Warrior's Path

Historical Marker #697 in Jackson County notes the location of part of the Warrior's Path, a Native American route used by various warring tribes and factions to travel north and south.

Long before white hunters and explorers entered into what became Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap, native people had already established a north-south route. This ancient trail ran between the Shawnees and other tribes north of the Ohio River and Cherokees and their allies in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Native people primarily used game trails formed by migrating herds of elk and buffalo for their routes of travel. The animal paths usually followed natural avenues of least resistance and incorporated gaps and valleys as a way through the rugged Appalachian Mountains. Special routes like the Warrior's Path were marked or blazed for identification.

The Warrior's Path was called Athiamiowee, and translated roughly to "path of the armed ones." In Kentucky it ran from the Cherokee settlements found southeast of the Cumberland Gap and crossed the Cumberland River at Cumberland Ford (present-day Pineville). It followed the Cumberland River Valley to near present-day Flat Lick, then overland to Goose Creek, a tributary of the Kentucky River in Clay County. Traveling northward, the path crossed through Powell County and part of Clark County, near the Shawnee town of Eskippakithiki. The Warrior's Path then crossed the Licking River near Blue Licks, and met the Ohio River at Cabin Creek in Mason County. In Ohio, Shawnees and Mingos used the route to travel south into Kentucky.

Other branches of the Warrior's Path continued north to tribal areas of Pennsylvania and New York. South of Kentucky, routes ran through the Tennessee River Valley of Tennessee into Alabama and on to the Gulf of Mexico.