. 11W (Stone Drive). Exit right onto U.S. 23 north toward Gate City, Va. Go about 25 miles to Duffield, Va. At traffic light, turn left onto U.S. 58 and continue for about 40 miles. Wilderness Road State Park is on the right (Martin’s Station Trail) across from Elydale Elementary.

From Interstate 40 (Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tenn.): Travel east on I-40 about 15 miles. Take exit 421 onto Interstate 81 and head north. Go about 8 miles, then take exit 8 (Morristown, White Pine) north onto U.S. 25 and continue for about 40 miles until you reach Tazewell, Tenn. Stay on U.S. 25E another 10 miles to Harrogate, Tenn. Exit right onto U.S. 58 (toward Jonesville, Va.). Wilderness Road State Park is about 8 miles on the left (Martin’s Station Trail) across from Elydale Elementary School.

Park Size

About 310 acres.

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Cabins, camping

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES

The park offers primitive camping for groups. Campers must bring drinking water; portable toilets are available, showers are not. Reservations can be made at the visitor center. (Camping is also available six miles away at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, Ky.)

For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK. Rental rates for cabins and camping vary by season, dwelling and park. First, determine the appropriate season, which can vary by park, then the relevant rate. You also may want to learn about cancellation and transfer policies. A fee is charged per pet per night for cabin stays.

Cabins

None at this park.

Camping

Primitive camping for groups.

Recreation

TRAILS

Wilderness Road Trail, an 8.5-mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail, is registered as a stop on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. Indian Ridge Trail, a .77-mile self-guided, is a natural heritage trail.

Va. Outdoors sign

Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Wilderness Road's trails.

SWIMMING

None at this park.

FISHING, BOATING

There’s no fishing in the park, but nearby Powell River has plenty of redbreast sunfish, rock bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and musky. There are no public access points on the Powell River so anglers should get permission from the landowner before accessing the river from private land.

HORSES

None, but there is a bridle trail. State law requires that visitors carry a copy of a negative Coggins report with each horse brought to the park.

Park Trail Guide

Click here for the park's trail guide.

Nearby Attractions

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, Ky.; Historic Cumberland Gap, Tenn.; Pine Mountain State Park, Pineville, Ky.; Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, Harrogate, Tenn. Virginia Heritage Music Trail.

Picnic Shelters

Call the Customer Service Center at 800-933-7275 to rent a picnic shelter. Parking and other park fees are not included in the rental. Shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to dark (all day). Click here for park fees.

Wilderness Road has three picnic shelters and a 100-seat amphitheater for rent. Call 276-445-3065 to rent the amphitheater. Guests must pay applicable daily parking or admission fees. Contact the park before the day of your event to have such fees for your guests paid up-front. Also, a special use permit and additional fees may be required for any activities other than simply picnicking; call the park beforehand to discuss such issues.

Amenities: Shelters have grills, picnic tables, water, electricity, horseshoe pits and nearby parking. Restrooms, playground equipment and a volleyball court are also nearby.

Shelter 1: Seats 48 under shelter; can accommodate more in surrounding picnic area, but those tables are not included in the reservation of the shelter. It has a water spigot and two electrical outlets.

Shelter 2: Seats 48 under shelter; can accommodate more in surrounding picnic area, but those tables are not included in the reservation of the shelter. It has a water spigot and two electrical outlets.

Shelter 3: Seats 60 under shelter; can accommodate more in surrounding picnic area, but those tables are not included in the reservation of the shelter. There's a built-in fireplace, a water spigot and two electrical outlets.

The park's Karlan Mansion and amphiteater are popular spots for events, meetings and weddings. Click here for details about weddings here.

Meeting Space and Facilities

MEETING FACILITIES

The 1870s era Karlan Mansion is available for weddings and meetings. It has a solarium that's perfect for showers, birthdays and other special functions. A 50-seat theater in the visitor center and a 100-seat amphitheater are also available for group functions. The park is a well-liked wedding venue.

VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP

The LEED-compliant, state-of-the-art visitor center has a movie theater and the Powder Horn Gift Shop. The theater showcases Spirit of a Nation, which depicts the history of the Wilderness Road. Many 18th century replica items, as well as art, snacks and refreshments, can be bought in the gift shop. The center's hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Public restrooms are available.

RESTAURANT

None at this park.

LAUNDRY

None at this park.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER

None at this park.

SPECIAL FEATURES

Historic Martin's Station, an outdoor living history museum, offers daily living history programs. A full-size sand volleyball court, nature playscape and two horseshoe pitching areas near the picnic shelters, all free of charge.

