Most recently a coal-hauling line owned by the R.J. Corman Equipment Company, the railroad corridor was originally constructed in the early 1900s by the Dawkins Lumber Companyhence the trail's nameto transport timber. The trail crosses eastern Kentucky's striking Appalachian region, home to the highest biodiversity in North America. The rail-trail passes historical coal structures and traverses a tunnel and 24 scenic trestles. It is also the site of a national forest and state park. Among the most unique features of this area, in fact, is the elk viewing. The trail's first phase from Hagerhill to Royalton in rural Johnson and Magoffin Counties opened in June 2013. The rail-trail will accommodate hikers, horseback riders and cyclists and serve as an adventure tourism attraction. In the future, the trail will extend farther west into Breathitt County.