Motorcycle Rides Near Me in Kentucky

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Have you ever asked the question:  Where are the best motorcycle rides near me in Kentucky (KY)? 


Whether you are simply looking for new motorcycle rides & roads in Kentucky to try or if you are focused on trying to find only the best motorcycle rides in Kentucky, learning of all your motorcycle ride options can be more challenging than many riders realize.  Even riders with MANY long years of experience driving motorcycles in the The Bluegrass State can find a great motorcycle ride that they had driven near or past countless number of times with out ever thinking to give it a ride.  Or, those same riders may just happen to talk to other motorcycle riders and learn about some nearby great motorcycle roads in an area that they’ve really never even considered checking out.  So, to help you and all Kentucky motorcycle riders avoid this form of 'rider's block,' MotorcycleRoads.com (McR) has put together this short this guide aimed at helping you better answer the very important question - What are my best options for motorcycle rides near me in Kentucky?”  

*Rankings for Kentucky motorcycle rides were accurate at the time this guide was published/updated in Feb of 2020 (for more information, see Note 1 at the bottom of this article).  Additionally, McR uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate motorcycle ride popularity (for more information, see see Note 2 also at at the bottom of this article). 

Closest US Motorcycle Riding Hotspot to Kentucky

First, if you are a Kentucky motorcycle rider that is willing to travel a bit to wherever the best motorcycle rides are, then I need to tell you about some motorcycle riding HOTSPOTS across the United States.  After 20+ years of collecting data on 1,000s of great US motorcycle roads & rides, motorcycle rider reviews and ratings of those motorcycle roads, along with thousands of photos and videos, it has become clear that some regions of the USA are simply motorcycle riding Hotspots.  And, the particular motorcycle riding hotspot that is the nearest to the state of Kentucky is located to not too far away in southeastern Ohio.  I'll provide you some specific information about that hotspot below but you need to realize that there are other hotspots located in different regions of the US that you may want to consider traveling to at some point in your "motorcycle riding lifetime."  Each of these hotspots act like “magnets for motorcycling” and are depicted in the map image below.

US motorcycle riding hotspots

 

Showcase: The Southeast Ohio Motorcycle Riding Hotspot

mc riding hotspot near Kentucky  - Southeast Ohio

The nearest motorcycle riding hotspot to Kentucky is the surprising Southeastern Ohio.  Eastern Ohio depending on where in Kentucky you are starting, could be a relatively short little ride for you to get to.  For your reference, if say you were starting your ride in Lexington, KY you could get to the Ohio border at say Maysville, OH in just about an hour.  From Louisville, KY you could get to the Ohio border near Cincinnati in just about an hour and a half drive.  If you were starting further away in say Bowling Green, KY you could get to the Ohio border, once again near Cincinnati in about 3 and a half hours, so the depending on your level of "iron-buttness" the ride to this area from Kentucky is doable for most riders.  So, if you are up for the trip and really want to take in some world class motorcycle riding that riders have been flocking too more and more over recent decades, you need to put Southeast Ohio on your radar for an eventual motorcycle pilgrimage. 

Admittedly, Ohio is probably not one of the first states that comes to mind when you hear the concept of a motorcycle riding hotspot, but the amount of visitor traffic, the raving reviews, and the enthusiasm around Ohio’s southeast corner unmistakably point this area out as a solid US motorcycle riding hotspot.

ohio hot spot appalachian plateau

The wonderful Southeastern Ohio curves are a result of the 'marvelous for motorcycling' topography/terrain of this region which is referred to as the Appalachian Plateau.  The Appalachian Plateau is area covered in rolling hills and valleys.  The Appalachian Plateau covers portions of a number of US states but is part of a particularly that get particularly steeper and more pronounced as you go further south making this the most rugged region of Ohio and potentially that of the entire US Midwest.  Southeast Ohio absolutely dominates in terms of the most popular motorcycle rides in the Midwest region with 4 of the Top 5 ranked routes.  So if you are looking for a Midwestern motorcycle hotspot and love curves and twistees, check out these favoritesOnce in southeast Ohio you will want to focus on these stand out Ohio motorcycle rides:

Since the remaining three motorcycle riding hotspots are significantly further away than the Southeastern Ohio hotspot, I didn't go over those other hotspots.  However, if you are interested in learning about those any of those other US motorcycling centers of gravity, simply visit our Motorcycle Rides Near Me in the USA guide where you can read the detailed and full report.
 

