PRELIMINARY OVERVIEW OF EXISTING AND
PROPOSED TRAILS IN DICKENSON COUNTY
Potential for developing motorized trails similar to West Virginia's Hatfield and McCoy Trail System
Potential for trailhead in Haysi to connect with network of trails in Buchanan County VA. and Pike County KY. Mayor Yates of Haysi expressed strong interest in his community establishing itself as “ATV-friendly”.
Potential in the southern portion of the county, possibly connecting with the Mountain View Trail System out of Wise County.
A tributary of the Big Sandy River, the Russell Fork River is a scenic series of rapids, pools and tortuous twists. World class whitewater rafting opportunities are available on the river running through the Breaks Canyon (Breaks Interstate Park) below the John Flannagan Dam four weekends in October when released from the dam create raftable water. Whitewater rating; Class III-V+, depending on the stretch of river. Ability exists to run easier rapids or harder rapids without running the other. Kayakers or rafters will enjoy this intense river. Russell Fork Whitewater outfitters offers day trips and assistance for families and groups. 276-530-7044 and 276-530-7243
Canoeing and Kayaking: John W. Flannagan Dam & Reservoir
During the first four full weekends in October Flannagan has whitewater releases to achieve winter pool. From the dam, the first two miles are class II rapids which progresses downstream reaching Class V + rapids. Some of the most challenging rapids in the eastern U.S. can be found while traveling through Breaks Interstate Park with names like 20 Stitches, Broken Nose and Triple Drop.
Greenway: Russell Fork Greenway
Russell Fork Greenway could connect the town of Haysi in Dickenson County to Buchanan County and on to Kentucky through Breaks Interstate Park. It is a non-motorized trail proposed to connect the Breaks Interstate Park with Flannigan Dam along the banks of the Russell Fork River.
Hiking Trails: Chestnut Ridge Nature Trail
Chestnut Ridge Nature Trail is made up of the combination of the Ridge Trail, Laurel Branch Trail and the Geological Trail. Rated as easy/moderate.
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. Trail: .35 mile, self-guided. Degree of difficulty: Moderate.
Hiking Trails: Lake Trail (at Breaks Interstate Park)
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. Trail: .5 mile. Degree of difficulty: Easy.
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. Trail: 1.25 miles. Degree of difficulty: Easy at first, becoming difficult the last .5 mile.
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. Trail: .75 mile. Degree of difficulty: Difficult.
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. Trail: 1.5 miles. Degree of difficulty: Moderate.
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. Trail: .5 mile, self-guided. Degree of difficulty: Easy at first, then difficult.
Hiking Trails: River Trail (at Breaks Interstate Park)
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. Trail: 1 mile. Degree of difficulty: Difficult.
Short .3 mile trail with breathtaking views. Degree of difficulty: portions are difficult.
Horse Trails: Breaks Interstate Park Horse Trails
Used to offer trail rides but due to insurance issues, this activity is no longer offered. Trails are open to the public including a popular one at the Knob Tower. One of the horse trails begins at the riding area located on the right side of the road as one turns towards the cottage area and continues to the campground providing a 30 to 40 minute ride.
Horse Trails: Cumberland & Pine Mountain Horse Trail
Serious hikers or horseback riders will love this scenic trail which follows the crest of the Cumberland Mountains dividing Virginia and Kentucky for 26 miles from Pound Gap in Wise County to Potter's Flats in the Breaks Interstate Park. Trailhead parking available for horse trailers. The trail requires map reading and safety skills. At least 7 access points exists off St. Rt. 630 and 611. Join us for our annual trail rides the 2nd weekend in May and the second weekend in October. When complete, the Pine Mountain Horse Trail will connect Breaks Interstate Park with the Pound Reservoir in Wise County. Contact: Pine Mountain Trail Riders, Rt 83, Clintwood, VA 24228 Phone: (606) 633-2362
John W. Flannagan Pound River Area offers a horse show ring which is managed by the Cumberland Mountain Trail Riders. Shows are scheduled the second of the month, June August. Trail Ride outings are in May and September.
There is a designated trail for mountain biking in Breaks Interstate Park. It begins just before one reaches the cottages on the left hand side of the road. The trails go in behind the Naturalist's residence where there are approximately 13 miles of trails in a stack loop system design.
Cumberland Mountain Trail Extension will connect the Pine Mountain Trail in Dickenson County to the Cumberland Mountain Trail in Tennessee.
Multi-Use Trail: Haysi-Breaks Trails
This trail would start in Haysi and travel north primarily following the Russell Fork River just past the Lover’s Leap area at Breaks Interstate Park. (Detailed Map available)
Multi-Use Trail: Haysi-Vicey Trail
The Haysi-Vicey Trail comes off the Haysi-Breaks Trail noted above then heads east following along the abandoned rail R.O.W. to tie into Southern Gap Planned Community Trails Network. (Map available)
National Scenic Trail: Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Appalachian National Scenic Trail traverses the area through public and private land.
