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Over 100 Jeep enthusiasts enjoy Harlan trails

With the weekend of April 9-11 already welcoming hundreds for local events, the 2021 Jeep Crawl packed another big punch, drawing in nearly 150 Jeep enthusiasts eager to explore Harlan County trials.

The Harlan County Jeepers Club partnered with Backroads of Appalachia and Harlan Tourism to safely take individuals on trial rides through the mountains and other scenic roadways.

“Backroads of Appalachia, whom I work very closely with doing their graphics and helping with promoting tourism in our area, hosted not only Mini Coopers, but a bunch of Goldwing motorcycles and my clubs Jeep Crawl,” said Darian White, owner of Kustom FX Graphics. “Over 45 of them were Jeeps from all around… Lexington, Virginia, Tennessee, all over. I think I counted four or five Jeep clubs that had members here.”

White said the event kicked off the night of April 9, leading the Jeeps to the top of a mountain to watch the sun set on the Appalachian mountains Harlan Countians call home.

“Saturday morning we drove a large caravan of Jeeps to Lynch to meet up with the Mini Cooper bunch for coffee, we then took them on a trail ride in the Lynch area,” he said. “We visited local stores and restaurants where they purchased items and food. We later took them to Dingo to see the wild horses.”

White said Backroads of Appalachia also provided a professional photographer from Cumberland River Photography Company in Barbourville to accompany the group and document their trip.

“He took some amazing photos that are available for purchase on their website,” he said.

Though heavy rains deterred the ride from continuing on to Gabe Branch Falls, some of the Jeeps regrouped at the Dragon Slayer Welcome Center in Lynch before heading over to the Harlan County Campground in Putney for music preformed by Johnny Pop Day with locals and visitors seated around a campfire.

“All in all everyone had a great time, they thought this part of state was absolutely gorgeous and they can’t wait to come back and do it again. We had a lot of help from individuals and sponsors to help make this possible. I’m proud that our local Jeep club came together and helped showcase our beautiful county we live in,” White said.

“We felt very proud to be able to help spread the word on what we have to offer in this area through tourism, and we look forward to doing more events like this in the future. Everyone that came was very respectful, stayed on marked trails and left no trash behind. They were really a great bunch of folks to be around. I made some new friends and got to see others I hadn’t seen in a while.”

The Harlan County Jeepers have a group on Facebook for other Jeep enthusiasts to join, posting anything related to Jeeps, pictures, items for sale and more.

You can also follow the Backroads of Appalachia and Dragon Slayer Hwy 160 Facebook pages for future events.