Best fall scenic drives in the Tri-State

Experience fall's canopy of colors

Each year, we look forward to the beginning of a season because of what it brings: change. The best way to enjoy autumn in Ohio is by getting behind the driver's wheel, rolling down the windows and taking a long drive.

We are lucky enough to live in a part of the nation where we can experience the beauty of season's change. While Cincinnati's landscapes are still showing a lot of green, pay attention to all the fall colors beginning to flourish over the Tri-State. October is the best month to see the changing of the colors in Ohio.

9 On Your Side's Sarah Walters says we're ripe for a vibrant season in the northern counties of the Tri-State. The peak times for fall color in southeast Indiana and southwest Ohio start in mid-October and last through the end of the month. In Northern Kentucky, those beautiful leaves will pop at the end of the month, and into early November.

Where to go

With the help of RoadTrippers , we've complied a list of scenic drives across the nation. The Ohio River Scenic Byway that cuts through our area is one of them. One of the many historical drives, it stretches through Ohio and into Southern Indiana for 943 miles. Seeing the leaves reflecting in the river water, going through quaint communities and learning along the way makes for a great Sunday afternoon.

The Ohio River Scenic Byway was named in MidWest Living 's top 12 backroad scenic drives in America. Many people stop along the route in Adams County to visit Amish business' and to view the Edge of the Appalachia.

Stops along the way allow for little history lessons of the Civil War, Underground Railroad, the industrialization period and prehistoric grounds. Falls of the Ohio State Park is located on the banks of the River in Clarksville, Ind. is certified by the National Park Service as an official Lewis and Clark site associated with the historic trail. The park is also where 386 million-year-old fossil beds were found and marked one of the largest archeological sites in this area.

Here is a drive customized to get the most out of the area foliage along the Indiana/Kentucky border:


The Riverboat Row Scenic Byway is something that most of us travel along throughout the week. This route may be good to travel just as the sun is fading away. The byway is just over the river in Newport and showcases the Cincinnati skyline, riverboats and floating restaurants along the river - a perfect nighttime view.

Big Bone Lick Scenic Byway, about 20 miles from downtown, gives panoramic views of the Ohio River. Located in Boone County, Kentucky off Beaver Road, the trail begins at the Big Bone Lick State Park. 

The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway travels through 71 miles of Kentucky and along the way, expect to dive into some of the state's culture and learn a thing or two about Kentucky. Information on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and the bourbon heritage are among multiple stops along the route.

Other notable Kentucky drives : Berea (Arts & Crafts Capital), Red River Gorge Scenic Byway (part of a National forest), Woodlands Trace (National recreational area), Country Music Highway (traveled by the stars)  and the old Kentucky turnpike (historic). 

Another scenic drive nearby, is the National Road around Dayton which is part of what helped to "build America." This portion of the road in Ohio is part of a six state road that stretches over 700 miles.

For more on Ohio foliage and getaway ideas, visit: DiscoverOhio , RoadTrippers , or Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Here is another map of an Ohio scenic drive to find some colorful leaves at every turn:


Print this article Back to Top