GENERAL INFO: Wilderness Road offers picnicking, hiking 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, an ADA-certified playground, a sand volleyball court and horseshoe pits. Visitors can hike, bike or horseback ride on the eight-mile Wilderness Road Trail linking the park with 50 miles of trails in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. 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.
Click here for a two-page brochure that describes the park in detail.
Park Size: About 310 acres
Weather: Click here to visit the Weather Channel's site for this zip code.
AT-A-GLANCE: The pictographs directly below show park offerings. Click on those of interest or read below for more detail. Mouse-over the image for a short text description or click here to view a legend in which each pictograph's meaning is expressed.
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.
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 MAP: Click here.
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES: The park offers primitive group camping for groups of up to 50. 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 overnight stays.
Visit the Explore Virginia Outdoors website for enhanced maps and video tours of Wilderness Road's trails.
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.
View all wildlife encounter photos from Wilderness Road.
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.
EVENTS: Click here to view park events, festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
VISITOR CENTER, GIFT SHOP: The LEED-compliant, state-of-the-art visitor center has a movie theater and the Powder Horn Gift Shop. The theatre 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. through 5 p.m. Public restrooms are available.
NATURE AND HISTORICAL PROGRAMS: Seasonal monthly programs, schools, 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 Yulefest Frontier Christmas, December. Click here to view park events festivals, workshops and interpretive programs.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, Ky.; Historic Cumberland Gap, Tenn.; Pine Mountain State Park, Ky.; Lincoln Museum, Harrogate, Tenn. Virginia Heritage Music Trail.
PICNIC SHELTERS: Call the State Parks Reservation Center at 1-800-933-7275 to rent a picnic shelter. Parking and other park fees are not included in shelter rental. Shelters can be rented from 8 a.m. to dark (all day). Click here for park fees.
Each shelter guest must pay applicable daily parking or admission fees. If you'd to have such fees for your guests paid up-front, please contact park staff before the day of your event. 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 is a popular spot for weddings. Click here for details.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Historic Martin's Station, an outdoor living history museum with daily first-person living history programs. A full-size sand volleyball court and two horseshoe pitching areas near the picnic shelters, all free of charge.
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. It 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 1877, 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 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, Rt. 2 Box 115, Ewing, VA 24248
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 (PDF) for this park's master plan.
wildernessroad. Learn more about park offerings by calling 1-800-933-PARK or email resvs.