25 Best Places to See Fall Colors In Kentucky

July 16, 2020

Kentucky is beautiful year round, but definitely during the fall months. Here is a list of more than 25 best places to see fall colors in Kentucky. From all areas of the state you can see dramatic colors as the trees change. Actitivies to see changing leaves in Kentucky range from simply driving our beautiful country roads to rock climbing and everything in between

Best Places to See Fall Colors in KY

Kentucky’s landscapes range from gorgeous farms in the West to rolling hills in Central Kentucky to the rustic beauty of the Appalachian mountains in the east. This diverse landscape makes Kentucky the perfect place to see fall colors. We take it seriously around here and even offer a ColorFall Kentucky Hotline (800-225-8747) you can use from late September to early November to find the progression of the changing leaves in Kentucky.

Vibrant yellow trees along a wooden fence. Best places to see fall colors in Kentucky.

Fall Colors in Lexington Area

Bluegrass Country Driving Tour

Driving the back roads around Lexington is the perfect way to see fall in all its glory in Kentucky. Visit Lex has a self-guided Bluegrass Country Driving Tour that will take you through scenic horse farm country. You’ll be in awe at the beauty and magnitude of our horse farms. This drive is gorgeous at any time of the year, but especially during autumn in Kentucky.

Lexington Cemetery

Lexington Cemetery is a wonderful place to visit in the fall. It’s conveniently located just outside of downtown Lexington and easy to access from the interstate. The cemetery serves as an urban park and includes more than 200 types of trees and ponds. A drive through Lexington Cemetery is a great way to see fall foliage in Kentucky as well as see many historical monuments. It’s also one of the most instagramable places in Lexington.

Fall Races at Keeneland

Lexington considers itself to be The Horse Capital of the World and our love of thoroughbred horses is seen throughout the city. Keeneland is one of the premier horse racing venues in the world and it’s also a great place to visit in the fall in Kentucky. If you’re in the area in October, make sure to visit during Keeneland Fall Meet, generally held for most of the month.

Thoroughbred horses leaving the starting gate at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky. Keeneland is a great place to see fall colors in Kentucky.

Horse racing isn’t your thing? You can visit Keeneland just to see it’s lovely grounds. A National Historic Landmark, visitors can book a behind-the-scenes tour or do a self-guided tour. I have fond memories of spending time at Keeneland as a kid and Keeneland Kids Club is one of the great activities for kids in Lexington.

Keeneland – 4201 Versailles Road, Lexington, KY

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is located on the Southern end of Lexington and can be easily accessed via Interstate 75 and from downtown Lexington in about 20 minutes. The park has 734-acres bordering the Kentucky River making it a great place to see changing colors in the fall. There are ten miles of trails ranging from a 1/2 mile paved, barrier-free trail to trails that are more difficult.

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary – 3885 Raven Run Way, Lexington, KY

Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate

Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, is a beautiful house to visit at any time of the year. Its 20 acres with a variety of trees makes a walk around the grounds a great place to visit in the fall. There is a charge to visit the home (which I highly recommend) but touring the grounds is one of the many free things to do in Kentucky in the fall.

Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate – 120 Sycamore Road, Lexington, KY 40502

Bike Through Kentucky in the Fall

The back roads in Central Kentucky have been a mecca for cycling enthusiasts. Bring your own bike or rent one from a local bike shop and pedal the back roads with the fall foliage overhead. The Legacy Trail in Lexington offers visitors twelve miles of trail running from downtown Lexington to the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Fall is the perfect time to visit The Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Much of the trail runs roughly between Lexington and Louisville meaning you can try all of the wonderful bourbons Kentucky has to offer, visit both of our largest cities, and see gorgeous fall color. Visit The Kentucky Bourbon Trail to find maps, driving distances, trip planners, events, and much more.

Other Places to See Fall Color in Lexington (or nearby)

Check out my local’s guide to some of the best activities to do in Lexington. You’ll also find some of my favorite local restaurants and bakeries here, here, and here!

Where to See Fall Colors in Louisville

Belle of Louisville

A unique way to see fall colors in Louisville is aboard the Belle of Louisville or Mary M. Miller riverboats. A ride on the historic steamboat will take you from the downtown Louisville along the Ohio River providing scenic views along the way.

