Daniel Boone's Trace

Historical Marker #1443 in Madison County commemorates "Daniel Boone’s Trace," the famous trail constructed by Daniel Boone and his party of pioneers in 1775. The Trace ran from Cumberland Gap to Fort Boonesborough.

Daniel Boone was hired by Colonel Richard Henderson, the proprietor of the Transylvania Land Company, who was commissioned to blaze a trail from the Appalachian Mountains to the Bluegrass Region in the spring of 1775. Earlier in the year, Henderson had acquired a large portion of land south and east of the Ohio River and north of the Cumberland River from the Cherokee Indians at the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River. Henderson needed a viable trail through the unsettled territory in order to bring in settlers. His plan was to sell the lands he had purchased from the Cherokees for large profit. Henderson hired Boone, a noted woodsman, hunter, and explorer, because Henderson believed that Boone was the most capable person to construct the trail.

Prior to creating the trail, there were not any roads into what was to become Kentucky. Instead, the trail was only a dirt path large enough to accommodate foot and horse travel. Valid fears of unseen danger in the wilderness hindered travel into the area, but, with the opening of the trail, thousands of settlers subsequently flowed along Boone Trace to claim their land and begin a new life. It can be argued that no other trail is of greater historical significance to the founding of Kentucky and the opening of the west than Boone Trace.

The "Daniel Boone’s Trace" marker is one of four Kentucky Historical Society markers at this site; all of which relate to Boone Trace. The other three markers commemorate Twitty’s Fort, Estill Station, and historic sites in Madison County, including Boone Trace. In addition, a marker placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1915 is located here, which is among fourteen such markers along Boone Trace.

Boone Trace actually runs about one mile west of this location. Historical marker #1443 describes Boone Trace as being two miles to the east, because the marker was originally placed at a rest stop on Interstate 75. The marker was moved to its current location without changing the text.