The state of Kentucky has long been known for horse races, world-famous fried chicken, bluegrass music, and some of the best bourbon distilleries in the country. However, those who ride an iron horse, know that there is more to be thankful for than good food, good sport, excellent drinks, and incredible music. With winding mountainside roads, 3,716 state routes, and plenty of scenic stops, Kentucky offers some of the best motorcycle riding in the country. Below are the 11 best motorcycle routes in Kentucky. Whether you’re new to the state or you’ve been riding bluegrass roads for over a decade, there is a route on the list for you.
Motorcycles were invented for rides like Route 32. From the stretches of open farmland along Brown Ridge Rd. to the winding hillside roads following Sandy Hook, Route 32 is a site worth seeing. The route starts in Morehead on Christy Creek Road. It continues along Hogtown Hill before turning onto Brown Ridge Road. Route 32 combines with Route 7 at Newfoundland, before branching out in separate directions at Sandy Hook. There are several gas stations and food stops along the way, but keep in mind there are long stretches of country road along the route with no stops in sight.
With 23 miles almost exclusively comprised of farmland, Russell Cave Road offers a whole lot of nothing. However, having nothing around is sometimes exactly what you need to clear your head. A morning ride down Russell Road may be one of the most peaceful rides you ever experience. Stop by Mt. Brilliant Farm to bask in the serenity of Lexington’s most treasured landmark, Russell Cave. Stops along the route are scarce, but at only 23 miles in length, the scarcity is not a huge issue.
The creek road area tour will take you from Crestwood all the way up to Madison Indiana. Like the Russell Cave Road route, the creek road area tour provides plenty of farmland scenery. Unlike the Russell Cave Road route, there are several places to stop along the way for gas and food.
For those looking for a longer ride, the tri-state mountain tour offers motorcyclists 169 miles of gorgeous mountain road through three different states. The route starts on U.S. 58 in Gate City, VA. U.S. 58 runs all the way into Tennessee, but riders can turn on Route 25E to make a pit stop in Middlesboro, KY. Those looking to condense the trip can avoid Middlesboro and instead stop at Angelo’s In The Gap for an excellent bite to eat in a quaint bar atmosphere just off of 58. Whether or not you decide to stop in Middlesboro, you can continue the trip down 25E to Route 11W. Route 11W will take riders northwest to end the trip in Kingsport, TN.
Route 90 through Cumberland Falls Highway takes riders through a small portion of the beauty Southern Kentucky has to offer. Starting in Parkers Lake, riders can take Route 90 to U.S. 25W. U.S. 25W extends all the way to the end of Cumberland Falls Hwy. If you have time to kill, it’s worth stopping at Cumberland Falls State Park to catch a glimpse of Cumberland Falls.
The Rabbit Hash Route is a 45-mile loop in northern Kentucky. The route starts on Hathaway Road, which eventually becomes Rabbit Hash Road. Riders can turn left on East Bend Road to continue the loop on Beaver Road. Eventually, Beaver Road intersects U.S. 42W, which riders can take to get to Verona-Mudlick Road. In Verona, Verona-Mudlick transfers to Walton-Verona Road. Walton-Verona leads to Mary Grubbs Highway, which can be utilized to get to U.S. Route 25. Route 25 ends at Frogtown Road. Riders can then turn right from Frogtown onto U.S. Route 127 to complete the loop. Rabbit Hash loops through several cities, so there are plenty of stops along the way.
Compared to many of the other routes on the list, Route 227 does not offer as much of a scenic ride. Additionally, there are several long stretches without many stops along the way. Nonetheless, Route 227 is a solid 54-mile ride from Carrollton to Georgetown.
Kentucky 587 is arguably one of the most scenic routes in Kentucky. The routes 23 miles of winding forest and farm road will put your mind at ease. One ride down Kentucky 587 is all you need to remind you why you purchased a bike in the first place.
On a good day, Route 10 can offer quite the picturesque country landscape. Rows of cornfields, blue skies, and puffy clouds will line your horizon. Route 10 may not offer the level of rural scenery that Russell Cave Road provides, but the route is still worth the ride. In fact, it’s over double the length of Russell Cave Road. Not to mention, there are more roadside amenities available along the stretch.
The Red River and Nada Tunnel route offers stiff competition with Kentucky 587 in terms of scenery. The Nada Tunnel is a historic 900-foot long tunnel located off of Route 77. Riding through Nada could possibly one of the coolest experiences you have on your cycle. The route starts in Stanton on the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway before veering off onto Nada Tunnel Road. Nada Tunnel Road eventually becomes Sky Bridge Road, which returns to Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway in Pine Ridge. While on Sky Bridge Road, make a stop at Red River Gorge. The area’s towering canyons offer scenic views of the Kentucky landscape.
Cave Run Lake Loop is a beautiful 28-mile loop around the edge of Cave Run Lake. Riding with 8,270 acres of sparkling blue water in site is a great way to spend any weekend. Pitch a tent at a nearby campground for a mix of camping and riding. The loop starts on U.S. Route 60, which then leads to Route 801 running along Cave Run Lake. Riders can turn left on Route 519 to complete the loop and ride it all over again.
View mapped coordinates of any of the aforementioned routes, or browse additional motorcycle routes that did not make the top 11 with the map above. In addition to riding routes, you can find local motorcycle dealers, repair shops, and restaurants to stop at for a hearty meal after a ride. Happy riding!