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Kane Gap makes a great winter hike

January 11th, 2012 3:10 pm by Staff Report

Kane Gap makes a great winter hike

Kane Gap makes a great winter hike or trail ride.

Written by Pam Cox

My husband and I are winter hikers and, every year or so, we take a trek to Kane Gap on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail in Duffield, Va. This is one of the few sites on the Wilderness Trail where you can actually walk in the footsteps of the famed frontiersman, Daniel Boone.

History of Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail

On March 10, 1775, Daniel Boone gathered with 30 armed and mounted axe men to blaze the famed Wilderness Trail from the Long Island on the Holston River in present-day, Kingsport, Tenn., through Virginia and into Kentucky to Cumberland Gap. The 200-mile Trail would become the pathway that by 1810 had allowed more than 300,000 pioneers to begin their journey west.

The Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association was formed in 1995 to identify and remark the trail as close as possible to Boone’s historical undertaking.

With the aid of historians, the Association re-created the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail as a self-guided auto tour. On Sept. 9, 2000, then Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist and U.S. Congressmen Rick Boucher (Virginia) and Bill Jenkins (Tennessee) officially re-opened the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail from Kingsport, Tenn., to the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky.

For more information on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail and an official map, visit

Hiking to Kane Gap

We have made the trip to Kane Gap at least three times.

The first trip, we got lost because this portion of the Wilderness Trail had not been purchased by the Association and was not marked. We walked for at least an hour in the wrong direction before I convinced my husband that we were indeed lost. We agreed not to tackle the trail again until it was properly marked.

Hiking to Kane Gap is not a difficult trek. The first mile or so has about a three to five percent grade. The most difficult part is maneuvering the ruts in the road and the occasional loss of footing. I highly recommend hiking poles. Once you get closer to the Gap, the grade becomes much steeper but not extreme. A seasoned hiker would have no problem with the trip that takes between 45 and 75 minutes, depending on your ability and pace.

As I walked the trail, I thought a lot about the pioneers who made this journey more than 200 years ago. I imagined myself a frontier traveler and soon decided I would have failed in my personal trek west.

Once you reach Kane Gap, the view to Wallen’s Creek below is breathtaking.

There at the Gap, you will find many rock outcroppings, one of which was used by the frontiersmen as a "Pioneer Hotel."

If time permits, you can continue to travel in Daniel Boone’s footsteps to the valley below.

Kane Gap makes a great winter hike or trail ride.

To access Kane Gap, take Hwy. 23 to Duffield and turn left at the stop light onto Duff-Patt Highway. Just past Hardee’s, turn left onto Daniel Boone Road and then take the first left, which is Fraley Road. Follow that road until you see an orange gate, which you can open and drive into the parking area.

You need a good pair of hiking boots, hiking pole, plenty of water and a camera.

Happy Trails.

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