History and Background

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail commemorates the 1780 march of over 2,000 horse-mounted patriots to the Revolutionary War battle at Kings Mountain. The troops marched south in pursuit of Major Patrick Ferguson’s loyalist army. After a total journey of approximately 272 miles through Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, the Overmountain Men defeated the loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.  The patriot victory at Kings Mountain is recognized as a turning point in the war that eventually resulted in American Independence in 1781.

In 1977, North Carolina Congressman James T. Broyhill along with 13 co-sponsoring legislators, introduced a bill to designate the route as a National Historic Trail. Three years later, on September 8, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the bill (P.L. 96­344) into law, confirming the designation.

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail was the first national historic trail to be designated in the eastern United States. In 2015, the OVNHT celebrated its 35th anniversary as one of only 19 national historic trails in the nation. To date, there are approximately 65.5 miles of certified OVNHT open for public enjoyment.

Master Planning Efforts

In 2014 the US National Park Service (NPS) office for the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution began a concentrated effort to develop trail master plans for manageable planning sections along the 272-mile historic route of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT). The first five plans that were completed encompassed planning areas located in North and South Carolina: 1) Lake James to Morganton; 2) Lenoir to Morganton; 3) Elkin to the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir; and 4) Chesnee to Kings Mountain National Military Park, and Abingdon to Elizabethton. These plans were funded through a cost-share program between the NPS, local governments, and non-profit trail organizations. NPS leadership determined the planning process associated with these plans to be effective.  The NPS is now working to develop master plans for the entire trail corridor.

Master plans are  currently underway for Spruce Pine to Lake James and Rutherfordton, North Carolina to Chesnee, South Carolina.