The state of Kentucky has some breathtaking beauty. From the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the rolling hills of horse country, there is gorgeous scenery all around. Lush forests, mighty rivers, and quaint towns just add to the appeal of our state. It would take days to compile a list of every single scenic spot in Kentucky, but here 13 places that prove Kentucky just might be the most beautiful state in the country.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Pinnacle Overlook at Cumberland Gap
Every part of the Appalachian Mountains is a sight to see, but Cumberland Gap should go on your Kentucky bucket list purely for its historical significance. The trailhead for the Pinnacle Overlook is located in Middleboro, off of Pinnacle View Road.
2. Cumberland Falls
Cumberland Falls is referred to as the Niagra of South, and for good reasons. This impressive waterfall is 68 feet tall and is also the only place in the western hemisphere where a moonbow can be seen regularly. The waterfall is located within Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, which has tons of other great hiking trails and stunning waterfalls to feast your eyes on.
3. The View From The Top of Natural Bridge in Red River Gorge
The Natural Bridge located in Natural Bridge State Resort Park is one of the most visited sites in Red River Gorge. This sandstone arch near Slade is 65 feet high and 78 feet long. Hike to the top of it for some of the most breathtaking views in the whole Gorge.
4. Eagle Falls in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
Not far from Cumberland Falls, Eagle Falls is a smaller, but just as beautiful waterfall that you must see. An added bonus is that the trail you must hike to get to Eagle Falls (Trail 9 off KY Route 90) is super scenic as well.
5. Mammoth Cave
Kentucky's beauty even extends underground. Mammoth Cave is a huge cave system (the longest cave system known in the world, in fact) that spans across Edmonson, Hart, and Barren Counties. You can take tours of the cave to get a glimpse of this enchanting underground world.
6. Olmsted Parks in Louisville
Kentucky's largest city is Louisville, and it boasts some impressive parks. Even though you're in a big city, you can escape to Cherokee, Iroquois, Seneca, or Shawnee Parks for a refuge from the hustle and bustle. They were all designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central park in New York City.
7. The Berea Pinnacles
Berea is a quaint, artsy town in central Kentucky. Only about 10 minutes from downtown Berea are The Pinnacles. A somewhat challenging 6.6 mile loop will show you some of the most breathtaking views in the region.
8. The Land Between The Lakes
The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area is nestled in between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake in the western part of the state. Along with magnificent water views, there are plenty of gorgeous places to hike, camp, and take in the beauty of the surrounding wilderness. You might even see some bison or deer in LBL's Elk and Bison Prairie.
9. Nolin Lake
Nolin Lake is a great place to go fishing, boating, water skiing, or swimming in Edmonson County. It's close to Mammoth Cave, so you could hit two unbelievably pretty spots in one day.
10. Along the Russell Fork River in Breaks Interstate Park
Breaks Interstate Park is located in eastern Kentucky near Elkhorn City, and spans over the Virginia border. Nicknamed "the Grand Canyon of the South," Breaks Interstate Park is the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River. The Russell Fork River flows through it, making for some great views.
11. Old Frankfort Pike
Old Frankfort Pike is without a doubt one of the best drives in the state. It runs from Lexington to US 60 in Woodford County. This scenic byway takes you right through the heart of Kentucky horse country, and passes through six historic districts. You'll also pass by four properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
12. Great River Road Along the Mississippi River
Facebook/KY Great River Road
When people think of big rivers in Kentucky, most people probably first think of the Ohio River. However, there are four counties in Kentucky (Ballard, Hickman, Carlisle, and Fulton) that border the Mississippi River. The Great River Road spans from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, and travels through a very pretty portion of western Kentucky.
13. St. James Court in Old Louisville
If you're in Louisville and want to see some urban beauty, it doesn't get much better than St. James Court. It is located in Old Louisville, which is a historic neighborhood that holds the title of the largest preservation district comprised almost entirely of Victorian buildings. In the first weekend of October, the neighborhood hosts the St. James Court Art Show, which is a huge outdoor art show that attracts nearly 700,000 people every year.
This list merely scratches the surface of beautiful places in Kentucky, but these 13 spots certainly do make it clear that Kentucky might be the most beautiful state in America.