Breaks Interstate Park is located in the rugged Appalachian Mountains on the border of Virginia and Kentucky on State Route 80. The park is more than 4,600 acres in size, and contains a 5-mile gorge, plunging to 1650 feet, often called the “Grand Canyon of the South.” While Virginia and Kentucky State Parks are sister organizations of Breaks, Breaks is operated independently by the Breaks Interstate Park Commission.
180 million years ago, in this area now lying across Kentucky and Virginia, a vast inland sea receded, leaving in its wake a veritable cradle of botany. Meanwhile, the river that is now Russell Fork got about the work of carving out an immense, spectacular gorge, renowned as the largest east of the Mississippi.
Visitors will find delicate landscapes, timeless mountains, hidden ponds, craggy rock faces, and vibrant flora and fauna. Biking, hiking, riding, rafting…no matter how you choose to move through The Breaks Interstate Park, you will find yourself exploring, just like John Swift, Daniel Boone, and others who came here first.
Breaks Interstate Park Kentucky
627 Commission Cir, Breaks, VA 24607, United States
7 am to 9 pm
Monday – Friday
Under four feet tall – $6
Four feet tall and over – $8
Seniors (age 55+) – $6
Infants age 1 and under – Free
Saturday – Sunday
Under four feet tall – $8
Four feet tall and over – $10
Seniors (age 55+) – $8
Infants age 1 and under – Free
Admission for kids under four feet tall is half-off after 3 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Suggested Equipment for Breaks Interstate Park Kentucky:
The following activities within the park should be done with utmost caution. Make sure that you have the proper protective gear and equipment necessary to make your adventures safe and accident-free. We advise you to read the TIPS underneath each activity to serve as a guide on what you may need to bring in order to enjoy your stay fully.
The heart of an authentic Breaks Interstate Park explorer’s experience! There are 138 sites that range from a great place to pitch your tent to full RV hook-ups. Most of these sites are wooded but if you prefer, grassy areas are available in C Bottom. Playgrounds, a basketball court, a well-stocked store and a laundry facility are available. The campground is open each year from the first Friday in March through the first Monday in December.
As a part of the Virginia Birding and wildlife trail, Breaks Interstate Park is home to a wide variety of birds. Some of those include the Swainson’s Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Turkey Vulture, Red Tail Hawk and Osprey.
More than 25 miles of hiking trails lace the park, varying from easy to difficult. Most are less than one mile long, but interconnected trails offer the more ambitious hiker a good choice of routes over varying terrain. Maps with descriptions of each trail are available at the Visitor Center. Trail names give clues to the outstanding physical features of each: Cold Spring, Geological, Grassy Creek, Grassy Overlook, Lake, Loop, Overlook, Prospectors’ Ridge, River, Towers, and Tower Tunnel. Both the Ridge and Geological trails are self-guided, with booklets available at the Visitor Center that detail points and notes of interest. Additionally, guided hikes are scheduled throughout the summer.
The Mountain Bike Trail offers breathtaking scenery. The trail is a stack loop trail system offering up to nearly 12 miles of riding, from moderate to difficult. Depending on the route chosen, bikers may plan rides of varying lengths, with the possibility of good climbs and long downhill runs. Positive reviews for this trail are posted regularly on the websites for hiking enthusiasts.
Boating / Rafting
Pedal boats, canoes, and a Johnboat are available seasonally for a rental by the hour or half-hour on beautiful Laurel Lake. Visitors may use these boats as a means to explore, or for fishing.
For the serious adventurer, whitewater rafting is available on the raging rapids of the Russell Fork River. Each Saturday and Sunday during the first four full weekends in October, water is released from the John Flannagan Dam and Reservoir, creating world-class rapids on the Russell Fork through the Breaks Gorge. Different sections of the river provide varying levels of difficulty. Rafters will find Class Two and Three rapids closer to the Flannagan Dam area, and rapids up to Class Six through the Breaks Park area on sections of the river where names like “twenty stitches,” “a broken nose,” and “triple drop,” give some sense of the adventure to be had here. The gradient of the Russell Fork ranges from five feet per mile to an unbelievable 180 feet per mile. One violent 75-foot stretch, aptly named “El Horrendo,” is considered one of the most difficult in the East.
Splash in the Park! Open daily from the Saturday prior to Memorial Day through Labor Day. Features include a 4,000 square-foot beach-entry leisure pool, which anchors the water park. Additional features, including a current channel; four water slides; a spray ground; in-pool basketball and volleyball areas; shade structures; and other water features ensure that everyone will enjoy this facility. Concession available.
Laurel Lake, Beaver Pond, and the Russell Fork River offer a variety of fishing experiences and the promise of a good catch. Laurel Lake, a twelve-acre man-made lake, and our two-acre Beaver Pond are stocked with bluegill and bass. The Russell Fork River is stocked with Rainbow Trout by Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries officials. A fishing License is required, and is available for purchase at the Park Visitor Center.
Leave No Trace
Kentucky State Parks are proud community partners of LEAVE NO TRACE CENTER FOR OUTDOOR ETHICS. Everyone is advised to comply with the following:
PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE
TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES
DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY
LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND
MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS
BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER VISITOR
Breaks Interstate Park is a must-visit state park in Kentucky . Check out other state parks in Kentucky here.