Off the Beaten Path…”
A detour from busy I-75 through the Daniel Boone National Forest on Scenic Byway 89–From the north take exit 87 at Richmond, pick up State Road 52 and follow east to Irvine. Just before crossing the Kentucky River turn right on State Road 89. Follow 89, a designated Scenic Byway, through McKee and south to Livingston and then back to I-75 to continue your journey south. Travellers from the south should reverse these directions, getting off I-75 at exit 59 at Mt. Vernon. Follow signs to Livingston, cross the bridge and turn right. This road will run into Scenic Byway 89 to Irvine and follow State Route 52 to Richmond and I-75.
56 miles 2 hours of pleasure driving. All roads are paved. McKee is 19 miles east of Berea along US Highway 421. From McKee follow US Highway 421 north to County Road 1955. This section follows Pigeon Roost and Birch Lick Creeks for 11 miles. County Road 1955 follows ridges with several dramatic drops in elevation to cross valleys for 17 miles to State Highway 490. At the junction of County Road 1955 and State Route 490 you can cross the Rockcastle River to the south and enter Livingston. Livingston is six miles east of exit 59 off Interstate 75. State Route 490 follows the winding Rockcastle river for six miles to the intersection of State Route 89, a Kentucky Scenic Byway. State Route 89 follows the meandering Rockcastle River and Indian Creek for 16 miles leading back to US 421. The loop is 56 miles long and is comfortable at 35 to 40 miles per hour.
Bicycling is also recommended along this scenic route for those with experience on narrow winding roads.
63 miles, 2 hours of pleasure driving. This loop is on paved roads. Irvine is 21 miles from Richmond on State Route 52. State Route 89 turns south before the bridge into Irvine. Route 89, designated as a Scenic Byway, follows the winding, broad valley of Station Camp Creek for seven miles before crossing the creek. The 21 miles from Station Camp Creek, crossing to U. S. Highway 421 in McKee, follows ridges with steep drops into river valleys. Take U. S. Highway 421 east for three miles to State Route 587, and climb to a ridge top. Route 587 starts at the Jackson County High School and generally follows broad ridges for 11 miles to the intersection with County Route 1209 leading back to Irvine. County Route 1209 drops from the top of a broad ridge into the valley of Station Camp Creek. Travelers will enjoy several outstanding views of the valley along the 14 miles to State Route 89. This loop is 63 miles long and is comfortable at 25 to 40 miles per hour.
Route 89 has been designated a Kentucky Scenic Byway.
Jackson County is also part of the Southern I-75 Corridor which connects Rockcastle, Laurel, Jackson, and Whitley Counties.
For more information click here to visit the Jackson County Tourism Website