A land of mystical bluegrass meadows, rolling Appalachian hills and the world’s longest caves—when Kentucky’s pioneer founder Daniel Boone said “Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place” we’re pretty sure he saw the state as we do: an immense adventure playground. On this 8-day tour we’ll take you from underground to racing ground, over rivers, down mines and climbing up red rocks; this is your Kentucky kind of adventure.
We’ll kick off your action-packed trip with Kentucky’s biggest natural wonder: Mammoth Cave National Park. This grand maze of limestone caverns is the world’s longest known cave system, stretching at least 400 miles across five levels. Even today new caves are still being discovered—so keep an eye out on your underground tour as you hear tales of the intrepid explorers that have come before you. Once above ground, refuel with a picnic and then take your pick from hiking the Big Woods or canoeing along the scenic Green River. Your first night will be reserved for some well-deserved rest.
SPORTING THRILLS IN LEXINGTON
Kentucky is famed for its fast-hoofed residents so now it’s on to Lexington, the ‘Horse Capital of the World’ for some sporting adventure. Horse-lovers can see almost 50 breeds strut their stuff in shows and demonstrations at Kentucky’s 1,200 acre Horse Park or tour some of the horse farms to get close to future Derby winners. Thrill seekers will want to head to Keeneland racecourse and perhaps try their luck at a race meet. Whichever you choose, you’ll have Lexington’s delicious farm-to-table restaurant scene to indulge in afterwards before bedding down for the night.Read more
RED RIVERS AND MUSICAL MOUNTAINS
Wake up and grab your hiking boots as next on your agenda are the rocky spires and arches of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. Deep within the wildlife-rich Daniel Boone National Forest, you’ll easily be able to imagine yourself on your own wild frontier as you hike past waterfalls, paddle down rivers or rock climb the red cliffs. For a truly rustic experience, we can arrange a night in a simple cabin surrounded by hemlock, sugar maples and white pines of the forest.
Then it’s back on the road as you head deeper into Kentucky’s stunning Appalachians. As well as admiring the natural backdrop of fog-fringed mountains, you’ll get a taste of the region’s cultural credentials as you take the Country Music Highway to Butcher Hollow, birthplace of Loretta Lynn, to see the landscapes that inspired the country star’s songs. Relax and rest your head in Jenny Wiley State Resort Park amid the tranquil setting of lakes, peaks and log-pole pines.
GRAND CANYONS & COAL MINES
Back to Kentucky’s great outdoors, Breaks Interstate Park is an immense 5-mile gorge that plummets 1,650 feet earning itself the title of ‘Grand Canyon of the South’. Spend some time walking its richly-coloured trails and getting your dose of blue Kentucky sky before hopping onto a rail car in the afternoon and heading underground down Portal 31, one of Kentucky’s old coal mines. For a unique night’s stay, try the Benham School House Inn, housed in the old Coal Camp Public School, a building that speaks of a wilder bygone era.
After a morning of bear-spotting in the Kingdom Come State Park, continue to the Hensley Settlement in Middlesboro where you’ll get a taste of Appalachian homestead life. Don’t miss the sunset from Pinnacle Overlook where the hills of Cumberland Gap National Historic Park melt into hues of pink, lilac and blue.
RAILWAYS AND RETAIL THERAPY
Taking things at a more relaxed pace, for your final days we’ll take you on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway for a morning chug through picturesque forest. Here you’ll get another chance to immerse yourself in Kentucky’s mining history with a visit to Barthell Coal Mining Camp where intrepid explorers can spend a night in a real miner cabin. Or you can make your way back to Lexington – stopping off at Berea on the way to pick up some folk arts and crafts as souvenirs of your thrilling Kentucky expeditions. After all that adventure, you’ll feel like a fully-fledged Kentucky pioneer.