Wilderness Road

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Migration  Gotoarrow.png  Trails and Roads  Gotoarrow.png  Wilderness Road

Wilderness Road Map.png
The Wilderness Road started at Bristol, Virginia (splitting off the Great Valley Road) and headed west along the Virginia-Tennessee border to the Cumberland Gap, and then went northwest to Boonesboro, Kentucky. Eventually, an extension of the road would reach Louisville, Kentucky on the Falls of the Ohio River.

Historical Background

In 1774 Judge (and land speculator) Richard Henderson of North Carolina hired Daniel Boone to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. An estimated 70,000 pioneers followed the Wilderness Road on foot or horseback into Kentucky and beyond before it was reopened as a wagon road in 1796.


  • Bristol, Washington, Virginia
  • Cumberland Gap at the juncture of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky
  • Boonesboro

Later extension:

  • Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky

Settlers and Records

For partial list of settlers who used the Wilderness Road, see .

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Wilderness Road

Internet Sites


  • Johnson, Robert Foster. Wilderness Road Cemeteries in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Owensboro, Kentucky: McDowell Publications, 1981. FHL US/CAN Book 973 V3j.