The Virginia Coal Heritage Trail is located in the Heart of Appalachia's coalfield region. More than 300 miles of scenic byways
stretch through seven counties and the city of Norton, providing the traveler
with glimpses of unique coal mining towns that were formed more than a century
Experience this true cultural heritage experience. Some coal mines are
still in operation today and can be seen at various places along the route.
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Wise County | Dickenson
County | Buchanan CountyTazewell County | Russell County | Scott
County | Events
Other places along the Coal Heritage Trail Lee
County | City
Appalachia - The Town
of Appalachia is considered to be an intact "era town"
of the late 1800s-early 1900s. It was once the center of a booming coal mining
culture and served as the hub of eight coal camps just outside of town. Many
of the coal camps remain as well as much of the coal mining equipment. Be
sure to see the Bee Rock Tunnel — known as the shortest railroad tunnel
in the world — which is listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not!
E. Henegar Miners Memorial Park is dedicated to a local
mining historian and the numerous coal miners in the community. See many examples
of underground mining equipment used today in mining.
Big Stone Gap - The Harry
W. Meador Coal Museum features displays of mining equipment, tools, coal company items and a collection
Big Stone Gap - The John
Fox Jr. Museum was the home of the famous author
of Trail of the Lonesome Pine, the nation's
first million-selling novel based on the beginning of the coal mining industry
in the Appalachian region.
Big Stone Gap - The June
Toliver House & Folkart Center is a National and Virginia Historic
Landmark next to the amphitheatre that stages the musical adaptation of Trail
of the Lonesome Pine every summer. June Toliver is the heroine of the play.
Big Stone Gap - The Southwest
Virginia Museum Historical State Park highlights
the exploration and development of the region as well as the surrounding area
during the 1890s coal boom.
Breaks - Breaks
Interstate Park is known as "The Grand Canyon of the South." Trains
can often be heard and seen from park overlooks as they move through the
deep valley, reminiscent of the coal mining heritage of the region.
Clinchco - The Dickenson
County Coal Miner's Memorial is a tribute to the
men and women who died in the coal mines. Be sure to read some of the biographies
on the memorial's Website.
Clinchco - The Dennis
Reedy Rail Road & Coal Museum offers "a glimpse into the soul of the region" through the collection
of Reedy, a former schoolteacher.
Clintwood - The Ralph
Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center features the life
and music of the legendary singer and banjo player, who continues to sing
many a ballad about coal miners and their families, such as Daddy
Don't Go to the Mines Today. Visit various displays and research
center, which is devoted to traditional American and Appalachian music.
Many reclaimed mine sites are located in Buchanan County and can be seen from
various routes and old railroad trails. The county is planning a tourist train
that will take visitors to abandoned mines. In the meantime, hikers are
Grundy - See the Grundy Mural on the outdoor wall of Food City. This mural
depicts the history of Buchanan County and the town of Grundy.
Grundy - A bronze statue honoring local miners sits in front of the courthouse.
Pocahontas - The Historical
Coal Mining Town of Pocahontas was Virginia's
first coalfield boom town! To this day, Pocahontas preserves its coal mining
heritage. Various buildings, such as the Old Power House, have been converted
into a museum and educational center. The old Company Store has been turned
into a restaurant.
Pocahontas - The Pocahontas
Exhibition Mine & Museum is open from April-October.
Guides tell the story of mining the famous Pocahontas Number Three coal during
the hand-loading era of the industry.
Tazewell - The Historic
Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park features exhibits on the agricultural
and mining industries. An ongoing archeological site nearby has uncovered numerous
artifacts from the people who once lived in the region.
Richlands -The Richlands Coal Miners' Memorial is a tribute to the men and women who sacrificed all they had to make a living. The memorial sculptured by Maria Kirby-Smith depicts a miner exiting the mine. He's covered in the toll of the day with his lunch bucket & pick in hand as he catches a breath of fresh air.
Virginia History and Heritage Museum features many photographs and historical information about
the little town.
Dante - The Dante
Coal Miner's Memorial honors
those miners who worked in the mines. Special recognition is given to those
who died in the mines. The mining town of Dante was once the headquarters of
the Clinchfield Coal Corp.
Tunnel State Park features a tunnel naturally carved through
a limestone ridge thousands of years ago. Coal is still transported by trains
that travel through the tunnel.
Hiltons - The Carter
Family Fold and Carter
Family Museum honors the family as "The First Family of Country Music."
A.P., his wife, Sara, and her sister, Maybelle recorded more than 300 traditional
Appalachian songs between 1927-1942. The Fold is a 1,000-seat music theatre
where the traditional music can be enjoyed every Saturday night.
Appalachia - Coal/Railroad
Days is an annual
festival in August celebrating the history of this coal era town.
Big Stone Gap - See the "Trail
of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama" every summer from June-August. The drama depicts the story
of the great boom in Southwest Virginia when the discovery of coal and iron
ore forced the lusty, proud mountain people into making many drastic changes
in the way of life. It is a love story between a beautiful mountain woman and
a mining engineer from the big city.
More events in the Heart of Appalacia.
Last Updated: 11/04/2015
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