Blackwater is located in Lee County, Virginia.  Lee County was established in 1792.  The county seat is Jonesville, Virginia.  Lee County is composed of 437 square miles.  The 2000 U.S. Census recorded the population of Lee County as 23,431 residents.  Major highways in Lee County are US 421 and US 58. 

Major attractions in Lee County include the Wilderness Road State Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail.  Wilderness Road State Park includes a replica of Martin’s Station.  Although the replica fort is now located a few miles west of Rose Hill, Martin’s Station fort was originally located at the present site of Rose Hill. 

Wilderness Road State Park

The Wilderness Road State Park was purchased in 1993; the park is approximately 200 acres that lie astride the "Wilderness Road".  Wilderness Road was carved by Daniel Boone in 1775 to open American's first western frontier.  Most notable in the park are Martin's Station, a replica of a fort built nearby (at the present location of Rose Hill) in 1775 and the Karlan Mansion built in the 1870's.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Part of Lee County is located within the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  The park is located where Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee meet.  Accordingly, portions of the park are in all three states.  The park is big (containing over 20,000 acres) and stunningly beautiful, offering numerous attractions.  These attractions include The Pinnacle Overlook, The Gap Cave, Hensley Settlement, Wilderness Road Campground, and almost 70 miles of hiking trails.  The Cumberland Gap is one of the most significant gaps or passes in the eastern United States.  It was in 1769 that Daniel Boone made his first of many passages through the Gap that would forever associate with his name.  By 1810, an estimated 300,000 people traveled, many of them on foot, through Cumberland Gap.

 

 

 

The Pinnacle Overlook

The Pinnacle Overlook is located inside the Cumberland Gap Historical Park.  This area above Cumberland Gap serves as a vantage point for visitors to view the magnificent Powell Valley.  Several states are visible from this point.  The Pinnacle Overlook may be closed during the winter due to ice and snow.  A paved road leads up the mountain and then an easy trail of about 200 yards goes out to the overlook.

 

 

 

The Gap Cave

(Formerly Cudjo's Caverns)

The Gap Cave is located inside the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  Park rangers provide guided tours to this eerie underworld of stalagmites.  The cavern was used by the Indians and later by Civil War soldiers for refuge.

 

 

 

Hensley Settlement

Hensley Settlement is located inside the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  A restored turn of the century mountain community, Hensley Settlement is a symbol of the determination and true grit of the early American Pioneer.  This settlement provides an opportunity to escape into the pioneer past.  The settlement is accessible by foot, horseback, or by a shuttle service provided by the park for a normal fee.  Hensley Settlement is located on a plateau nearly 1,000 feet higher than Pinnacle Overlook!  Ranger-guided tours visit this historic log cabin settlement mid-May through the end of October.  

SherpaGuides.com describes the history of Hensley Settlement as follows, “Hensley Settlement was a farming community that existed on an isolated plateau from 1904 until 1951.  Sherman Hensley arrived in 1904 and, with his family, constructed a home and outbuildings of hewn chestnut logs.  At its peak, the settlement included about 100 inhabitants.  The National Park Service has restored three of the original 12 farmsteads..”

 

 

 

Wilderness Road Campground

Wilderness Road Campground is part of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  It is located in western Lee County off Highway 58.  The campground has 160 sites in a beautiful wooded setting.  Electrical hook-ups with 30 and 50 amps are available at 41 of the sites.  Hot showers and portable water are located in the comfort stations.  Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For More Information on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park go to www.nps.gov/cuga 

Or Contact
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
P.O. Box 1848
Middlesboro KY 40965
Tel (606) 248-2817

Fax (606) 248-7276

 

 

 

Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail

A 4-hour driving tour through 3 counties follows the route of Daniel Boone’s famous Wilderness Trail.  One of the nation’s most historic routes, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail was blazed by the legendary frontiersman in 1775 from Long Island of the Holston at what is now Kingsport, TN, through the Cumberland Gap of Virginia and into Kentucky.  Boone and his group of axe men cut the trail through 200 miles of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky wilderness to forge a route for settlement of the region beyond the mountains.  It would become the route for hundreds of thousands of settlers of the western frontier.   

For more information go to www.danielboonetrail.com   

Or Contact
Bob McConnell, President
The Daniel Boone Wilderness Association
P.O. Box 0757
Gate City, Virginia 24251
Tel (276) 452-4520.

