Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River Rafting
Price: $$
River Rapid Class: IV-V
Trip in Miles: 3 miles
Trip Duration: 0.5 day
Season: October
Raft Types: Paddle Raft
Nearby Towns: Elkhorn City (KY)
Gateway City: Elkhorn City (KY)
Driving Times: Lexington (KY): 3.5 hours; Roanoke (VA): 4 hours

The Russell Fork of the Big Sandy River is known as the most difficult commercially run river in the East, with a series of Class V+ rapids that are more like waterfalls. It's the home of the notorious El Horrendo Rapid and a machine-gun-rapid series of other big drops, formed as the river drops over 500 feet in less than three miles. Don't forget, in between the times that you're defying death, to stop and look around. Flowing through a 1,600-foot-deep, five-mile-long canyon, the scenery is staggering. The best time to go is October, when the fall foliage is in full flourish. Rafters without Class IV experience need not apply. This is one serious, highly charged adrenaline rush. The river is located near Kentucky and Virginia’s 4,600-acre Breaks Interstate Park and is free-flowing except for four weekends in October when scheduled releases from the Flanagan Dam herald the whitewater madness. Water levels at other times of the year are dependent on rainfall.

Published: 18 May 2011 | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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