Moto: Southfork Elk View - Breathitt County KY

Southfork Elk View Station, located in BFE somewhere between Breathitt and Knott County, is smack dab in the middle of some of God's best country. Being from the complete opposite end of Knott County I'm usually disappointed when there's not a mountain range to gawk at like Pine Mountain but this is a different pretty. This is an undeveloped, sparsely populated area that even a lot of natives of the two counties aren't familiar with. 

I took a Wednesday evening after work and decided to try out some of the trails I had spotted while traveling through a few times before (en route to Knott County). If you're driving through this area, and trust me when I say that almost no one does, you can spot a trail marker or two from the 2-lane but there's nothing announcing there are developed trails here. I couldn't even find a trail map anywhere on the property.

You can check out the site's Facebook for a little more info and this photo of their trail map:

Elk View Station was built on a high knob smack in the middle of, I assume, a reclaimed strip mine. The station itself is accessible by car, complete with paved parking and placards strewn about a paved walkway explaining the reintroduction of Elk that can be seen around the area. I definitely wouldn't call this a destination but it is pretty and I'm sure if you time it right there are a few elk to spot. However, the drive getting there is worth the price of admission (figure of speech, it's free). No matter if you're heading in from the west (Jackson, Campton, RRG area) or east (Hindman, Salyersville-ish, Prestonsburg-ish) you've got windy, creekside roads that take you farther and farther from civilization. There are times that you drive miles without seeing a house and there's no cell service (at least not with AT&T) for a solid half hour either direction. 

If you're planning a trip to Knott County's Mine Made Adventure park this may be an option for a few extra hours of riding - if you're heading back toward the Central KY area. Otherwise there just ain't a lot of miles to keep you interested. The riding is all doubletrack and is open to ATVs and horses.

I do plan to ride more of the trails, only because it's relatively close to my current worksite, but I didn't get to ride the majority of what they have mapped. However, I feel pretty confident in my opinion on this place. Rating Trails 50 and 53 "More Difficult" was a stretch. A lot of what I saw was overgrown, some to a point that it looks like someone posted a trail marker in a completely undeveloped thicket. If not for the brush I could have taken my truck through most of what I got to ride.

Trail 90 is the only black trail in the park. I took this trail in a counter-clockwise direction which started off immediately going down a steep, rutted hill all the way down to the creek. After a good rain, going up this hill on a dirt bike would be a task - stay tuned. This trail was secluded and the creek bed was beautiful. Heading back up the other side was uneventful but there is an old cabin that makes for a good pic. That thing would probably pretty neat to stay in overnight (no idea who it belongs to so don't take my word on it) because it overlooks the holler the creek runs through. The highlight of the trail for sure.

Overall, unless you're just looking for a scenic drive I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to make this a riding destination. If you're looking to view elk you're more likely to spot a herd of 'wild' horses. However, although I haven't done it yet, you can get here from Mine Made Adventure Park in which case I would (from what I've heard) highly recommend that. The folks at Mine Made offer guided tours so I'm sure they can make it happen.