Breaks Interstate Park Loop

  • Highlights: Great views, wildlife, wildflowers, rock formations
  • Distance: 3.6 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 380 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Commission Circle (route 702) to Picnic Shelter # 2 parking area
  • Website: Breaks Interstate Park
  • Beer Pairings: Adventure Brewery—Expedition IPA and Rod & Reel Pilsner

The Hike:

Breaks Interstate Park is called “the Grand Canyon of the South”. Located on the Virginia-Kentucky border, “The Breaks” is a gorge more than five miles long and 1,600 feet deep carved out of the rock by the Russell Fork River. The park is in a very remote location, over six hours from Richmond.

Stop by the Visitor Center for a trail map and directions to the trail head. This hike combines four shorter hikes into a loop. Parts of the trail are well marked; however, some of the trail junctions were a bit confusing. This hike begins on the green-blazed Loop Trail located near Picnic Shelter # 2.

Follow the Loop Trail as it leads gradually downhill to a trail junction at .3 miles. The yellow-blazed spur trail leads to the left to the Tower Tunnel Overlook with great views of the gorge. Return to the trail junction and now follow the orange-blazed Prospectors Trail which leads further down the canyon. The Prospector Trail has some great views of rock formations, the canyon below, and the rocky cliffs above.

At about 2.2 miles, reach a junction with the white-blazed Geological Trail. Turn left here and follow the Geological Trail as it winds through a slot canyon. You will soon reach a set of stairs leading up to the Stateline Overlook with more great views. At this point, the trail leads to a parking area. Continue down the road and you will soon reach the green-blazed Overlook Trail.

Turn right on the Overlook Trail and follow this trail along the top of a ridge with even more great views including Pinnacle Rock. At 3.3 miles, the Clinchfield Overlook will be on the right. It is over 100 steps to reach this overlook but the views are well worth a short detour. Return to the Overlook Trail and continue back to the starting point at Picnic Shelter # 2.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Breaks Interstate Park offers cabin rentals as well as rooms in the Rhododendron Lodge. We opted for a room in the lodge. As a state park, the lodge doesn’t serve alcohol. Fortunately, we brought a few beers with us in the cooler. 

We first learned about Adventure Brewing in Fredericksburg from our daughter Rachel who went to school at the University of Mary Washington. Expedition IPA is a citrusy west coast IPA with notes of grapefruit and pine with a mild-medium bitter finish. Rod & Reel Pilsner is a German-style pilsner and is a light and refreshing option to heavier beers.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.