 

Iconic US Motorcycle Rides

Now if you are interested in not just hotspots but the USA's hottest individual motorcycle rides that are generally considered to be the very best motorcycle roads in the entire USA, then I need to tell you about the motorcycle rides that have reached iconic status. Unfortunately none of these motorcycle rides are located in Kentucky, they are rides that all die hard motorcycling riding enthusiasts should add to his/her motorcycle riding bucket list.  The short list of these premium motorcycle rides in the USA are as follows:

 

 
  tail of the dragon photo

The Dragon – This is a route that starts at the North Carolina and Tennessee border and goes north from there for 11-miles into Tennessee.  This motorcycle ride goes by many names such as The Dragon, the Tail of the Dragon, Deal’s Gap, and/or the Dragon’s Tail.  Call it what you want, but this is most likely the most famous motorcycle road in the entire world … yes, world.  It is known for its collection of incredible curves compressed into a short stretch of 11-miles ... 318 curves in those mere 11-miles.   

 

 
  blue ridge parkway photo

The Blue Ridge Parkway – like The Tail of the Dragon discussed above, the next iconic motorcycle ride is also world famous yet this is anything but a short ride as it covers a whopping 469-miles!  This route is covers large portions of both Virginia and North Carolina and has been enchanting both motorcycle riders and car drivers for decades.

 

 
  three sisters motorcycle ride texas

Three Sisters – the next iconic motorcycle ride takes us down way down south & “deep in the heart of Texas” with a motorcycle ride that also goes by a few different names (Ranch Roads 335, 336,337a, or “The Twisted Sisters,” or simply “The Three Sisters”) and is positioned in an area known as Texas Hill country just northwest of San Antonio, Texas.  The ride has a cult following of riders and like the other iconic rides, draws motorcycle riders in from not just the USA but all parts of the world. 

 

 
  pch motorcycle ride

Hwy 1 - Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) – Beyond a doubt, the most iconic motorcycle ride in the west is the Pacific Coast Highway and is also one of the most famous scenic drive in all of the world.  This quintessential road trip up (or down) the California coast became popular when it was glamorized by a variety of movies and TV shows and has only grown in popularity over time.  It offers gentle curves and breathtaking scenery as well as world class amenities along the coast and in the cities/towns that grace its path.  

 

 
  tunnel of trees motorcycle ride michigan

If you’re looking for a iconic motorcycle ride in the Midwest, The Tunnel of Trees Road is like the PCH of the Midwest and like PCH (described above), this route is also a “shore hugger.”  It offers riders great lake shore scenery off to the west with a canopy of green foliage from above.  The ride is a favorite among Midwestern motorcycle riders and is particularly captivating in the fall when the autumn colors mesmerize riders as the ride beneath a canopy of golds, oranges, and scarlet reds.  

 

 
  beartooth motorcycle ride montana wyoming

The last iconic American motorcycle ride on our list is the most extreme in many aspects as it is located in a sparsely populated area in northern Wyoming and crossing over into an equally sparsely populated area of Southern Montana and is referred to as Beartooth Pass .  The route is extreme for the fact that for the sheer mountain cliffs and switchbacks as well as the fact that it can throw snow & ice into the mix as late as July.  It not only offers riders unrivaled mountain scenery but also has the added bonus of putting riders within a short drive to the quintessential US National Park - Yellowstone.   

