Every year, droves of equine lovers visit Kentucky to see some of the best thoroughbred horses in the word. With its miles of scenic open roads lined with gorgeous horse farms, as well as fun routes that cut through the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Grass State also draws scores of iron horse aficionados, as well. In addition, this state practically drips in pure Americana. It is home to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a route that links a number of major bourbon distilleries; as well as the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant; and Churchill Downs, the storied site of the Kentucky Derby.
Bikers looking for a lot of twisties will love US Route 421, which winds through a number of states, including Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. The most famous portion of US Route 421 is its Tennessee segment, which is known as the Snake, and is said to contain over 480 wicked curves. While the Kentucky segment of Route 421 is generally not as twisty as the Snake, it still has plenty of sections that boast sinuous, tight two-lane curves, exciting sweepers, as well as sheer drops-offs that will keep most riders very entertained.
Another route that is popular with twisty lovers is State Route 22 in northern Kentucky, between Worthington and Willow. This is an approximately 100-mile route that combines scenery with the added entertainment of lots of nice twisties and fast sweepers. Riders will pass beautiful horse farms and also run along ridge tops on this fun road.
Motorcyclists looking for another road that combines a pretty backdrop with interesting asphalt should head over to State Highway 89, which cuts a sweet path through the Daniel Boone National Forest. Riders can pick this road up in the charming town of Winchester and take it to Livingston or just do portions of it. A 35-mile section of this road, from the junction of Kentucky 89 and Kentucky 490 to the Estill County line, has been designated as a state Scenic Byway. State Highway 89 boasts some nice elevation changes, thrilling sweepers, as well as a number of tight switchbacks.
A great route that offers scenery, a lot of unusual features and some fun twisties can be found in the Red River Gorge. This old logging road meanders alongside the Red River and is very scenic. The highlight of this trip for many motorcyclists is Nada Tunnel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is basically a one-way unlit, 13’ x 12’ x 900-foot hole cut through the mountain on Kentucky 77. To get to this little road, riders will head south from Stanton on The Bert Combs Parkway until they reach Route 77, which is also known as Nada Tunnel Road. Riders will then take this road east until they reach Route 715, which they will then take back to Bert Combs Parkway.
Although drinking and motorcycle riding never mix, riders can enjoy visiting the Bluegrass State’s distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to see how this alcohol is crafted. Bourbon distilleries on this route include Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Maker’s Mark. Most of the distillery tours are free, with the exception of Woodford Reserve, which charges a small entrance fee. All of the distilleries are located just outside of Lexington and will have maps that show motorcyclists how to navigate the Bourbon Trail. Riders can start at the Wild Turkey Distillery, which is located at 1525 Tyrone Road in Lawrenceburg.
Kentucky also has a number of rallies and shows, including the Kentucky Bike Fest, which is held in July in Sturgis, Kentucky. This is a two-day show that features bands, a bike show and a variety of contests.
Disclaimer: All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here. Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.