Lexington’s scenic landscape—gorgeous any time of year—takes on a special beauty in autumn. Here are our suggestions for how to get the most out of it before the leaves fall!

Horse Farm in the Fall

Take the Long Way Home

Fall is a perfect time to take a self-guided driving tour of the Old Frankfort Pike Scenic Byway. The route winds past horse farms and through some of the prettiest scenic routes in and around Lexington.

Bluegrass Note: Get updates on the status of changing leaves across Kentucky from late September through early November on the Kentucky Tourism ColorFall page.

Answer the Call to Post

It’s not fall in Lexington without at least one day spent at Keeneland’s Fall Meet, held every October. Get ready to enjoy the cool fall air and a warm cup of burgoo—a special Bluegrass stew—at what many consider the most beautiful racetrack in the world. The 2022 fall racing dates are October 7 through 29, with racing Wednesdays through Sundays. Gates open at 11 a.m. and post time is 1:05 p.m. General admission: $7.00.

 

Kayaking on the Kentucky River

See the Picturesque Palisades

The limestone cliffs known as the "Palisades" were cut by the Kentucky River some five million years ago. Today, they serve as a dramatic backdrop for fall scenery along the river. Take in the views by renting a stand-up paddle board or kayak from Kentucky by Paddle. You can also see autumn foliage from the water on the Elkhorn Creek. The Elkhorn winds through horse farms, historic sites, great picnic spots and provides plenty of fall color. Excursions can be arranged through Canoe Kentucky.

Tour on Two Wheels

The backroads surrounding Lexington are ideal for scenic bicycling. Ride under the canopy of trees along Old Frankfort Pike, an official Scenic Byway or Pisgah Pike, past The Kentucky Castle, historic Pisgah Church and lovely horse farms. The Legacy Trail, a beautifully landscaped 12 mile paved trail is another option. It runs from the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden downtown to Kentucky Horse Park. About eight miles of the trail are off-street and fully paved.

 

The-Kentucky-River-medium

Go Where the Wild Things Are

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is 734 acres of unspoiled natural scenery just minutes from downtown Lexington. In the fall, the sanctuary is a wonderful place to admire meadow wildflowers, catch sight of many varieties of birds passing through on their way south, and explore the Kentucky River Palisades area. You can just drop by to wander its ten miles of trails on your own, or call ahead to register for special programs ranging from Tree Walks to guided history hikes. There is no admission charge to enter the park. 

Discover Fall in the City

You don't even have to leave the city to enjoy fabulous fall scenery. Lexington Cemetery at 833 West Main Street includes more than 200 varieties of trees, along with lovely ponds, other plantings and an array of fascinating monuments. The cemetery is nationally recognized as an arboretum.

Large trees, interesting fountains, sculptures and colorful historic homes in the Gratz Park neighborhood (bounded by Third, North Mill, Market and Second streets) make it a gorgeous place to take a walk in the fall.

Fall also is a beautiful time to stroll the grounds of Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate. The hundreds of trees on the 20-acre setting include gingko, maple, beech, bur oak, a huge American elm and, of course, blue ash, for which the estate was named. There's no charge to tour the grounds. While you’re in the area, take a stroll down nearby Catalpa Road—lined with massive gingko trees, the street turns gold in the fall, making it a popular photo spot for locals.

Bluegrass Note: Some 175 species of native and introduced trees grow wild in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The official state tree is the tulip poplar, and the Kentucky coffeetree, the only tree to mention Kentucky in its name, is the official state heritage tree.


Have Some Fun on the Farm

Fall isn’t fall without a family trip to the farm. Find the perfect pumpkin, along with fresh apples, Indian corn, gourds and other fall bounty. Eckert's Boyd Orchard in Versailles is famous for its apple cider and pumpkins. Evans Orchard always has tons of family fun in the fall, which sometimes involves a pumpkin throwing contest.

Take a Train Ride

The Bluegrass Scenic Railroad lives up to its name with its fall excursions into the jaw-droppingly pretty Kentucky River Gorge area. The 90-minute train rides are offered on Saturdays and Sundays through late October and depart from Woodford County Park, off US 62 (Tyrone Road) and Beasley Drive in Versailles. They also offer special Halloween and holiday excursions.

Giddy Up and Go

Enjoy the crisp fall air and bright scenery from the best seat in the house: a horse. Through October, horseback riding is offered at the Kentucky Horse Park (Ironworks Pike off I-75, four miles north of Lexington). Prices start at $30 for horseback rides and $6 for pony rides.

Fall Color at Keeneland

Visit Horse Country 

There is much to be discovered in the scenic hills of Horse Country, which have been lauded by visitors and explorers since the early 19th century. From famous farms and nurseries to racetracks and feed mills, a visit to Horse Country will leave you reenergized, alive with Bluegrass traditions and one with nature. Head to Visit Horse Country to book your tour at beautiful horse-related attractions in and around Lexington.