Gibson Gap

Middlesboro, Kentucky 40965

Gibson Gap

Gibson Gap Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Impressive views of the surrounding mountains in Kentucky,Tennessee, and Virginia are the highlight of this walk in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Much of the hike is on the ridgeline atop Cumberland Mountain. On the way up and down, there are a number of stream crossings that make pleasant lunch spots."

Gibson Gap Trip Reports

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I made this longer by taking the Lewis Hollow trail up to the Ridge trail and looping back through the Gibson Gap trail. It was a nice Hike in the woods but the end or beginning is road walking that I hate
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This was an excellent day hike or overnight backpacking trip. The hike to Gibson Gap is about 3 plus hours of steady walking. The crossing paths are very well marked and there are several manmade bridges and benches along the first third of the trail. For the first couple of miles the trail meanders through lush woods with crossing streams. For the next two miles the trail follows the curve of the hills as you climb up towards the pass. In some places the climb is gradual with steps well defined. As you get closer to the pass the trail gets steeper and more strenuous.
On this trip there was snow on the ground at the three mile mark and above making it slippery and at times difficult to see. The assumption to follow the natural path will be apparent.
At just past the 4 mile mark there is a nice flat area with a large stone wall. This is a great place to stop for a break or camp.
Travel another mile and you will reach the top. This last mile is the steepest of the climb but the view is worth the effort. The campground is very well accommodated with benches, a fire pit, outhouse, and space for tents.
For our overnight stay the temperatures dipped below freezing and there was ice and snow throughout the night. Be careful about being under large limbs as there were lots of fallen trees and branches from the weight of ice and a previous storm.

Gibson Gap Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
6 hours
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, (606) 248-2817
Local Contacts
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park trail maps; USGS Middlesboro South, Wheeler (TN/VA), and Varilla (KY/VA). Park maps are free; the visitor center also has commercial trail maps for sale.
Local Maps

Trail Log