AMPHITHEATER

The amphitheater, popular for weddings, can be rented from 8 a.m.to 8 p.m. (full day). Those renting may access the amphitheater before the start time if desired. To rent it, call 276-445-3065. The natural surroundings of the  amphitheater provide a beautiful, outdoor setting for many activities. The structure has one electrical outlet and is near shelter 1. Up to 90 can be accommodated on the uncovered wooden benches. Standing room can accommodate another 60. Guests are welcome to bring more chairs but should take care to remove them when leaving. No park equipment, such as a microphone, is provided.
Cancellation policy: No refund within a week before the date reserved. Before then, there's a cancellation fee
Amphitheater rules: So that there are no last-minute surprises, please carefully read the following. The reserved area includes the amphitheater and uncovered wood bench area. The grass area around the amphitheater is public. No pinning, gluing, thumb-tacking or nailing of decorations to the amphitheatre stage, walls or seats is allowed. Other decorations used in the area must be removed promptly after the event's occurrence. All park rules and regulations must be followed. State law permits alcohol use only in private areas (inside a cabin or camping unit) or in areas designated on permits issued by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Those planning more extravagant events must submit a special-use permit application at least 30 days in advance for approval by the park manager and state park central office staff. Call the park at 276-445-3065 for the form.

 

Other Info

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Visitor center, gift shop: The visitor center and gift shop facility is universally accessible with universally accessible restrooms and parking.
  • Shelters are universally accessible.
  • The amphitheater and stage are universally accessible. The path leading to them is unpaved.
  • Restrooms and parking near shelters are universally accessible.
  • The picnic area is universally accessible, but without paved sidewalks.
  • The Karlan Mansion's back entrance is universally accessible. Accessibility is limited to the first floor.
  • Martin’s Station Fort is universally accessible but individual cabins are not. The path and sidewalks are unpaved.
  • Playground equipment is ADA compliant.

NATURE AND HISTORICAL PROGRAMS

The park offers seasonal monthly programs, environmental and nature education programs, special events and living history discussions. Raid at Martin's Station (re-enactment), May, sponsored by Friends of Wilderness Road State Park. Wilderness Road Heritage Festival and Pumpkins in the Park, October. Christmas at Karlan and A Frontier Christmas, December. Click here to view all parks' events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.

CONCESSIONS

Gift items and other merchandise are available year-round at the visitor center's Powder Horn Gift Shop.

HISTORY

Wilderness Road State Park is in a geographically and historically significant region of Virginia. The park lies astride the Wilderness Road that winds down Powell's Valley. In 1775, Daniel Boone carved the Wilderness Road, and by 1800 more than 300,000 settlers traveled the Wilderness Road westward through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and the Midwest. Martin Station was originally settled by Joseph Martin, who arrived there on March 26, 1769, after a difficult journey. After an attack that fall by Native American warriors, Martin abandoned the station but returned in earnest in January 1775. Click here to visit the Friends of Wilderness Road's website, which provides historic details about Martin's Station.

Wilderness Road State Park was originally part of a farm owned by Robert M. Ely. The mansion was built in 1878, and several generations of Ely descendants lived there. The surrounding rural area still bears the name Elydale after the Ely family.

In the 1940s, the mansion and surrounding property were purchased by Karl and Ann Harris. Even though the mansion was renovated several times, the basic structure of the house remains the same.

Wilderness Road Trail bisects Wilderness Road State Park. Visitors may park cars and horse trailers at the park to access the trail. The trail connects the park with the campgrounds at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, six miles away.

FRIENDS GROUP

Friends of Wilderness Road State Park is a nonprofit group dedicated to the park's growth and development. The group helps with special events and fund-raising and it supplies labor and material. Friends help care for and develop historic Martin’s Station, picnic areas, trails, the visitor center, the museum, the nature playscape and Karlan Mansion. They also seek and accept funding from foundations, businesses, individuals, and local and state government. If you'd like to join the group, contact: Membership, Friends of Wilderness Road State Park, 8051 Wilderness Road, Ewing, VA 24248

MASTER PLAN

Master plans must be written for parks before they're built. The plans are updated at least once every five years thereafter. The plans cover the size, types, infrastructure and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources. Three public meetings are held during the initial development of each plan. Click here for this park's master plan.

WILDLIFE

Virginia State Parks are great places to discover and reconnect with the wild world. Bring a camera and share your captures with the world. But please don't disturb or get too close to the animals. The park is, after all, their home. Here are a few recent natural encounters others have had at Wilderness Road State Park.

View all wildlife encounter photos from Wilderness Road State Park.

 

Upcoming Events

 
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Articles

Wilderness Road State Park is hosting its first Chili Cook off on Saturday, August 9, 2014 as part of their Community Appreciation Day and Back to School Bash.
Wilderness Road's annual living history event, the Raid at Martin's Station, is scheduled for May 9-11, 2014.
A candy-filled egg hunt on the Karlan Mansion lawn highlights Wilderness Road State Park's annual Easter Celebration on Saturday, April 19th beginning at 2 pm.
Wilderness Road State Park is hosting House of Blues, a birdhouse workshop on Saturday, April 5 beginning at 2 p.m.

At a Glance

The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
BikingCamp Store/Gift ShopEquestrianGroup CampingHikingNature/Cultural Programs, Visitor CenterParking feePicnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic TablesPlaygroundsRestroomsUniversally Accessible
Biking, Camp Store/Gift Shop, Equestrian, Group Camping, Hiking, Nature/Cultural Programs, Visitor Center, Parking fee, Picnic Shelter Rentals, Picnic Tables, Playgrounds, Restrooms, Universally Accessible