Every effort should be made to avoid impacts to the trail in planning for public projects such as roads, pipelines and power lines.
NEED CLARIFICATION OF ROUTE.
Scenic River: Russell Fork
The entire Russell Fork River in Break Interstate Park in Dickenson County has the components to be designated a scenic river. Class 4 & Class 5 whitewater rafting in Breaks Interstate State Park area. The shortage of public access sites limits the duration and types of trips that can be offered.
Suggestion: There is also a need to improve public access to stocked trout streams in the region. Inadequate parking and access trails create congestion, resource degradation and unsafe conditions during popular fishing days.
Statewide trunkline trails: Great Eastern Trail
In the works
Great Eastern Trail - Major trunkline trail traverses the northern border of Virginia and connect with trails in both Alabama and New York. Anticipated to use the Cumberland Mountain Trail which comes out of Tennessee at the Cumberland Gap, cuts west to connect with the Pine Mountain Trail on its way to Breaks Interstate Park then continues northeast across the state.
Route 611 and Route 80 between Breaks Interstate Park and John W. Flanagan Dam & Reservoir have been recommended for consideration as a Virginia Byway Clintwood, VA 24228. Apply for Virginia Byway status for section of road.
White Water Rafting: Russell Fork whitewater rafting
Class 4 and Class 5 Whitewater run on Russell Fork in Breaks Interstate Park. Internationally recognized as one of the premier rafting rivers.
Additional information on the Cumberland Mountain Trail (Horseback Riding)within the
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
Many scenic overlooks are located along the trail in the form of natural openings and large rock outcrops. These overlooks provide views of Virginia and Kentucky. Viewing is especially spectacular during Fall Foliage. Pine Mountain is relatively isolated, having only one access road suitable for vehicular travel. This solitude is much sought after by the hikers and horse riders who frequent the trail.
The Forest Service has trailhead parking for horse trailers at Forest Service Road 616 at Mullins Pond and also at Counts Cabin approximately 1 mile east of Blowing Rock on State Route 611. The Forest Service has a volunteer agreement with the Cumberland Mountain Trail Riding Club in Clintwood, Virginia to assist in the maintenance of this trail. The trail club holds several rides each year with as many as 150 riders participating in each ride.
Trail Beginning: Trail begins at Pound Gap, Virginia on Forest Service Road 201.
Trail Ending: Trail comes down from Pinnacle Rock to the Breaks Interstate Park.
Requires map reading skill and challenge to travel. Hikers and horseback riders are encouraged to carry water. Safety is also a concern because the trail is steep and rocky and there are large rock outcrops along the trail.
Access points to the trail exist off U.S. 23 at Pound Gap, and State Route 630 in Wise. Access points in Dickenson County are off Forest Service road 616 and State route 611. There are at least 7 access points to the trail off State Routes 630 and 611.
Located in a rugged, wooded Cumberland Mountain setting, this V-shaped 1,145 acre reservoir stores waters of the Cranesnest and Pound Rivers: this is some of America's cleanest and clearest water (some spots, visibility of 40+ feet). The reservoir provides flood control, low-flow augmentation, fish and wildlife enhancement, water supply and recreation, including: picnicking, camping, swimming, fishing motor boating, water-skiing, marina, launch ramps, hiking, hunting, whitewater rafting and a visitor center.
Please Note: This water source provides the only opportunities for power boating and sailing in the region. (DCR)
Suggestion: Because the demand for flat-water recreation exceeds supply, plans for other activities involving the use of water from the reservoir for white water releases should be considered for this resource. (DCR)
Recreational Planning Regions Cumberland Plateau - Region 2
Region 2 includes Dickenson, Buchanan, Russell, and Tazewell.
State Park: Breaks Interstate Park
Description: 4,600 acres with approx. 946 acres in Virginia. Known as the Grand Canyon of the South, the park has breathtaking views of the 5-mile long, one-quarter deep sandstone gorge carved by the Russell Fork over millions of years through Pine Mountain.
Amenities: The park has motor lodge, two-bedroom cottages and campground with electric, water and sewer hookups. There is a convention center, restaurant, visitor center and gift shop. Also swimming pool, picnicking, amphitheater, trails for hiking and mountain biking, boat dock and fishing on 12-acre Laurel Lake, whitewater rafting on Russell Fork and horseback riding.
WMTH CORPORATION PO BOX 51153 BOWLING GREEN, KY 42102 PHONE (270) 792-5300 FAX 721-0004