The Best Winter Activities in Kentucky

Winter Illuminations Trail Walk

This winter lights display pairs music, nature and light in a spectacular sensory experience sure to captivate. The mile-long trail features over 10 distinct, animated light installations. The whole family will enjoy animated dinosaurs, peacocks, and tunnels of light that guests can walk through.

The display is open from November 20,2020 to January 3, 2021 starting at 5:45PM and going until 8PM on Monday and Tuesday or 9PM on Friday and Saturday. Don't miss this once-a-year chance to see the sparkling wonder of Louisville in Winter!

tunnel of light

Enjoy a Winter Hike

Most people don't think of hiking once the weather gets cold, but that's a mistake. Kentucky has several great hiking trails that are just as much fun in winter. While you may want to avoid the longer, more difficult hikes, there are plenty of shorter hikes that are safe, even in the snow.

Make sure you dress warm and wear sturdy boots. If you're prepared, you'll have a great time and experience the beauty of winter forests that not many others get to see. I recommend checking out Princess Arch Trail in Red River Gorge, Woodland Walk in the Land Between the Lakes, and the Natural Bridge Trail located in Carter Caves State Resort Park.

Go Sledding or Ice Skating

Depending on where you are in Kentucky, you may not get snow all winter long, but it's likely you'll still enjoy a snow day or two. When the snow falls, it's time to find a sledding hill. Looking for local parks with gently sloping terrain, or other locations where sledding is safe and doable.

Ice skating is another great option. Several parks have outdoor skating rinks. They are more common in northern Kentucky, where it gets a bit colder, but there are always indoor options if the weather is a bit too warm. It's still a great way to get out and enjoy a winter activity.

girl pulling sled
man under cave opening

Visit a Kentucky Cave

Kentucky is well known for its spectacular and abundant caves. Places like Mammoth Cave and the Louisville Mega Cavern are some of the most popular caves in Kentucky and make great winter attractions due to the fact that they naturally block any snow, rain, or cold winds. Most caves in Kentucky are also open year-round, many offering guided walking tours, and even boat tours.

In addition to Mammoth and the Louisville Mega Cavern, I'd suggest visiting Carter Caves State Park, which has over 20 caves, 4 of which offer year-round walking tours. Diamond Caverns is another great choice. This cave has been operating for over 150 years, making it the 4th oldest operating cave in the United States.

Hunt for the best Hot Brown

No trip to Kentucky would be complete without sampling a local favorite, the hot brown. For those who don't know, a hot brown is an open-face turkey sandwich with bacon and mornay sauce that was originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY in 1923.

Since its creation, many restaurants have recreated and remixed this popular sandwich, adding new, interesting flavors and ingredients along the way. A good place to start is at the Brown Hotel, which is still serving the classic hot brown at the very place it was created!

open face sandwich