The Wilderness Road is an epic saga about the early migration and settlement of America. As the colonies were thriving along the east coast in the late 1600s, settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains remained a challenge for early explorers. Today’s travelers along the road will discover historic downtowns where museum homes, artisan enclaves and cultural pearls lay strung along a scenic route through the valley and into the mountains of western Virginia.
Bring your family or group and rediscover what lured well-known pioneers such as Dr. Thomas Walker, Joseph Martin, and Daniel Boone to blaze trail that opened frontier to the early settlers. Take part in this classic American experience by visiting the Shenandoah Valley.
The Great Wagon Loop (2 days)
Day One – Tour the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley; discover the spirit of the American persona. Take a scenic ride on Rte. 11 surrounded by the mountain views that awed our early settlers. Stopping in Downtown Harrisonburg, discover museum homes like the Virginia Quilt Museum and the Hardesty-Higgins House. Experience the quaint charm of a small Valley town in one of our local eateries.
Day Two –Located along the “Great Wagon Road”, many Brethren and Mennonites settled here. CrossRoads, an interpretive center brings to life their history. Visit the farmstead, learn at the schoolhouse and attend events celebrating our shared heritage. Spend your afternoon in Staunton at the Frontier Culture Museum, where living history captures the heritage of the Wilderness Road. Take part in a barn dance or tour Downtown Staunton in the historic district.
The Roanoke Loop (2 days)
Day One – Experience one of the natural wonders of the world at the Natural Bridge of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson liked it so much he bought it from King George III in 1774. From its earliest development, the Town of Buchanan, Virginia was a principal crossing of the James River via the “Great Valley Road.” Today the classic American experience is alive and well in Botetourt County and its downtowns.
Day Two – Visit Roanoke and walk in the footsteps of early settlers and discover the diversity of the region through historic districts like Downtown Roanoke with its historic City Market and the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Downtown Salem and the Town of Fincastle where Lewis and Clark started on their exploration.
Today, over 43 million Americans can trace their heritage to the families that migrated along the Wilderness Road. We invite you to blaze your own trail of discovery along the Wilderness Road and relive America’s unique history and heritage.