Belle of Louisville riverboat sailing from downtown Louisville along the Ohio River at sunset. A ride on the Belle is a great place to see fall color in Kentucky.
via – Belle of Louisville Riverboats

Belle of Louisville Riverboats – 401 West River Road, Louisville, KY

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Sculpture of a giant next to a pond in the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest near Louisville, Kentucky. Bernheim is a great place to see fall colors in Kentucky.

Bernheim Forest isn’t in Louisville but is a quick half-hour drive. The park has over 16,000 acres of land and features hiking and biking trails, guided hikes, an Arts in Nature Program, and tons of activities for kids. One of the most popular trails is the Forest Giants Trail, an easy hike to see three forest giants. Between more than 8,000 varieties of trees and plants and the many activities, Bernheim is a great way to see beautiful fall color.

Also, there are several bourbon distilleries nearby!

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest – 2075 Clermont Rd, Clermont, KY

See Fall Colors in Louisville at Cave Hill Cemetery

Rows of soliders' tombstones with a backdrop of trees in the fall at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY.
via Cave Hill Cemetery by Millie Farmer

Just like the Lexington Cemetery is a great place to see fall colors, so is Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. The only arboretum in Louisville, Cave Hill features many trees of interest due to their age and size. Check out the many tours offered including a wagon tour that would be the perfect fall activity.

Cave Hill Cemetery – 701 Baxter Ave, Louisville, KY

Hike the Trails in Cherokee Park

One of Louisville’s oldest and trendiest neighborhoods is the Highlands. You’ll find tons of restaurants, bars, and shopping as well as the beautiful Cherokee Park. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame, the park’s lovely hills and open spaces make it a great place to see fall colors in Louisville. The park features a 2.3-mile scenic loop with separate lanes for vehicles and recreational users.

Cherokee Park – 745 Cochran Hill Road, Louisville, KY 40206

You gotta eat while in Louisville, here are some of my favorite places to eat in the Ville!

Fall Colors in Eastern Kentucky

Daniel Boone National Forest

This national forest features incredible rustic beauty and serves as a gateway to the Appalachia mountains. Visit year round and find trails, bike friendly routes, rock climbing, boating, kayaking, and many other activities. But fall is the perfect time to visit this treasure in Kentucky and see the spectacle of fall colors.

Natural sandstone arch on a trail in Red River Gorge. The gorge is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest located in Kentucky.
via Red River Gorge

The forest is huge covering over 2 million acres and spans twenty-one counties across Kentucky. Located in the park, Red River Gorge is a popular spot due to it’s unique geological formations including more than 100 natural sandstone arches. It’s one of the world’s top destinations for rock-climbers. Looking for something tamer? You’ll find plenty of walking trails to see the fall foliage from ground level.

If you want to see the changing leaves from above, book a zipline tour that will have you sailing across the treetops at 55 miles per hour!

Daniel Boone National Forest

Wilderness Road Heritage Highway

The Wilderness Road Heritage Highway takes visitors through southern and eastern Kentucky. In addition to gorgeous fall scenery, this national scenic byway offers stops in several parks and past small towns in Kentucky. One stop worth making is in Berea, the crafts capital of Kentucky.

Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail

Eastern Kentucky features stunning scenery at any time of the year. But the mountains really show off in the fall. This trail is still under development but will run about 120 miles between Breaks Interstate Park and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. The various sections feature hiking and paved trails. As part of the Kentucky State Park System, you’ll find shelters and activities throughout.

Stunning treetops in green, red, and yellow along with rocky outcrops along the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail in Eastern Kentucky. Kentucky is a wonderful place to see changing fall colors.
Via – Kentucky State Parks

Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail – Whitesburg, KY

Other Places in Eastern Kentucky to Visit in the Fall

Where to See Fall Colors in Western Kentucky

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

The Land Between the Lakes is a national recreation area in Western Kentucky. You’ll find it’s a great place to see fall leaves in Kentucky. And you’ll find 300 miles of shoreline, camping, hiking, boating, and other outdoor activities.

Land Between the Lakes – 238 Visitor Center Dr, Golden Pond, KY

Come to Kentucky to see all of reds, oranges, and yellows of fall! We offer something for everyone and no matter whether you decide to drive through one of our beautiful forests, stroll through an orchard, or spend some time on the water you’ll see the beauty of fall.

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

More about Candy Wafford

Candy Wafford is a US-based travel blogger and while she travels frequently for her job, she is happiest when traveling for pleasure. Preferably strolling along a cobblestoned street with an ice cream cone in her hand.

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