I love to review and share our adventures, which include running/racing, backpacking, camping, road trips, traveling, especially cruising.
Take a Road Trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
When planning my own trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, I was surprised that there was no comprehensive and easy-to-follow itinerary online. Lucky for you, I decided to change that! This post has every piece of information you will need to do a tour of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Happy sipping!
Below, I have created a printable itinerary, which includes the distance and time between each distillery/location, the phone number (I highly suggest reserving your spot for the tours ahead of time), and the cost for each tour. I've also added the map locations for easy driving directions.
About the Itinerary and Lodging
The two inns that I recommend are side by side, with Jailer's Inn having the nicer, quieter accommodations and breakfast between the two. Be sure to reserve them early, and even if they show no availability online, call. We were able to get rooms at both places by calling. Bardstown is the best place to stay both nights in my opinion— not only for location but also for the quaintness and dining options. There are more commercial hotels off the beaten track if that is more your style.
I've added a few photos to give you an idea of what you will see, but not enough to ruin the surprise! If you wish to complete the official passport that includes the current distilleries, you can pick up the Bourbon Trail Passport at your first location. (Collect stamps at each location and redeem for a souvenir (a pair of tasting glasses, etc.).
Note: The distilleries on the official tour change from time to time, and in looking at the current passport site, there are a few differences from this itinerary that we completed. You can choose to follow this one or change it up to include new distilleries that were recently added if completing the "official passport" is of importance to you.
My Favorite Distilleries on the Tour
In my personal opinion, Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve have the prettiest settings for their operations. Woodford Reserve is nestled amongst horse barns and miles of fences and seemed to be the busiest, so be sure you get your reservation in there. Plan to do a lot of walking and wear comfortable shoes.
Some distilleries will have you take a short bus ride to their outbuildings, but even then, there is walking involved. Angel's Envy is by far the hardest to secure a reservation, so be sure to book that one first. There were no times open to reserve, but we went anyways, hoping there would be availability. There wasn't, but the nice woman at the desk did sneak us in to at least see the copper still and we bought a bottle of their limited rye (which ended up being our favorite!).
Note: Most of these distilleries offer military and veteran discounts and some are even free, but they will ask to see your ID if you reserve as military.
Bourbon Trail Itinerary and Lodging
Hit the Barton's Distillery in Bardstown
As an added location while staying in Bardstown, you can visit Barton's Distillery to grab a bottle of their 1792, take a tour, and help support their business, as they recently lost one of their rickhouses in a collapse in July of 2018. We purchased an empty, used barrel from them for $120 to take home!
If you go to any of the locations on this list, please comment below and tell me about your experience!
Driving Directions for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (Day 1)
Driving Directions for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (Day 2)
Driving Directions for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (Day 3)
The Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby. It is also my favorite. You will see various mint julep mixers available on your tour, but I will save you the confusion and say that the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Syrup is by far the best one. It is $25 at Woodford and you can replenish your stash for the same price on Amazon. It is so natural and refreshing and also makes a mean mojito too! I also enjoy it in my iced tea.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Debra Roberts
Stephanie Brown on September 07, 2020:
Is renting a car necessary? How far apart are each location can you Uber or is there any other sort of transportation provided
Debra Roberts (author) from Ohio on April 17, 2019:
So do we! We never knew how much until spending 3 days trying them all!
Erica (The Prepping Wife) on April 15, 2019:
I love a good whiskey, and this is such a comprehensive guide for an amazing trip! Definitely bookmarking it and adding it to my list of must-see places. Thanks for making such an in-depth guide to make it easy for others.
Debra Roberts (author) from Ohio on April 15, 2019:
I have ran Boston twice...I could never do it if I had bourbon the night before! What is a "handle" of bourbon?
Tracy C on April 15, 2019:
I’d love to do this trip. Thanks for the recommendations on where to see and what to do, especially the lodging tips.
Thuy on April 15, 2019:
We literally just bought a handle of Jim Beam bourbon for the hotel room this past weekend to drink the night before the Boston marathon, I’d love to do a bourbon trail
Nina N on April 15, 2019:
So many places to visit! Kentucky is so beautiful and we hope to hit the road soon and enjoy this place.
Live Learn Better on April 14, 2019:
Come to think of it, I lived in Louisville for 2 years and Lexington for 3 years and never get to visit these historical monuments. What a shame!
Lyosha on April 13, 2019:
Looks so much FUN! I can't wait for road trips, I haven't take any in ages! and factories - my favorite to visit, almost impossible without a car
Joyce Osiango on April 13, 2019:
You did it so well to give all the details. I love the photos
Rachael on April 13, 2019:
Thank you for the comprehensive itinerary! I learned a lot about the trail! I would love to do this with my Dad and Sister one day (when I’m not breastfeeding a baby
Mary Lentz on April 13, 2019:
We drive through KY on our trips to OH! I need to tell my husband about this
Snehal on April 13, 2019:
So sweet of you you created this itinerary and this is really going to helo many people out there who are planning to visit Kentucky Bourbon Trail
Helen G on April 13, 2019:
Great post with lovely ideas on where to go in Kentucky - brilliant!
sharon wu on April 12, 2019:
wow, i never would have guessed there was so much to see and do in kentucky! thanks for sharing!
Trish Veltman on April 12, 2019:
I remember visiting some Scottish distilleries years ago and that was a fascinating experience. This trip looks even better!
Subhashish Roy on April 12, 2019:
It's an awesome post. A complete guide for anyone looking to undertake thus trip. Looks like you had a great trail.
Susan Peck on November 17, 2018:
This is a really nice itinerary and description - it sounds like a wonderful weekend getaway. I grew up in Lexington, and all of KY is so scenic and pretty - a great travel destination!
Debra Roberts (author) from Ohio on October 28, 2018:
It was my favorite blog to put together, so thank you! I wanted to make it easy for someone to just open it up and navigate their way through with ease!
Margriet Zwaan on October 23, 2018:
This post is very good and informative with all the pictures and maps you put in it! Good work!
Debra Roberts (author) from Ohio on October 16, 2018:
We weren't really either; until we did this and learned "how" to sample and drink it and now we love having a nice collection and doing little tastings when people come over. It's a great way to keep people interacting!
Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on October 13, 2018:
I'm not much of a whiskey fan but this is awesome. It even has maps and beautiful pictures!