Continue the journey along the Wilderness Road by visiting the new Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretative Center, located in Duffield, Virginia.  Daniel Boone Interpretative Center

The new center overlooks Kane Gap–a visible representation that shows the path settlers once toon on their westward journey.  A satellite location of Natural Tunnel State Park, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretative Center is a multi-purpose facility with a large conference room, library and museum.  The center focuses largely on the story of the Wilderness Road from Sycamore Shoals to Cumberland Gap.  The ultimate goal is to educate visitors on the importance of the Wilderness Road and the key role it played in westward expansion.

At the center, explore the interactive museum, participate in a scheduled program and visit the gift shop for souvenirs and additional information about the area’s history.  The center is the perfect location to schedule a field trip or reserve the conference room for a meeting or special event.

Winter hours of operation are Friday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Free.  Located at 371 Technology Trail, Duffield, Virginia.

Call 276-431-0104 for more information.


The Anderson Blockhouse was built in the late 1700s to protect European settlers from Indian attacks. The original location of the blockhouse can be visited along the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail while a replica can be seen at Natural Tunnel State Park.

Wilderness RoadJohn Anderson built his blockhouse in the East Carter’s Valley section of Scott County sometime before 1778. Situated on the edge of the Wilderness Trail, it became an important stop-over for travelers who gathered at the blockhouse until a sufficient number of people and rifles made it relatively safe to proceed on their journey west. From the blockhouse, these settlers would travel for at least two weeks to the Cumberland Gap, through which they would voyage into Kentucky. Approximately 300,000 people walked and led their pack horses along this trail on their way toward their dreams, somwhere to the west.

The blockhouse is a fortified building, constructed to be easily defendable. The top story is wider than the lower, and openings in the overhanging story allowed defenders to fire down upon anyone who approached the building. The chimney is located within the structure so that attackers could not use it as a way to enter the building.

The replica found at Natural Tunnel State Park was built in 2003 by the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association. Adjacent to the blockhouse is the Wilderness Road IndiansBlockhouse Visitor Center that provides guests with more information on life in the 1700’s and at the blockhouse. The annual “Trade Faire and Muster” is held the last weekend in April at the Blockhouse, while the “Harvest Celebration” is held the last weekend in October.

The blockhouse and visitor center are open May through October on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 – 4 p.m.

Located at Natural Tunnel State Park, 1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway, Duffield, Virginia


Handicap Accessible


36-Miles of Historic Virginia Coal Heritage Trail in Scott County, Virginia

Scott County was formed in 1814 out of Lee, Russell, and Washington Counties.

The county plays host to a variety of natural and cultural attractions. The Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail travels through Scott County and witnessed thousands of pioneers pass through on journey as part of our nations westward expansion. The Coal Heritage Trail travels along Route 23 from Lee County 4.09 miles to the town of Duffield, Virginia. Duffield, once known as Little Flat Lick, serves as a gateway to the West along the Wilderness Road. This location provides a vantage point in which visitors can watch the trains roll past full of coal leaving Southwest Virginia.

Fannon Railroad MuseumLocated on the right at the intersection of Route 58/421/23 is the Fannon Railroad Museum operated by local railroad enthusiast Kenny Fannon. Many of the exhibits and items on display depict the rich railroad history that was a result of the coalfields that lay just to the North.

The Coal Heritage Trail leaves Duffield and travels 4.6 miles on Rt. 871 (Natural Tunnel Parkway) to Natural Tunnel State Park.Natural Tunnel State Park

The 850 foot long Natural Tunnel provides a way through to the coalfields beginning in 1890 and continuing until today. The tunnel is the focal point of Natural Tunnel State Park. The park offers a variety of recreational activities.

The Coal Heritage Trail then leaves Natural Tunnel State Park along Rt. 871 and travels 1.2 miles to an intersection with Route 23/58/421. Turning left onto Route 23/58/421, travel 1.26 miles to Route 65 (Clinch River Highway).

After turning left onto Route 65, you will travel under the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle. This trestle represents one of two major railway lines hauling coal out of Southwest Virginia to Southeastern U.S. power plants.

The Coal Heritage Trail then leaves Natural Tunnel State Park along Rt. 871 and travels 1.2 miles to an intersection with Route 23/58/421. Turning left onto Route 23/58/421, travel 1.26 miles to Route 65 (Clinch River Highway).

After turning left onto Route 65, you will travel under the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle. This trestle represents one of two major railway lines hauling coal out of Southwest ie
Virginia to Southeastern U.S. power plants.

The area immediately past the railroad trestle is what remains of a town known as Clinchport. This once thriving river town was completely destroyed by a catastrophic flood in 1977. Remains of the town blocks can still be seen.

From Clinchport, you will travel 8.6 miles to the town of Ft. Blackmore. Along the way you will be traveling parallel to the Clinch River, one of the most ecological diverse rivers in the CSX TrainUnited States. The Clinch River flows 135 miles through Southwest Virginia and into Tennessee where it ends at the Tennessee River. Also following the river is the CSX railroad formally known as the Carolina, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railroad. This railroad, in addition to the aforementioned Norfolk Southern line, provided avenues of commerce through Scott County to move coal, timber, and freight products from the region.

While traveling along Route 65 you will pass the General John Salling Monument. This monument is in honor of General John Salling, Virginia’s last surviving Confederate veteran and resident of Scott County. General Salling died in March of 1959 at the age of 112.

Upon arriving at Fort Blackmore, you will turn left on State Route 65/72 and travel 8.35 miles to Dungannon, Virginia. Fort Blackmore was a famous early fort and was situated on an ancient elevated flood plain on the north side of the Clinch River. For many years, this fort was on the extreme frontier of Virginia and was used by hunters, explorers, adventurers, and home seekers for rest and refreshment.  Daniel Boone was in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch River in 1774 while the militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore’s war. From Ft. Blackmore continue on Rt. 65/72, 8.35 miles to the town of Dungannon.

In Dungannon, be careful to turn right on Rt. 65 and cross the Clinch River following Route 65 as it travels 5.08 miles to the Russell County line. In Dungannon, Route 72 leaves Route 65 and travels up the mountain to Coeburn, Virginia where you can continue on the Coal Heritage Trail in Wise County, Virginia.



The sites on this loop are located in the westernmost section of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. Many of these sites carry historical significance to early frontier passage to the West, led by Daniel Boone. Although the sites on this loop do not trace the exact steps of Daniel Boone, the passageway that led to the opening of the West did include some of these sites, and the historical Daniel Boone Trail traverses parts of this loop. The furthest western site on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail is the Wilderness Road entrance to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. It was through this Gap that Boone and fellow pioneers found their way to bluegrass Kentucky. Driving this loop will take visitors through small towns, long stretches of scenic roads, and pockets of lush, maturing forests. In addition to the wonderful wildlife that abounds throughout this area, visitors will enjoy the rich history of these lands.

Loop Map


ites on this loop:

Estillville Bed & Breakfast, Gate City


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