 

 
     

 

 

The Best Motorcycle Riding areas in the state of Kentucky  

So far we have told you about Kentucky's nearest motorcycle riding hotspot (Southeast Ohio) as well as iconic US motorcycle roads that are spread out around the USA, but many of these motorcycle rides are a considerable distance for some Kentucky motorcycle riders to travel.  And, so some motorcycle riders simply aren't up for the long distance travel to get to these exceptional motorcycle roads (or at least not at the moment).  So, if instead you simply want to find the best motorcycle rides near you in Kentucky, then read on as I describe 5 of the very best motorcycle rides in within the confines of the Kentucky border.  Each of these rides has been a top ranked motorcycle ride in Kentucky for years as our ranking algorithm doesn't let a newly added ride simply go right up to the top of the list of motorcycle roads without earning it as we weigh many factors in calculating the route's popularity over time.  Different factors are monitored to indicate a motorcycle road's true level of popularity (e.g., page views for that motorcycle road, the number of motorcycle riders following that route, the number of times that route has been saved to riders' To Ride list, the number of times that motorcycle ride has been saved to a riders' Rode It list, the number of motorcycle ride photos or videos that have been uploaded to that page, etc, etc.).  Keep in mind however, that even though we use a somewhat complex rating algorithm to keep 'undeserving routes' from erratically rising to the top, certainly the ratings can & do change over time and so the list you see below of the best motorcycle rides in Kentucky was current at the time of the publication of this guide to the best motorcycle rides near me - Kentucky (date of last update is found at the top of this guide in the "note" section). Currently there are 34 Kentucky motorcycle roads registered on McR which puts Kentucky at about the national average (for your reference, at the time of publication, the average US state had 35 routes).  If by chance you would like to see the overall best motorcycle rides in America check out our listing of the Top 100 Motorcycle Rides in the USA

Below are short descriptions of 5 of the best motorcycle rides in Kentucky (complete/updated listing of all Kentucky motorcycle rides).

The Top-5 Best Motorcycle Rides in Kentucky

 

red river motorcycle ride 2.jpg

  1. Red River & Nada Tunnel

The top Kentucky motorcycle ride offers a truly unique experience, says the author and rider rankings. From the starting point at Stanton to Natural Bridge State Park, it is a regular, well-maintained twisty, hilly road that follows an old Indian trail. The ride is along the Red River with several rock formations and outcroppings. Stop for a drink at the spring coming out of the pipe – it’s the best water you will taste! The Nada Tunnel is low-lit short tunnel through the mountain. Overall, it is a slow cruising ride you solely take to enjoy the view.

 

 land between the lakes tennessee motorcycle ride 2.jpg

  1. The Trace (Through The Land Between The Lakes)

It begins in Dover, TN on Highway 79 and heads up to Grand Rivers, KY. The route offers a lot of scenery and stops, like elk and bison ranges, 1850s settlement, lakes, springs and more. There is a balance of woods and open land scenery. There is a $4 tour that goes through an old working farm with houses and free animals that walk about.

 

kentucky country tour motorcycle ride

  1. Route 10 Country Tour

This is a route of farms, small towns, valets, creeks and woods in a nice country setting. With some exciting twists and turns (great as long as you don’t get in front of the cars of locals) it goes from Maysville through Germantown and Brooksville to go to Alexandria. The 50-mile ride doesn’t have amenities as such. You could stop at Brooksville for gas. It is an overall soothing ride.

 

kentuck mountain view motorcycle ride.jpg

  1. Route 32 - Morehead To Louisa

The Kentucky motorcycle ride offers some amazing mountaintop views, especially spectacular in the spring and fall. You get to ride beside Yatesville lake in Lawrence County. Twisting through the forests of eastern Kentucky, the 2-lane road has fast food and steak houses on one end and some very nice cafes on the other end.

 

ohio river motorcycle ride.jpg

  1. Big Lick Ride/Ohio River Hugging Loop

This motorcycle route begins and Madison, IN and involves crossing the Ohio River to come into Kentucky. This is probably rural America at its best! Barges, boats, a couple of foothills, small towns to explore, quaint shops, Mom and Pop restaurants and some beautiful horse farms make this ride a simple yet memorable experience. The paved country roads offer some twisties around the foothills, but mostly follow the river’s path. The author recommends Rabbit Hash if you like to grab a beverage, sit by the river as the world goes by.

