Cycling Kentucky's Legacy Trail
The Legacy Trail in central Kentucky runs north/south from Lexington and snakes its way through Kentucky’s iconic horse farms and across impossibly green, rolling hills. It’s only been open since 2010, but it has already lived up to its lofty name.
The Legacy trail is Kentucky’s longest paved multi-use path in central Kentucky. The trail was designed to be a legacy leftover after the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games that were held at the Kentucky Horse Park, the current path’s terminus. It served as a recreational, non-motorized greenway for people traveling between the Horse Park and downtown Lexington.
It’s since been voted the state’s favorite trail, popular with families, walkers, riders, skaters, art aficionados, and nature lovers alike. Ride from the city to the country in just a few short miles, all while getting fit, experiencing nature, and soaking up some history.
What Makes It Great
The Legacy trail makes it wonderfully easy for urban Lexington residents to make the unparalleled beauty of Kentucky’s horse country a part of their everyday life. We could just say that this an incredibly well maintained paved path with eight of its 12 miles being completely off the street and stop there. That would be enough. But that would be shortchanging the Legacy Trail.
Cyclists along the route get treated to art installations and sculptures along the way; around every curve, there is something new to see. Interpretive signs along the route also offer up plenty of chances to learn a little local history. The real draw however has to be its natural beauty. Gliding past lush green hills, cornfields, grazing horses, old barns, a serene lake filled with geese and herons, and over bridges, one easily forgets that they are near a city with half a million people.
The trail also rides by several parks and gathering places where art and nature intertwine, a perfect place to stop, take a breather, and soak in the surroundings. There are even a few bike repair stations along the route. They have a permanent selection of tools and a pump so a mechanical issue doesn’t mean walking home.
Who is Going to Love It
Locals and visitors alike enjoy the Legacy trail for its natural beauty and convenience. From beginners on single-speed cruisers looking for a lazy jaunt to fitness riders churning out the miles. True equestrian fans should stop by the Horse Park, it’s got a good museum of Kentucky’s equine history, a working farm, and horse shows.
In the area but didn't bring a bike? The YMCA Northside has a few rental bikes, as does the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort Golf Shop.
On an out-and-back and need to refuel before heading back to Lexington? The campground at the horse park has a store with some basics. For more substantial eats, check out the Farmhouse Cafe.
Directions, Parking & Regulations
The trail has three trailheads, all with free parking, water fountains and bathrooms: the North Lexington YMCA on Loudon Ave., mid-trail at Coldstream Park on McGrathiana Blvd, and the Horse Park trailhead on Iron Works Pike, across the street from the Horse Park.
The elevation change is not drastic, but the length and rolling hills will provide a challenge to true beginning riders.
Time to Complete: (1 hour, one-way)
Distance: (12 miles)
For some more mileage, there is an 8-mile extension through the Kentucky Horse Park that rides through bucolic equestrian country alongside classic white plank fences and horses grazing on the verdant bluegrass.
Seasonality: (All seasons)
There is little shade along the route, summers can be hot, best to get an early start. Fall brings cooler days and kaleidoscopic foliage.
Dog Friendly: (On Leash Only)