The Bernheim Forest is an amazing place to spend a day exploring fall in Kentucky. There are more than 16.000-acres of protected land where locals and visitors alike find a common space to fully immerse themselves in nature. The land is divided into a 600-acre Arboretum with thousands of curated and wild plants species and a natural area with more than 40-miles of hiking trails with amazing outdoor sculptures.
Founded in 1929 by philanthropist Isaac W. Bernheim, a German man who immigrated to Kentucky in 1867, the Bernheim Forest was an offering of thanks. Bernheim started his life in Kentucky with four dollars in his pocket and was able to start a successful distilling company, known for his popular brand of bourbon, I. W. Harper.
The land where the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest stands today was once a barren plot without trees due to abuses of the iron ore industries. Thankfully, Bernheim was a visionary and conservationist before his time and he helped create this beautiful space as it is today.
When you choose the Bourbon Manor, our luxury Bardstown Bed and Breakfast, as your lodging in Kentucky, you’ll be in the ideal location to visit the Bernheim Forest. Just a quick 15-minute drive through the scenic countryside (especially in autumn when the vibrant fall colors come alive) and a day of hiking, exploring, and appreciating nature is at your fingertips. Start planning your next vacation to Bardtown KY and book your stay at the Bourbon Manor today!
Explore Art and Nature at Bernheim Forest in Kentucky
The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a nature sanctuary that welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. You could spend most of the day here exploring the trails, searching for the amazing forest giant sculptures, visiting the edible garden, as well as checking out the visitor’s center and cafe.
Here are seven things to know about the Bernheim Forest before you go:
- Hiking Trails: With more than 40-miles of hiking trails here at the Bernheim Forest, you’ll find a route that works for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts from easy to difficult. For an easy two-mile stroll, head to the Forest Giants Trail, which will take you by all three of the huge Giant sculptures by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. It also takes you along the Olmstead Ponds, to the prairie area, and through mature forests with Magnolia and other native tree species.
- Canopy Tree Walk: Head out into the tree tops along this short boardwalk that extends 75 feet above the Bernheim Forest. In the fall, the trees put on a brilliant colorful show, making this canopy walk even more magical.
- The Fire Tower: Climb up 961 feet above ground on the oldest structure in the park for some of the most amazing and expansive views of the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. On a clear day, you can see as far as Louisville.
- Public Art Displays: While of course the three Forest Giants are a big draw to this natural area, there are more public art displays to find as well. Follow along the art map to check out larger than life sculptures made with natural and man-made materials and smaller creative installations around the park.
- Tour the Edible Garden: Perhaps the most unique attraction at the Bernheim Forest is this 4-acre garden focusing on sustainable practices and connecting visitors even more deeply to nature. The food grown here is used at the cafe, there are 16 solar panels, and all the water needed is used from surrounding sources.
- Isaac’s Cafe located in the LEED Platinum Visitor’s Center: For those who enjoy eating local, that will be achieved at this cafe in the Bernheim Forest. All the vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers that you see on the menu are harvested from the Edible Garden less than 200 steps away from their kitchen. Grab a sandwich or salad to go for a picnic! The visitor’s center is also home to the gift shop for great souvenirs.
- Plan an Event: Planning your upcoming nuptials? The Bernheim Forest is a beautiful backdrop for weddings and events. Pair this venue with a stay and honeymoon at our romantic Bardstown Bed and Breakfast for a perfect combination. Not only do we have special suites for the newlyweds, but also enough lodging for your closest family and friends to stay too.
The Best Bed and Breakfast in Bardstown KY
Retreat back to our Bardstown Bed and Breakfast after a long day exploring the wilderness at the beautiful Bernheim Forest. Make sure to get in before happy hour for one of our favorite bourbon-based cocktails, the perfect start to any evening in Bardstown. Head up to your suite to refresh and relax before heading out on the town for whiskey tastings and trying some of the best restaurants in Kentucky.
You’ll feel a connection to the past at our historical Bardstown Bed and Breakfast like no other hotel lodging in our area. We pride ourselves on the modern updates we’ve made to the Inn, while meticulously maintaining the timely details and antique accompaniments. Each of our 10 guest suites are unique, packed with luxury amenities, and ready for an amazing getaway to Bardstown. Join us this fall and book today!