Breathitt County Highpoint Trip Report

one area (1,620+ ft) and five areas (1,600+ ft)

Date: June 13, 2007
Author: Bill Schuler

Topo maps: Guage, Noble, Haddix and Buckhorn Quadrangles
DeLorme Atlas: Page 54-G4, G5 and I5 - Page 71-A8 and B7

I did these six points from south to north along KY 15. Begin at the Hal Rogers Parkway (KY 80) exit 59 and KY 15, just north of Hazard and zero odometer. 0.0 -- Rogers Parkway, KY 80 at KY 15. Go north on KY 15.

12.0 -- KY 28, turn left (west) on KY 28 toward Lamont and Manuel.
17.3 -- Road east of Chavies at marker 13, remember this spot and continue straight ahead.
24.1 -- KY 28 at the county line, go up the driveway on the left to the house.
            Get permission to hike about 0.22 miles west to Point 1600+ for Area #1. Return to KY 28, turn right.
30.9 -- Road east of Chavies at KY 28, turn left (north) onto dirt.
32.6 -- Y in the road, I parked here.

Hike up the right fork to Point 1600+ in about 1.3 miles. The track passes the peak on the right. I used my GPS to scramble up and find the top of Area #2. Continue another 2.5 miles to the top of Elkbutt Knob at Area #3. The total elevation gain was about 1000 feet. There has been some strip mining in the area. Saw a couple of deer on the way. I also saw one and heard another rattlesnake so be forewarned. They are there. Return to the car and the main road.

34.3 -- KY 28, turn left (east).
39.6 -- KY 15, turn right (south).
44.3 -- KY 267, turn left (north).
54.3 -- KY 476 just south of Stacy (Rowdy), turn right (east).
56.2 -- Mac and Nellie Branch Road, turn left onto dirt.
57.1 -- I parked at about elevation 1000 feet.

Logging was going on uphill and I couldn't drive farther. I got permission to hike to Area #4. It was about a 400 feet gain up a south-southeast ridge and south ridge to the top in 0.7 mile. I returned to KY 476.

59.0 -- KY 476, turn right (west).
60.9 -- In Stacy, continue north on KY 476.
65.0 -- Buckhorn Canyon Road at the Breathitt/Perry county line, turn right (east).
69.2 -- Clemons Fork Road, turn left (northeast).
70.9 -- Robinson Forest Station, I got permission to drive right, across the creek.
            You need a 4wd vehicle from here or at least one with high clearance. I was warned of logging in the area.

72.2 -- John Carpenter Fork at a Y at about 1000 feet. I had enough of the narrow track with no turnouts so parked. I don't know what I would have done if I met a logging truck coming down. I hiked up the left fork (still Clemons Fork Road) until it ended, then continued bushwhacking north up Maple Hollow and up the south ridge of Point 1620+. This is Area #5, the probable highest point in the county as a result of the extra contour interval. There was no sign that the top had been strip mined although there was extensive mining signs north, east and west as far as the eye could see. I returned down the south ridge and then up slopes to the southeast to Point 1600+ at Area #6 to complete the county. Round trip from my vehicle was about 7 miles and 1,100 feet of gain. Return the same way.

This county took me all day in 90-degree heat with lots of wrong turns and bushwhacking. Typical Kentucky Appalachian hill country. I hope I got the mileages right as my notes were a mess due to the many false alarms and wrong turns.