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 trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, I was surprised there was no comprehensive, easy-to-follow itinerary online. Lucky for you, I decided to change that! This post contains every detail you'll need to tour a large portion of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in a three-day weekend. Happy sipping!
Below, I've created a printable itinerary, which includes the distance and time between each distillery/location, the phone number (I suggest reserving your spots for the tours ahead of time), and the cost of each tour. I've also added the map locations for easy driving directions.
The Bourbon Trail Passport
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" for this season, which may or may not include all the distilleries mind did, pick up the Bourbon Trail Passport at your first location. You can collect stamps at each site and redeem the completed passport 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. If completing the "official passport" is important to you, you can choose to follow this one or change it to include new distilleries recently added.
My Favorite Distilleries on the Tour
In my opinion, Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve have the prettiest settings for their operations. Plan to do a lot of walking and wear comfortable shoes. Woodford Reserve is nestled amongst horse barns and miles of fences and seems to be the busiest, so be sure you get your reservation in there.
Some distilleries have you take a short bus ride to their outbuildings, but there's walking involved even then. 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 anyway, hoping there'd 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.
About the Itinerary and Lodging
I recommend the two inns in Bardstown, the central point, situated side by side, with Jailer's Inn having nicer, quieter accommodations and breakfast between the two.
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These are ancient inns, so if you want classy accommodations. However, you will get the old charm of a squeaky floor, antique furniture, and windows painted shut many times over!
We were able to get rooms at both places by calling. Be sure to reserve them early, and even if they show no availability online, call them. 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's more your style.
Hit the Barton's Distillery in Bardstown
Barton's lost one of their rickhouses in a collapse in July of 2018. We also purchased an empty, used barrel from them for $120 to take home! As an added location while staying in Bardstown, you can visit Barton's Distillery to grab a bottle of their 1792, take a tour, support their business.
If you go one or more of the locations listed, please comment below and tell me about your experience!
Bourbon Trail Itinerary and Lodging
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)
Don't Forget to Try a Mint Julep!
The Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby. It's also my favorite. You'll see various mint julep mixers available on your tour, but I'll save you the confusion and say the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Syrup is by far the best one. It's $25 at Woodford, and you can replenish your stash for the same price, or sometimes less, on Amazon. It's so natural and refreshing and also makes a mean mojito too! I also enjoy it in my iced tea.
Enjoy Your Trip!
I'd love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment or feedback. This article receives regular updates to stay current so you can have the best experience possible.
© 2018 Debra Roberts