Here's How Kentucky Ranks Nationally for Viewing Autumn Leaves

Oct 7, 2021 at 10:00 am
Autumn at the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky.
Autumn at the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky. Photo by Don Sniegowski (

Fall is the perfect time to explore Kentucky, when the leaves are exploding with reds, oranges and golds.

But how does our state rank nationally when it comes to foliage viewing?

Apparently not highly. Kentucky doesn't appear at all on several of 2021's big foliage destination guides. And when our state is actually mentioned, it's presented pretty much as an afterthought. What, have no travel writers been to the Midwest?

A report by lawn-care service, LawnStarter, gives Kentucky the highest marks of several travel resources, but the state still doesn't fare exceptionally well. On LawnStarter's 2021 list of the best places to visit this fall, Kentucky comes in at No. 23 overall. The Commonwealth is No. 17 out of 50 for fall scenery but is just No. 30 in both outdoor recreation and entertainment (perhaps contributing to Kentucky being one of the least-happy states in the nation).

But LawnStarter has the good news; other destination resources don't even mention Kentucky. Travel and Leisure, Fodor's and even Oprah make no mention of our region's gorgeous state parks or rolling hills.

CityBeat was excited to see Thrillist's headline "America's Best Places to See Fall Colors (that Aren't in New England)," but that piece, too, ignores Kentucky.

But that just leaves more room on the road for those of us who know about our region's fall beauty, like the best annual secret. After all, it really is the Midwest vs. everybodyHere's when to plan your road trips through gorgeous Kentucky this fall.

This story was originally published in LEO Weekly's sister publication, CityBeat.