Touring the Byway
4 Days / 3 Nights | Gateway City: Paducah, Kentucky
We recommend starting your journey in Paducah, a historic river town that sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. Take a stroll along a mural decorated riverfront flood wall, visit one of the world’s top quilt displays at the National Quilt Museum, and experience the Paducah of the past at the William Clark Market House Museum before spending the evening in a 19th century redbrick hotel.
On Day Two, see how many birds you can spot at the Ballard and Boatwright Wildlife Management Areas before heading to Wickliffe where you can explore the fascinating Wickliffe Mounds excavation site and Fort Jefferson, a Revolutionary War garrison. Continue to Columbus, where a quiet lodge overlooking the Mississippi will be your night’s accommodations.
View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!
A major destination for quilting and fiber art enthusiasts, this unique museum showcases one of the world’s top quilt displays. Exhibits include a rotating selection from their permanent collection of over 600 quilts and other pieces of quilt and fiber art. Also available are workshops, youth challenges, and other educational programs that celebrate and advance the work of today’s quilters by bringing it to audiences that have previously not experienced the art form.
Experience the Paducah of the past at this historic 1905 market house museum. Exhibits on display include the ornate gingerbread woodwork interior of the 1877 Paducah List Drug Store, a life-sized state of American statesman Henry Clay, an Interactive Timeline that looks at Paducah’s history from the settlers to the first American Quilter’s Association show, and digital scans from the museum’s Historical Archives Photo Gallery.
Discover life along the river as it was lived 900 years ago at the archeological site of a prehistoric Native American village of the Mississippian mound builders. Occupied from about 1100 CE to 1350 CE, the village was a complex settlement of permanent houses and earthen mounds positioned around a central plaza. The Ceremonial, Chief’s, and Burial Mounds can be seen on an Archeology Walking Trail. Exhibits at the museum interpret the Mississippian culture and showcase the history of the site through an excavated mound, a mural scene of the prehistoric village and site artifacts and stone tools. The Welcome Center also offers picnic tables, a gift shop, maps and information pamphlets, and access to a 200-yard looping woodland trail.
In 1780, Revolutionary War General George Rogers Clark established For Jefferson to protect the then-western boundary of the United States from attack. It was abandoned in 1781 but then later used as a Union Army supply post during the Civil War. A paved walking trail leads to a 95-foot memorial cross that sits atop a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and from here, visitors can view three states at once – Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois.
When a 1927 flood prompted people to look for a new site for the town of Columbus, a Red Cross agent came across the remains of the Confederate fortifications of Fort DeRussy.. Situated on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, the Civil War barricades were built to prevent Union troops from accessing the river. The area is now a 160-acre state park that showcases some of the artillery and the six-ton anchor that held the chain that stretched across the river, as well as a 2.5-mile self-guided hiking trail, campgrounds, Civil War Museum, snack bar, picnic area, gift shop, and miniature golf course.