Area Status: Open
This area is Open

This trail will eventually be approximately 120 miles long, linking Cumberland Gap National Historic Park and Breaks Interstate Park when completed.  The current length of the trail is 44 miles; 25 of these miles meander back and forth onto and off of the Jefferson National Forest.

Trail Open To:

Trail HikingBicycle RidingHorse Riding

At a Glance

Fees No fee.
Open Season: Open Year Round
Restrictions: Certain sections of privately-owned land near Tucker Gap, Bryant Gap, and The Doubles (all three places being between Pound Gap and Birch Knob) along the Pine Mountain Trail are now closed to public access. No Horses West of Pound Gap.
  • Trail is open to:  Hiking, Bicycling, Horse Riding.
  • Trail is closed to all motorized vehicles.
Closest Towns: Jenkins/Elkhorn City, KY - VA - WISE
Water: No drinking water available. All water taken from natural sources should be purified before use.
Restroom: Vault Toilet at Birch Knob; Open Seasonally
Operated By: Clinch Ranger District: (276) 679-8370
Information Center: Trail is located on National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Map #793.  It is recommended that all trail users carry a reliable map at all times.  Maps may be purchased at some local District Ranger Stations, at outdoor retail locations or by visiting the National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated website.

General Information


West Trailhead:  From Wise, VA, travel north on Highway 23 to the Kentucky State Line at Pound Gap.  The gas station on the southbound side of Highway 23 serves as the parking lot for the trailhead to the western section of the Trail - please park in the very back of the lot.  

Birch Knob Tower Trailhead:  Travel north from Clintwood VA on SR 631 for 2.8 miles.  After crossing the Pound River, bear right onto SR 611 and follow for 2.3 miles to FR 616/Birch Knob Road.  Turn left onto this road and follow to the observation tower parking lot.  FR 616 is closed from January to April.

General Notes:
  • Trail Length:  44 miles
  • Blazes:  Yellow
  • Trail Difficulty:  Difficult
  • Connecting Trails:  FT # 201A - Austin Gap, FT # 201B - Bob's Gap, and FT # 201C - Count's Cabin
  • Elevation:  1040 feet to 2960 feet
  • Trail Access Points (Approximate LAT/LONG):
  • Trail Etiquette:  Trail etiquette for multiple use trails calls for horses to have the right-of-way.  Hikers should yield to horses.  Bicyclists should yield to horses and hikers.  Horse riders are responsible for the control of their horse at all times.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Day Hiking