|I've vacationed in Breaks Interstate Park three times in the last two years, and I intend to go back again this fall. Out of all the parks I've visited so far in the U.S., Breaks is my favorite State Park. Click on any small image to see the full picture and read more about that picture.|
Breaks Park is so peaceful, and so beautiful, the pictures don't do it justice.
The first time I was at Breaks was in June of 2003. I didn't know anything about the park. I found it on the map and it seemed like a convenient place to stop on a road trip through Kentucky to West Virginia.
Once I was there it was as if I had been enchanted. The rhododendron bushes were in full bloom and they were everywhere!
It was a weekday and the park was not crowded. I stayed at the lodge, it was a comfortable, large clean room with a balcony. I drove the roads around the park and stopped at several overlooks to walk out and take in the scenery. It was amazing!
The paths to the overlooks were well taken care of, and one was even handicap accessable. I am not big on hiking or climbing, but I was able to easily walk along these trails. They even had wooden stairs in places.
There are many trails at Breaks that are "not" for the faint hearted like me.... but there were enough easy places to walk that I was able to see quite a bit.
I had dinner at the lodge. They have a buffet there that is wonderful. Home style southern cooking. I was up early the next morning and sat on the balcony reading a book and enjoying the scenery and peace and quiet.
The park is not easy to get to, you have to drive on winding two lane roads, not an interstate highway anywhere nearby... but it is sure worth the trip.
Click here for a map of the park. Click here for a list of the trails.
Breaks, often called the Grand Canyon of the South, has the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River. The Russel Fork River snakes at the bottom of the gorge, has white water rafting. The rock formations are high and steep, creating a beautiful setting for bird watching. We have watched eagles soaring around the tower rock.
Before white men came into the area, Native Americans knew this area well. The rough hills and valleys supported an abundance of wildlife. The Shawnee and the Cherokee came here following buffalo and other wild game.
Early settlers referred to the mountain passages located on the Kentucky / Virginia border 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.
The Towers, connected to Pine Mountain by a narrow stretch of solid rock, rises 600 feet above and is surrounded on three sides by the Russell Fork River.
Frontiersman Daniel Boone gets credit for discovering the Breaks in 1767. He was searching for trails through the mountains into Kentucky and the Ohio Valley beyond. When he and two friends attempted to navigate the gorge by foot, they ran into copperheads and rattlesnakes.
They were also confronted with Russell Fork pounding through a tight canyon with 1,000-foot sheer walls, and they were overwhelmed by thick tangles of rhododendron, mountain laurel, and acres of towering trees (some 7 feet thick).
Admitting defeat after several attempts, the three pitched camp nearby, sat out the winter of 1768, and returned to their homes in North Carolina.
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.
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