Wilderness Road State Park was purchased in 1993. The park is about 310 acres that lie astride the Wilderness Road, a route carved by Daniel Boone in 1775. The route, which followed a buffalo trace, opened America’s first western frontier. Most notable in the park are the Karlan Mansion built in the 1877, a state-of-the-art visitor center and Martin’s Station, a replica of a colonial frontier fort that was on this site in 1775.
One of the region’s most exciting events is the Raid at Martin’s Station reenactment. Each May, visitors can experience history as the Native Cherokee Indians, aided by the British Redcoats, attack Joseph Martin’s frontier fort. This event is regarded as one of the most authentic historical demonstration of Revolutionary frontier life, complete with canon blasts, long rifle fire, and warfare. The State Park also hosts other popular events throughout the year such as Mystery Dinner Theater and Candlelight Ghost Tours which are hosted at the Karlan Mansion, a Haunted Hayride, and the Fall Encampment at Martin’s Station during the Heritage Festival.
Visitors can hike, bike or horseback ride on the 8.5-mile Wilderness Road Trail linking the park with more than 50 miles of trails in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The park also has the Indian Ridge Trail, which is a self-guided trail, and offers interpretive and environmental educational programs. Bikes can be rented at the Visitor Center and primitive camping sites are available in the park.
Guests also enjoy the park’s picnic shelters, 100-seat amphitheater, nature play-scape, ADA-certified playground, sand volleyball court, and horseshoe pits. 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. The center also has a frontier museum and a gift shop with unique regional gifts.
Primitive group camping is available at WRSP with a potable water spigot, picnic tables, fire rings, lantern posts, and a porta-john; great for scout groups and church retreats.
Wilderness Road State Park is also a Certified Tourism Info Center with hours as follows:
Third Friday in May – First Sunday in September
Mon-Thurs: 8AM – 4:30 PM
Fri-Sun: 8AM – 6:30 PM
First Monday in September – Third Thursday in May
Daily: 8AM – 4:30 PM