Ride the Rails on these Scenic Kentucky Train Rides
A unique way to see the most beautiful Kentucky landscapes is to ride the rails. Scenic vistas, quaint small towns and views not likely seen from a roadway are all available them from the vantage point of a moving train. Here are 5 scenic train rides that offer entertaining railway experiences for the whole family.
1. My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, Bardstown
Travel to historic Bardstown and return to an era when elegant dining cars offered a place to enjoy relaxed conversation, fine cuisine and gracious service against a backdrop of ever-changing scenery. Savor every bite of your meal, prepared right on board in a modern kitchen car while you journey 20 miles from Bardstown to Limestone Springs and back. Excursions operate every Saturday for lunch and dinner with some Friday and weekday dinner trips also offered during parts of the year.
More info: My Old Kentucky Dinner Train
2. Big South Fork Scenic Railway, Stearns
Ride the Kentucky & Tennessee Railway on a 16 mile round trip into the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. This trip is full of spectacular scenic vistas, lush vegetation and mountain streams as it descends 600 feet into the gorge before stopping at Blue Heron Coal Mining Camp, a National Park Service outdoor interpretive site. Your ticket also includes admission to the McCreary County Museum in Stearns. The K&T Special departs April through October. Round trip time is approximately 3 1/2 hours.
More info: Big South Fork Scenic Railway
3. Bluegrass Scenic Railroad and Museum, Versailles
View the scenic rolling hills of Woodford County on one hour train rides offered every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Rain or shine, take a 7 mile ride in enclosed and comfortable coaches. The museum is open from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday May through October. Pumpkin Patch tours available weekends in October.
More info: Bluegrass Scenic Railroad and Museum
4. Kentucky Railway Museum, New Haven
Enjoy a 22 mile train ride along the Rolling Fork River Valley. The trip is offered on select weekends beginning in late March and running through November with special holiday events in December. In addition to riding the train, visit the museum where on display are over 100 pieces of rolling stock, including flat cars, cranes, refrigerated units, box cars, Railway Post Office (RPO) cars, hoppers as well as passenger cars and cabooses.
More info: Kentucky Railway Museum
If you’re interested in a longer train ride, Amtrak also has stops in Kentucky. Hop aboard “The Cardinal,” which runs three times weekly between New York, Washington, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Chicago. Between Washington and Cincinnati, the train winds its way through the Appalachian Mountains with stops in Ashland, South Shore and Maysville as the tracks follow the shores of the Ohio River through the hills of northeastern Kentucky. Or ride the “City of New Orleans” route which travels from Chicago to New Orleans and passes through Fulton in western Kentucky. This scenic route showcases the heartland of America and the history of the Mississippi River.
More info: Amtrak