Earliest Travelers: Traveling the Beaten Path:
Cumberland Gap is a natural corridor through the Appalachian Mountains. American Indians were the first people to use the paths created and hardened by bison and other animals. In particular, the Shawnee, who lived in the Ohio Valley, and the Cherokee, who established themselves in the Appalachian Valley highlands, hunted, fished, gathered wild plants, and cultivated maize. They traveled across the Gap on hunting and trading expeditions and during periods of war.