Big Stone Gap

Come to Big Stone Gap and discover a Little Town with a Big Story. The lush green mountains provide the perfect backdrop to enjoy our history, culture and nature.

Visit the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park to experience the story first-hand. Participate in the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama and see the early days of the boom and bust come to life! Delve deeper into coal mining history at the Meador Coal Museum. Don’t forget to visit the historic home of John Fox Jr., the June Tolliver House, the 101 Historic Train car, or the Lonesome Pine School and Heritage Museum.

Bring your bikes and ride our Greenbelt on the scenic Powell River. Go hiking and nearby Roaring Branch in the Jefferson National Forest, or enjoy the other national forest sites that surround Big Stone Gap! Take short trip to Natural Tunnel State Park and view the Eighth Wonder of the World. Hear Old-Time and Bluegrass music at various venues in the area along the Crooked Road! Big Stone Gap is the perfect place for your mountain vacation!

About The Story………..

The story begins with the Cherokee, Iroquois, Wyandotte, and Shawnee who found the present-day area of Southwest Virginia a hunter’s paradise. Game such as elk, turkey, deer, bear, and buffalo were abundant. The 18th century saw the arrival of early hunters and explorer’s such as Dr. Thomas Walker, Ambrose Powell, Elisha Walden, and Daniel Boone. Three Forks, the earliest recorded name for Big Stone Gap, soon became a thoroughfare for early pioneer trails.

During the 1870s, much was published about the mineral and timber resources of the Appalachian Mountains. General John Imboden focused on Three Forks as the location for industrial development, touting it as the new Pittsburgh of the south. The town, which was then being called Mineral City, was incorporated as Big Stone Gap in 1882.

Many developer’s flocked to Big Stone Gap. These included Rufus Ayers, the Goodloe and Wood brothers, the Slemp and the Fox family.

John Fox Jr. wrote about his experiences in “The Gap” and the surrounding region in his 12 novels and 45 short stories. He became the most popular American novelist of his time and immortalized Big Stone Gap in his novel The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. In modern times, Big Stone Gap is best known for a series of novels by hometown author Adriana Trigiani. Big Stone Gap – The Movie was released October 9, 2015. It was filmed entirely in Big Stone Gap. 

In addition to the two best-selling authors, the town has produced the private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge, a governor of Virginia, numerous artisans and musicians, a Grammy-winning recording studio, two NFL running backs, and many others who have contributed to our state, nation, and world!


Wise County
PO Box 570
Wise, VA 24293


(276) 328-2321