Visiting Kentucky is always fun, but it’s even better in the fall. That’s when the spectacular fall colors are out, and the temperatures are more moderate.
Kentucky is full of state and national parks. They offer everything from cave exploration to zip-line tours.
Some parks are run by private organizations. These often have more structured activities as well as the opportunity for self-guided exploration.
At least one site offers activities, especially for kids.
Driving tours are perfect for people who don’t want to have to hike to see the fall beauty. Kentucky’s named byways are suggested for this.
Because the fall beauty is outdoors in wild areas, we recommend skipping the cities and getting out into nature. Our recommendations focus on great places to see the colors and be active.
The Daniel Boone National Forest
The Red River Gorge is one of the most spectacular parts of this forest thanks to its sandstone arches and other unique geological features. It is awe-inspiring during the fall and is also beautiful in the winter.
The rest of the park offers great views when hiking and rock climbing. Overall, the park covers 2 million acres and spans 21 counties.
This forest contains many of Kentucky’s separately named locations, such as the Red River Gorge.
A zipline tour is available for the brave. It provides views of the area from above as well as a thrilling experience.
The Zilpo Scenic Byway
This is part of the national park and gives access to the backcountry. It is great for campers and hikers.
The byway is 12 miles long, making it a good hike that provides views of mountains and farmland.
Its Canopy Tree Walk lets visitors see the forest from above by taking them on a trail that runs 75 feet above the treetops. A Children’s Play Garden keeps kids engaged and allows them to be creative.
The forest has more than 40 miles of trails, making it great for those with the urge to explore.
Cumberland Gap National Historic Site
The fall hawk migration is a highlight of this famous and historic area.
A tour of Gap Cave offers a different sort of experience, taking tourists through an underground “cathedral” of cascades and stalagmites and letting them see marks made by Civil War soldiers.
Hikes on the 85 miles of above-ground trails offer breathtaking views in autumn.
Bluegrass Country Driving Tour
This self-guided tour takes visitors through Kentucky’s horse farm area, which offers the beauty of manicured lawns and stately trees, which are ablaze with color in the fall. It’s a great alternative to hiking.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Though known for its famous Mammoth Cave, the best views here are of the forest around it. Explore mountains, rivers, and forests on foot to take in the spectacular fall views.
The best time to see the fall colors is from early to mid-October.
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park – Here, visitors can rent a houseboat and sleep on the water. Cabins and cottages are available for those who prefer to stay on terra firma.
Fishing, boating, mini golf, disc golf, and picnicking are all activities that take place here, with fishing being a top attraction. Doing these things in the fall puts visitors in the middle of a spectacular backdrop of brightly colored trees.
Natural Bridge State Park
The Natural Bridge Park is named after is a unique curiosity, but visitors will likely remember the sky lift more. This skylift is open until the end of October.
The views – most spectacular as seen from the private cottages for rent – are unforgettable in the fall.
Besides hiking, activities include square dancing and touring the Natural Bridge Cave.
With all of these scenic places, there is no reason for a visitor to Kentucky to miss the beauty. A variety of difficulty levels ensures that no one is left out due to physical condition.
Those who are highly fit will love rock climbing. People who are of average fitness enjoy the hiking trails.
For those seeking a less physical experience, there are fishing spots and cottages with excellent views. Driving tours run through beautiful areas and visitors can enjoy them from the comfort of their cars.
There is something for everyone in Kentucky in the fall.