Lastly, in addition to the best Kentucky motorcycle rides we went over above, planning a great motorcycle outing for the state of Kentucky is not hard when you simply mix a collection of great motorcycle rides found on McR and any number of the top Kentucky tourism destinations offered by the state.  Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, is known for its diverse geography, cultural history and a wide range of attractions for people with various interests, making it a popular destination.  A short list of some of the top locations/destinations is provided below to help with your Kentucky motorcycle ride planning:

  • Lost River Cave is one of Kentucky’s unique wonders. One can come across the natural spring, limestone bluffs, old mining buildings and an opportunity to sift for gems while exploring the area. There is a zip-line tour available too.
  • Kentucky Derby holds one of the most prestigious races on the first Sunday of May every year. It has a great racetrack and a museum that houses exhibits of the history of the derby since the first race in 1875. Off-season tours organized by the museum offer a behind-the-scenes look.
  • Newport Aquarium is home to diverse aquatic life. Its main attraction is the Amazon Tunnel, where visitors get to walk through the habitat of Arapaima as it swims through the forest floor. Other attractions are the unicorn fish, cownose rays, Shark exhibits, piranha, Gila monster, frog species and alligators.
  • The Kentucky Horse Park, north of Lexington, is a great place to see and learn about working horse farms. One can get pony rides, visit themed barns, the hall of champions with retired race horses, rare breeds and shows featuring the various occupations of horses. It also has four museums.
  • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park houses a replica of the one-room home Lincoln was born in. The Neoclassical Memorial Building was designed by John Russell Pope. The property also includes the Sinking Spring where natural water disappears into the earth.
  • The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is in southeastern Kentucky. Initially used by the Native Americans, the 760-foot-deep cut through the range was discovered in the 18th century by pioneers moving west. More than 2,000 settlers used this way through the Cumberland Mountains in 1775. A popular hike to an altitude of 2460 feet to the Pinnacle Overview is the most magnificent attraction here.
  • The Mammoth Cave National Park in the Caveland Corridor stretches about 80 miles in the southwestern part of the state. This is one of the world’s largest cave systems inhibited by the natives in the 1st millennium BC. The 200-feet-high Mammoth Dome, Ruins of Karnak with massive limestone columns, Snowball Dining Room and the Crystal Lake are just a few attractions to name.
  • The Daniel Boone National Forest stretches through 21 counties in the east, covering 108,000 acres. The varied terrain includes sandstone cliffs, ravines, gorges and the Natural Bridge (65 ft high and 75 ft wide). The Barren Folk Accessible Heritage rail narrates the history of the Barren Folk Mining and Coal and the people of the town.

 

Interested in more motorcycle ride articles like this?

       
  Midwest's Best Motorcycle Rides

 

The Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in the Midwest  
  northeast-motorcycle-ride

 

The Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in the Northeast  
  South's Best Motorcycle Rides

 

The Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in the South  
  West's Best Motorcycle Rides

 

The Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in the West  

 


Note 1:  All facts and figures below were gathered during early Jan 2019 and will change over time as new motorcycle roads are added to the collection. 
Note 2:  How were these popularity ratings calculated? 
A motorcycle road’s popularity can be based on a wide variety of factors.  Our analysis considered some obvious indicators of motorcycle road popularity such each roads’ “Rider Rating” scores (star ratings) and which motorcycle road description pages were visited the most.  But, the analysis dug deeper and looked at some less obvious yet valuable indicators of a motorcycle road’s popularity such as how often a given motorcycle road was added to riders’ “To Ride” lists, how often a given motorcycle road was added to riders’ “Rode it” lists and enthusiasm indicators such how often photos and/or videos were uploaded for a given road and which roads are attracting the most buzz among motorcycle roads indicated by those roads that are receiving the most number of new/recent comments.  For the sake of being consistent and as objective as possible we use a popularity algorithm that “crunches those number” and allows us to develop a ranking of the popularity of each of the motorcycle roads used as a basis for this guide.

 


Conclusion

As always, I hope to provide you with insightful & valuable motorcycle riding community information to help you get the most out of all of your motorcycling experiences.

I'm always looking for ways to make MotorcycleRoads.com better and more helpful so if you have any suggestions to improve the website, just contact me through the Feedback button you'll find near the top of every page.  And as always, if you have a favorite motorcycle road of yours that is not yet registered on MotorcycleRoads.com, please get that favorite of yours "on the map" by registering it at MotorcycleRoads.com.  Registering a motorcycle road (or event, or club, or place) is quick and easy and you'll be helping out our motorcycle riding community!!! 

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