Elkhorn City is located on one of the most famous and well traveled bicycle Trails in the United States.
Lets take a bike ride on the Trans-America through Pike County!
The Trail comes into town form the Breaks Interstate Park on Highway 80 (Patty Loveless Drive) The Trail turns at the traffic light and follows Route 197 (West Russell Street to Elkhorn Creek Road) to Ashcamp and Route 195. At Lookout the Trail goes across Poor Bottom Road up the mountain and down Chaney Creek Road to US 23. The Trail then follow US 23 North to Penny Road at Virgie going across Abner Mountain into Floyd County at Wheelwright.
The Trail thru Eastern Kentucky
The TransAmerica Trail, also called U.S. Bicycle Route 76, was established by the Adventure Cycling Association for the celebration of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976. At that time, the organization was called Bikecentennial, a name many old-timers still associate with the TransAm Trail. This is still the greatest and most-travelled route crossing America.
The trail starts at the Atlantic Ocean in Yorktown Virginia and crosses Virginia, Kentucky, and the mid west before reaching the Pacific Ocean at Astoria Oregon. The route passes through the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Because it takes little-traveled back roads, the route is longer and hillier than if you took the major roads. The route is 4,262 miles long, plus side trips and detours which could add several hundred more miles.
The Trail is noted for its focus on America’s heartland, scenic diversity, and historical interest.
The Kentucky section of this national trail is more than 600 miles long. It runs west to east though the center of the state from rural Crittenden County at the Ohio River to the mountainous Pike County.
A Map of the entire Transamerica Route across Kentucky can be found HERE
Past post involving the Trans-America Bicycle Trail
I enjoy keeping track of Elkhorn City’s blossoming tourism industry. The past couple of weekends I have been going by the Ratliff Hole River access and looking at all the license plates from different states and counties. On Saturday July, we had visitors from as far away as Utah and a minanite family of 8 from Indiana. There were also tourists from North Carolina (3 cars), Tennessee (2 cars), Michigan (4 cars), Ohio (3 cars), and in state tourists from Fayette county, Knott County, Perry County, Lawrence County and Letcher County.
What is amazing is that I saw all these license plates at the Ratliff hole river access and only 2 or 3 of the cars where boaters. Everyone else was swimming and Tubing the river. My count of the people at 1:00 was 78 in or by the river. The river is getting just as much use during the low water in the summer as it does during the October Whitewater releases.
Since I am a frequent guest of many of our local eating establishments, I also see the impact these visitors have on our local economy. All the restaurants in Elkhorn City have been busy. Another positive this summer for Elkhorn City’s local economy has been the water park at the Breaks Interstate Park. I have observed numerous families eating at the Rusty Fork Cafe in the late afternoon after spending the day at the water park in the Breaks.
This is really a lesson in economics. I remember when the water park at the Breaks was being planned and a lot of people in Elkhorn City thought that it would not help Elkhorn City. Yet, it has helped. One way it has helped is to provide about 14 local jobs. I know of 8 young people who have jobs at the water park this summer. You also know it helps when you see 4 different families eating at the Rusty fork Cafe who have just came from the water park and are on their way home to Pikeville and Prestonsburg.
I also should mention our visitors who come through Elkhorn City along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. My Count so far this year is 476 and that is just the ones who I saw, so we know the number is higher.
Where do we go from here? We must complete our Trail Town Certification (link to Kentucky Trail Town Document) and make Elkhorn City’s tourism infrastructure more user-friendly. I talk more about ways to do this in future posts. For now get out and enjoy the river!