Department of Tourism
See What Boone Saw and Would Have Loved in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Even though Kentucky can’t claim Daniel Boone as a native son (he was born in Pennsylvania), claim him we do. This year marks the 275th anniversary of the frontiersman’s birth, which is a great time to take stock of all the places in Kentucky associated with his trail blazing feats that made way for white settlers to move west.
Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains and into the land known as Kentucky. His 1769 explorations opened the western frontier of the early United States to settlement by hundreds of thousands of land-hungry newcomers.
Cumberland Gap, where the Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee borders meet, is now a national park where beautiful mountain vistas, unique sandstone formations, impressive underground caverns and diverse animal and plant life are found. Hiking and camping in this area are popular, with 160 camp sites and backcountry camping permits available. But the view from the gap’s pinnacle and a ride through the roadway tunnel are worth a trip to see where he trod. Wildlife watching for animals Boone may have encountered with his hunting party includes deer, beaver, fox, bobcat, bear, and over 150 species of birds. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cuga.
The Daniel Boone National Forest stretches along more than 700,000 acres of mostly rugged terrain with steep forested ridges and more than 3,400 miles of sandstone cliffs. Millions of visitors come to enjoy the scenic beauty and abundant wildlife the forest offers. Within the forest, the Red River Gorge Geological Area and Natural Bridge State Resort Park are popular for all kinds of hiking and rock climbing, attracting visitors from throughout the world who can experience the natural beauty that Boone saw more than 200 years ago. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r8/boone/ and www.parks.ky.gov.
On Boone’s third trip into Kentucky in 1775, he and his party built Fort Boonesborough near present-day Richmond along the Kentucky River. The fort provides a fascinating sample of what life was like on what was then the new frontier. Modern-day visitors see a reconstructed, working fort and a museum along the spectacular river valley. Hiking and camping along the Kentucky River provide a glimpse of how the river led settlers north and west. Boone Station, which Boone built after leaving the fort in 1779 because it became too crowded, is a historic site near the fort where 15 to 20 frontier families lived. For more information, visit www.parks.ky.gov.
The birthday celebration is Oct. 17-18 at Fort Boonesborough when Boone historians, Native Americans, and 18th century merchants and other interpreters convene to discuss and reenact what the early settlers experienced. Scott New, a Kentucky Chautauqua performer who portrays Boone, will be on hand so visitors can “meet” the man himself. The 18th Century Transylvania store will be open for perusing and purchasing period-style souvenirs. For more details about the celebration, visit www.fortboonesboroughlivinghistory.org/html/boone_birthday_home.html.
After visiting Fort Boonesborough, meander a short distance south on I-75 to Berea, where you’ll find Boone Tavern, a restaurant and inn named after the pioneer and operated by Berea College. Sample the mouthwatering spoon bread and admire the inn’s handmade furnishings crafted by Berea students. For more information, visit www.boonetavernhotel.com.
If you visit Berea on Sunday, Nov. 15, see actor Scott New portraying Daniel Boone in a performance titled “Coming into Kentucky” beginning at 2 pm at the Kentucky Artisan Center. This performance at the Center, located near I-75 at exit 77, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 859-985-5448.
Daniel and his wife Rebecca also have their final resting place in Kentucky. Their graves in the Frankfort Cemetery are located on a bluff above Kentucky’s capitol and historic downtown, overlooking the Kentucky River. More information about visiting the graves can be obtained by calling 502-227-2403.
For more information on the Kentucky Department of Travel, visit our Web site at www.kentuckytourism.com
The Kentucky Department of Travel is an agency within the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet,
which promotes the Commonwealth as a travel destination. Tourism in Kentucky has an economic impact of $11 billion, employs more than 176,000 people and generates $1 billion in taxes.