More than 13 miles of hiking trails lace the park, varying from easy to difficult. Most are less than 1 mile long, but interconnected trails provide longer hikes over varying terrain. Maps with descriptions of each trail are available at the park office. Trail names describe the outstanding physical features of each: Cold Spring, Geological, Grassy Creek, Grassy Overlook, Lake, Loop, Overlook, Prospectors', Ridge, River, Towers, and Tower Tunnel trails. The Ridge and Geological trails are self-guided, with booklets available.
Elevations vary from 870 feet at Russell Fork in the canyon bottom to 1,978 feet at Clinchfield Overlook where the Overlook Trail begins. Surfaces are hard-packed dirt and rock, and are well maintained, with steps, handrails, and benches along the way. All are marked with colored blazes, with no intersecting trails having the same color. Pets must be leashed. Register at the visitor center for backcountry overnight camping. Stay away from exposed overlooks during thunderstorms. Bicycles are permitted only on the Mountain Bike Trail.
This half-hour, self-guided nature trail takes its name from the interesting rock formations and faults along its way. The path varies from smooth to rocky, and it changes grade frequently. On hot days hikers enjoy the cool air along the rock face. This trail can be combined with the Ridge Trail for a loop back to the Stateline Overlook.
This easy walking trail, popular with wildlife watchers, takes visitors along the undeveloped side of Laurel Lake past marshes and inlets. This trail joins the Laurel Branch Trail and also connects with the pool and dock areas. Entry points are at Potter's Knoll, the visitor center, and the dam.
Named for the stream it follows its entire length, this trail extends from the lower end of Laurel Lake to Grassy Creek. From the lake to a rock formation called The Notches, the terrain is flat and easy. The last .5 mile through a mixed forest of hemlock and hardwoods, the climb becomes steep, rocky, and uneven. Rhododendron thickets reward the hiker with their showy pink booms in June and July.
Frequent grade changes characterize this scenic path that leads along the edge of cliffs to provide an almost continuous canyon view. The hike is spectacular in spring and fall. Protect children from edges where there are no railings.
This hike follows the base of the cliffs about 350 feet beneath the major overlooks, following the contours of the land until it becomes rocky the last .5 mile. It offers a different perspective on the rock cliffs, overlooks above, and canyon below.
Bird watchers favor this self-guided nature hike across the top of a ridge covered with hardwoods and mountain laurel. After an easy, level beginning, the trail becomes steep near The Notches.
Hikers are advised to wear sturdy shoes, take water, and travel with a companion on this extremely steep and rugged trail with many switchbacks, descending to a gentler grade along the river. Outstanding views.
Well-maintained riding trails attract riders. Pony rides are available, too. Located between the swimming pool and cottages. Open Tuesdays through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. April 1 - December 20, weather permitting. (weekends only after Labor Day. Hours are 10 am - 6 pm.)
The Pine Mountain Trail has its northern end in Elkhorn. Kentucky's first linear state park extends down the ridge over 60 miles to the Pine Mountain State Park near Pineville. The ancient trail system throughout the upper Breaks Park offers everything from easy walks to rigorous descents into the gorge to the river. Tall cliffs have attracted local climbers and rappellers for years and the area is gaining a regional reputation. For multi-day hiking trips, a marked trail runs the Pine Mountain from Pound Gap at Jenkins to Potter Flats in the Breaks Park and countless side trails from this route offer breathtaking sights of Blowing Rock, Skeggs Gap, Pretty Rock House, Potter Flats and the Towers of the Breaks Gorge.
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