U.S. 23 Country Music Highway
Running through seven eastern counties of The Kentucky Wildlands, the Country Music Highway is a beautiful 150-mile National Scenic Byway along U.S. 23 that has produced more million-selling singers than any other region per capita in the world!
Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, The Judds, Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Skaggs, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Keith Whitley, Tom T. Hall and more have proudly called this region home.
Take your own musical road trip down this legendary highway to discover the birthplaces and homesteads of many of country music’s most beloved stars. See the world-renowned “Cabin on a Hill in Butcher Holler” in Van Lear, immortalized in song as the birthplace of both Loretta Lynn, the Queen of Country Music, and her sister, Crystal Gayle. Be sure to stop at nearby Webb’s Grocery general store to ask about a tour or just to grab an RC and a Moonpie.
Pull off at the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum in Staffordsville to immerse yourself in fascinating exhibits and rare memorabilia while learning all about the Kentucky roots of your favorite country singers. (Pro tip! Don’t miss the gift shop for Appalachian music, traditional crafts and one-of-a-kind souvenirs!) Catch Front Porch Pickin’ live bluegrass shows held at the museum on Thursday nights, then check out nearby Renfro Valley Entertainment Center for more live performances throughout the year.
Visit the birthplaces of The Judds and Billy Ray Cyrus in Ashland and Flatwoods, then stop in the legendary and architecturally magnificent Paramount Arts Center, opened in 1931 and designed by art deco legends Rapp and Rapp – the same designers of the great Chicago Theater. Pop inside additional museums sharing homespun stories and local lore from music to coal mining and more.
All along the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway you’ll discover breathtaking scenery, outdoor recreation, wildlife and nature escapes at places like pristine Yatesville Lake State Park and expansive Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, offering boating, water skiing, jet-skiing, tubing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, lodging, dining and entertainment at one of the longest-running wooded outdoor amphitheaters in the country.
You’ll also experience a true taste of genuine Appalachian hospitality and charm in beautiful small towns nestled in the mountains. Visit the local shops, bakeries, cafés and restaurants in Paintsville’s historic downtown. Take a Hatfield & McCoy driving tour, kayak along the river and enjoy a great meal in Pikeville. Stroll through Ashland’s lush Central Park and marvel at giant bronze sculptures along the landscaped riverfront.
History, mystery, culture, nature, adventure, escape AND charm? The U.S. Country Music Highway is your road to discover them all!