We were off for another adventure, but where would we go? It wasn’t a typical time of year for camping. It was November and most people would be out of school and work for the Thanksgiving holiday. But we wanted to get away to the great outdoors for a few days. I saw on Pinterest some spectacular views, and some called it the Grand Canyon of the South. So we decided on Breaks Interstate Park. It’s a bi-state park sharing it’s home in Virginia and Kentucky.
The roads were windy to get there once we were off the interstate. It made us a little weary steering our camper through the windy roads up and down the mountain. However, we quickly realized it was worth the drive when we arrived. We were initially greeted by some friendly deer standing by the Park sign as we pulled in, we took that as a sign of good things to come. We were surprised when we pulled into the camp ground that we were the only ones in the entire park. Really? It was true. We had expected the park to be full for the holiday, but perhaps they were frightened by the thought of camping in the cold? It surprised us, but the weather was perfect for camping and after our initial shock we settled in to having the whole campground to ourselves.
We noticed there was a mountain bike trail so I was able to get Perry and Big Z to agree that we should give it a try. So the three of us headed to Rattlesnake Trail. I had never been true mountain biking before, I mistakenly assumed it was just a bike trail in the mountains. Wrong. We noticed the entry to the trail was rather narrow, but were sure it would widen as we traveled. Wrong. We started up the trail, zigging back and forth. Yes, we had to walk our bikes up part of the way. We now realize this was perhaps more than we bargained for, and perhaps we weren’t really prepared for this adventure. Perry’s bike was made for the streets and his tires were as smooth as could be. We realized we better go on, because otherwise we’d have to go down the zig zag we just came up. So forward we marched…with our bikes. Once at the top we were able to ride our bikes comfortably, we also ran into a worker for the park who was repairing the trail. We talked to him for awhile, and he assured us after looking at Perry’s bike that we probably weren’t prepared for this trail. He said once we went downhill we could break off to the right, and it would make the trail shorter, that it was a large loop, and we could cut some of it off. So we thanked him, and headed downhill..
So the downhill was cut into the side of the mountain, zigging back and forth. We could see it part of the way as we look down the trail. Thankfully we all had good attitudes about it, but it was quite intimidating. We mounted our bikes and vowed to try and be careful for the decent. I made sure my helmet was tight, and with a wail off I went. Perry and Big Z stayed together and stayed behind me. I could not believe how narrow the trail was, and how close the trees were to the trail. I enjoyed some of the ride down, it was exhilarating and scary all rolled into one. Perry had to walk a lot because his tires weren’t cut out for this kind of biking, but he was patient and kept going. We were so happy when we arrived at the loop turning point where we could head back to the parking area. I had fell several times during this Rattlesnake run, but I was proud that I had tried something new. We look back at that ride and we laugh, we were so unprepared. So we all have an interest in mountain biking but will do more research on the trails beforehand. We went out of our box and faced our fears, and conquered them. However, leisure biking might be more our speed.
As a family we did several hikes together. There are many spectacular views right off the main road. So it’s easy to drive and walk a few steps and get some great photos. We hiked all we could, short and long. The Ridge Trail combined with the Geological trail took us along some pretty fantastic rock formations and faults. There were many opportunities to discuss land formations, geology and geography. Most of the trails are moderate because of the rocky cliffs, but the views can’t be beat. We’d love to return to this park in the spring when everything is green, however we still enjoyed it in Fall after the leaves had all fallen off.
There is a hotel at Breaks Interstate Park as well as a few playgrounds and a restaurant and gift shop. The restaurant was closed during our visit, but we still enjoyed the gift shop for a few items. The teens enjoyed the gift shop for the WiFi it provided. There were also warnings of a bear in the area, we didn’t see him though. The bathroom facilities were pretty standard for a State Park, they were clean, but nothing fancy. We really enjoyed our quiet evenings around the campfire eating our hearty warm soups. There was plenty of fun in the hammocks and riding bikes around the camping loop. We hope to return to this park someday soon.
Do you have a favorite camping spot? Where are your favorite State Parks? Where are your favorite views?