I've been asked why I write so much about traveling and road trips. And when I get that question, I first explain that I started reading Rand-McNally road atlases from the time I was a 4-year-old. Then I explain that my dad loved corralling all of us into whatever vehicle and just, well, going. Anywhere. Show me a highway I've never traveled, and I'll want to see where it goes.

I recently learned about an oddity regarding a particular Kentucky highway, but first, let me share this tidbit with you. From end to end, at its longest point, the Commonwealth is 425 miles long--from the easternmost tip in Pike County to its westernmost point in Fulton County.

Kentucky's Long But Not as Long as Its Longest Highway

However, the longest ROAD in Kentucky is State Road 80 which is 483 miles long. That's right...it's 58 miles longer than the state itself, and if you travel it beginning in the West, you'll be in Columbus KY, home to a state park with rich Civil War history:

When I was in 8th grade, my history teacher asked me to plan a vacation for him through several points of important American history. It was for extra credit and right up my wheelhouse, so I dug in my heels and became the best 14-year-old travel agent he ever met. If I'd known about Columbus back then, I would have included it. Thinking about that project and this story makes me want to travel this route and investigate where it takes me. The next major stop would be Mayfield, a town still reeling but healing from the deadly 12/10/21 tornado:

There Are Beautiful, Underrated Towns Along KY 80

Keep going and you'll graze the northern tip of Murray KY, which is much more than just the home of a prominent university:

Eventually, you'll get to the point where KY 80 merges with U.S. 68 around Aurora, and then it crosses the Eggner Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake. It's a relatively new bridge, one that replaces the original which was constructed in 1932. In 2016, that one was demolished.

There's a Lot of Rich History Along KY 80

Your next two stops are gold mines for history buffs, or, at the very least, folks who specialize in historical figures. Hopkinsville, for example, is the hometown of the poet known as the "sleeping prophet," Edgar Cayce.

And if you're interested in NOTORIOUS history, you might be fascinated to know that Jesse James spent a lot of time in Russellville. If you stay on 80/68, you'll drive right through it.

The Commonwealth's Third-Largest City Is on KY 80

The largest city on KY 80/U.S. 68 is just a half-hour up the road from Russellville, and you might want to spend a little extra time. We're talking about Bowling Green where there is plenty to do in and around the city. The Corvette Museum alone will take up a lot of your time.

Christmas Movies and the Gateway to Appalachia Along KY 80

Keep going past the point, in Edmonton, where 80 and 68 split up (stay on 80) you'll eventually get to Somerset, a town turned on its ear last year when the town was chosen by the Lifetime Network as a backdrop for one of its Christmas movies.

Once you arrive in London KY, you'll arrive at the gateway to eastern Kentucky and beautiful Appalachia and then it's on to Hazard.

The beauty of eastern Kentucky becomes the beauty of western Virginia, and that's where the longest road in Kentucky comes to an end, east to west. It's in a town called Elkhorn City.

And there it is...483 miles of state highway that, because of all the twists and turns, is longer than Kentucky itself. I actually can think of someone right now who take this trip. Heck, he may already have. I know I'm certainly intrigued.

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Gallery Credit: Stacker

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