Breaks Interstate Park
About Breaks Interstate Park
Early settlers referred to these mountain passages located on the Kentucky/Virginia border near KY 80 near Elkhorn City, Kentucky, as breaks. The Breaks features the largest canyon east of the Mississippi extending 5 miles along the Russell Fork River. It's canyon walls are 1,600 feet deep, with elevations range from 870 feet at Russell Fork to nearly 2,000 at the Clinchfield Overlook. There are 12 miles of hiking trails and four scenic overlooks including: Overlook Trail, Prospectors Trail, Grassy Overlook Trail, and Geological Trail.
The George Washington & Jefferson National Forests is on the south side of Break Interstate Park. The Pine Mountain Trail runs along the boarder of Kentucky and Virginia. Backcountry camping and off road recreation are available in this area.
Breaks Interstate offers cabins, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a motor lodge, and a visitors center. Class A sites with full and partial hookups, tent sites, fireplaces, shower and toilet facilities, and dumping stations. The campground is open April through October although persons may enter the park all year long, seven days a week for sightseeing or hiking. There is an entrance fee of $1 per car and $2 per bus. Tent sites are $7.00.
Recreation includes miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails with panoramic overlooks, stables and horse rentals, Class IV, V and VI rapids for kayaking and rafting (during Dam release in October), and trout fishing. The park is operated by the Breaks Interstate Commission and has an entrance fee of $1 per car and $2 per bus.
Green trail blaze (.75 miles) Easy
This trail follows along the top of the parks south rim with excellent views of the canyon and the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest. Overlooks include; Stateline Overlook, Clinchfield Overlook, Tower Tunnel Overlook
White trail blaze (.35 miles) Moderate
This trail features many interesting rock formation and faults. The trail changes grade frequently and varies from rocky to smooth. I found this area to be very interesting. It's worth a look.
Orange trail blaze (1.5 miles) Moderate
This trail follows along the base of the parks south rim about 350' below the overlooks. If you start at the Stateline Overlook, you can make a great day hike by combining Geological Trail, Prospectors Trail and Overlook Trail. This trail is rugged in spots but general follows the contour of the land.
Grassy Overlook Trail
Yellow trail blaze (.5 miles) Easy
This trail overlooks Grass Creek on the west side of the park. The trail begins near campground B and is only a short walk to the overlook. The trail continues steadily down and merges with Laurel Branch Trail.
Pine Mountain Trail
Yellow trail blaze (29 miles) Difficult
The Pine Mountain Trail, can be accessed from several different points. This challenging trail follows the Kentucky/Virginia border, with many elevation changes. Some areas the trail is as steep as 30º. I will be describing only sections that I have hiked.