 

 

 

The White Rocks

The White Rocks atop Cumberland Mountain were among the most commonly mentioned geographic features along the trail.  The pioneers seemed to take them as a hallmark of the wonderful new land that they were claiming as their own.  The rocks can be accessed by a trail that begins in Ewing, VA, in the Civitan Park.  The only legal means of access is by foot or horseback.

 

 

 

Boone's Monument

On their way to settle Kentucky in 1773 by way of Lee County, Daniel Boone and his party was attacked by Indians.  James, Boone’s son, was killed during the attack.  A monument now marks the spot where Boone’s son perished and is located on U.S. Hwy. 58, three miles west of Ewing.  (Actually, the true spot of the attack of James Boone has become quite disputed among historians.) 

 

 

 

Campground Church

One of the oldest gathering places for the United Methodists” Holston Conference annual “Camp Meeting”.  The meeting house is a shed with an authentic shaker shingle roof.  Open year round, the Campground Church is located on U.S. Highway 58 west of Jonesville, VA. 

 

 

 

 

2006 Harvest Parade

The Appalachian African-American Historical Cultural Center

The Afro American Historical Cultural Center, located at 230 N. Leona Street in Pennington Gap, was once the Black Public School and contains the most comprehensive collection of Black historical artifacts of Lee County’s Black history.  Click here for more information.

For more information contact
Afro American Historical Cultural Center
230 N. Leona Street
Pennington Gap, VA 24277
Tel (276) 546-5144 or (276) 546-5632

 

 

 

 

Stone Face Rock

A fascinating attraction in Lee County, Stone Face Rock can be seen day or night.  A natural phenomenon, one local theorist believes it is an ancient Cherokee Indian head carved by the Cherokees to mark the entrance of the holy worshipping grounds and gathering place for the Cherokee nation.  Stone Face Rock is located one mile north of Pennington Gap on Highway 421 (old Harlan Road) and can be viewed year round.

 

 

 

Lake Keokee

Lake Keokee is a 92-acre impoundment surrounded by National Forest lands.  This manmade lake features great fishing and seasonal access to hikers and fisherman.  The lake offers fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish.  Flooded standing timber is the dominant habitat type for this lake.  Navigation routes were cleared while the lake was drawn down in 2003, but boaters should still use caution.  Gasoline motor use is prohibited.  A National Forest Stamp is required to fish Lake Keokee.  Four picnic tables with grills are available.  To get to Lake Keokee follow VA 68.  In Lee County, VA 68 becomes VA 606.  Continue on VA 606 for 2 miles to left turn on VA 623 and go 1 mile to the lake. 

Sherpaguides.com offers the following description of Lake Keokee, “This hidden jewel of the Clinch Ranger District features a picturesque 92-acre lake with secluded coves surrounded by marsh grasses and hardwood forests of red oaks, white oaks, and hickories.  With no gasoline-powered motors allowed, the lake attracts only those who enjoy quietly probing the shoreline by canoe or casting from a john boat for largemouth bass and sunfish around the dead trees emerging from the shallows.  Early and late in the day, a raccoon, muskrat, or fox may come for a drink at the lake’s edge.  The lake can also be explored by foot on the easy, encircling trail.  A spur connects to the middle of the more challenging Stone Mountain Trail.”   

For more information go to www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/waterbodies  Click on “Lake Keokee” 

Or Contact
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
1796 Highway Sixteen
Marion VA 24354
Tel (276) 783-4860
Fax (276) 783-6115

 

 

 

 

Cave Springs Recreation Area

Cave Springs Recreation Area, one of the largest campgrounds in the Jefferson National Forest, is located in a picturesque section of Lee County and has camping, picnic facilities, and hiking trails.  The Cave Springs Recreation Area has 41 camping sites with parking spurs, tent pads, wooden picnic tables, and lantern posts.  Central water fountains, showers, flushable toilets, trailer sanitation station, and electrical hookups are provided.  The Cave Springs Recreation Area also offers a Day Use Area including a small lake with a beach area for swimming that is fed by a spring which originates from the mountains above in a cave.  A loop trail to a stone overlook and the cave, and access to the Stone Mountain Trail which follows the crest of the mountain for 14.3 miles and ends at the Roaring Branch, near Appalachia, VA are also common attractions for visitors.  Open May 15 – September 15, Cave Springs Recreation Area is located just off U.S. Highway 58A west of the Seminary community.  

For More Information Click Here

 Or contact
Clinch Ranger District
George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
9416 Darden Drive
Wise, Virginia 24293
Tel (276) 328-2931

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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