America's Scenic Byways

Cumberland Cultural Heritage Highway

197.5 miles - 3 days

Traveling the Cumberland Cultural Heritage Highway is one way to experience life away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas. Rural landscapes, small towns, abundant lakes and rivers, and significant historical sites combine to make Cumberland Cultural Heritage Highway an important part of Kentucky's byway system. Recreational opportunities are never far away on the Cumberland Cultural Heritage Highway, which is a byway made up of different routes in Southern Kentucky.

Lakes and State Parks

Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow Lake, and Green River Lake are the dominant lakes of the area, and they were originally constructed for flood control, but now they serve the public as state or resort parks. These lakes are removed from large urban areas to provide the visitor with a sense of peacefulness. Remote and wild areas, such as the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Cumberland River draw many visitors each year because of the excellent rafting, birding, camping, and fishing. High quality water and affordability make these lakes and the Kentucky State Park system popular sites in Kentucky. Superb fishing, powerboating, canoeing, and sailing are all available along the Cumberland Cultural Heritage Highway.

History and Heritage

The Cumberland Cultural Heritage Highway is a now recreational paradise due to its remote location and rural setting, but it was this area that became the site of migrations in the 1700s as settlers pushed west for new, pristine land. They traveled through the Cumberland Gap into Southern Kentucky and settled the area. The importance of these early settlers is not lost even today, as thousands of people come back to this area to trace the genealogy of their families. A unique culture, language patterns, architecture, clothing, and town plans created an area which would see significant events such as Civil War battles, and an increase in mining and railroading.