While the colonies thrived in the late 1600s, the Appalachian Mountains formed a natural barrier to the rest of the unsettled continent. The paths that did exist were created by the American Bison as they migrated through the valleys in search of food and salt licks. Native Americans traveled what they called the “Great Warrior Path” hunting for food and creating seasonal villages along the valleys and rivers. In the early 1700s, long hunters used the path to develop an early fur trade. Soldiers, long hunters and early settlers spread the news that land was plentiful and the small path became a major migration route.
The Wilderness Road in Virginia is made up of two main segments and two spurs. The Roanoke Valley is home to a portion of The Great Wagon Road, as well as the Fincastle Turnpike and Carolina Road spurs. As you explore these areas, you’ll find charming towns, historic sites, interesting attractions and many historical markers.