Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route

Although it has been known by many different names, such as the Great Road, the Great Philadelphia Road, and the Valley Turnpike, the 500-mile long Wilderness Road saw nearly 300,000 settlers on their way south through Virginia between 1775-1810.  Traveling on foot or horseback, some settled along the way, while others continued on to the interior of the nation.  The Conestoga wagon later became the favorite mode of transportation.

Today, travelers along the road will learn of blazing pioneers like Daniel Boone and the skills and values it took to make such a hard journey by visiting museums, living history interpretive villages, and forts, as well as historic downtown centers, schools, agricultural farms, and galleries.

In Radford, trace the history that began in 1762 when William and Mary Draper Ingles established Ingles Ferry at a spot on the New River between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. It was the beginnings of a commercial center. Then in 1796, an enterprising settler built a tavern on the stagecoach route. The tavern was called Lovely Mount and also included a general store and blacksmith shop.

Radford’s featured stops on the Wilderness Road include:
(Click link(s) below for more information.)
Mary Draper Ingles and Ingles Farm
Glencoe Museum
Highlanders Festival
Mary Draper Ingles Monument
Radford University Planetarium and Museum of the Earth Sciences
Appalachian Regional Studies Center at Radford University

Stretching from one end of the Commonwealth to the other, the Wilderness Road runs from just north of Winchester to the Cumberland Gap at the southwest tip of Virginia.  Twenty-three communities and more than 130 stops are included on the Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route.

Visit our website for more information and a complete list of communities and sites.

More to See in Radford

Comfort Inn & Suites

The Comfort Inn & Suites hotel is conveniently located off Interstate 81, less than two miles from the New River Valley Medical Center. It is also close the Radford University, Virginia Tech, and New River Community College. Guests will enjoy free continental...

El Charro Mexican Grill

Come and enjoy some Mexican Food at El Charro. Our food is prepared fresh daily and our salsa is made from scratch using our own special recipe. Hours: 10 – 10, Mon through Fri 12 – 10 Sat 12 – 9 Sun

RU Museum of the Earth Sciences

The Museum of the Earth Sciences is open from October through November and from January through April while Radford University is in session. It is closed when Radford University is closed. From May through August, visits may be scheduled by appointment. Contact...


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Wilderness Road


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