The Breaks Interstate Park is a recreational and scenic park that encompasses an area of 4,500 acres of woodland. The park is one of only two interstate parks in America and so has received its name from the fact that it sits astride the state line shared by both Kentucky and Virginia. The east and west sides of the park are separated by a 1,600 foot deep, 5 mile long canyon that forms the park’s centerpiece.
The Breaks Interstate Park is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the South.” The canyon is among the longest and deepest east of the Mississippi River. For millions of years the Russell Fork River, a tributary of the Big Sandy, has carved the solid sandstone to break through Pine Mountain creating breathtaking scenery along the canyon walls.
The Breaks Interstate Park attracts more than a third of a million visitors annually. The spectacular beauty of the park is showcased with 12 miles of trails and four scenic overlooks that offer these visitors a variety of activities and attractions. For more information click here.
For active visitors, the park also offers hiking, bike and driving trails, picnic and recreation areas, a lake with pedal boots, a swimming pool, horseback riding and an amphitheater. For extended visits, a rustic lodge built on the rim of the canyon, cottages that are secluded by the peaceful woodlands and a large campground offering 122 campsites with utilities are readily available to guests.
In recent years white water recreation (rafting, kayaking, and canoeing) on the Russell Fork River has become a major sport, drawing white water enthusiasts from many parts of the world. Rafting depends upon releases from the John W. Flannagan Reservoir. From the dam, the first two miles are Class II rapids which progress downstream reaching Class V+ rapids. Some of the most challenging rapids in the eastern United States can be found while traveling through the Breaks Park with names such as 20 Stitches, Broken Nose and Triple Drop.