Whenever the topic of “most scenic road in the Bluegrass” comes up this is always an easy answer for me. That road is Pauls Mill Road in southern Woodford County near the Jessamine County border. Pauls Mill Road is only about a mile in length but what it lacks in distance it makes up for in some of the most beautiful scenery in this area. There are many options for running Pauls Mill Road but I’m going to describe the short loop of 3.5 miles, beginning at the small crossroads community of Troy. Troy is home to the Troy Presbyterian Church which is where I suggest parking. If several of you will be meeting at this location you might email ahead to make sure a group park is OK. This loop can be run either clockwise or counterclockwise; I will give directions for counterclockwise since this will save Pauls Mill Road until the second half of the run.
As you depart the church parking area you will bear left onto Rt. 33 AKA Troy Pike. In a short distance you will pass through Troy. Troy is a small community of homes at the intersection of Troy Pike and Keene Troy Pike. Continue through Troy and remain on Troy Pike for approximately .75 mile until you reach Cummins Ferry Road where you will turn left. Cummins Ferry is a beautiful road with a large number of old, dry stone fences lining the route. You also get to enjoy a long, gradual descent as you work your way down to Clear Creek and Pauls Mill Road. At approximately 1.6 miles you will arrive at Pauls Mill Road where you will turn left. As soon as you turn onto Pauls Mill you will cross a small overflow stream that might contain water if we’ve had quite a bit of rain recently. It’s not very wide and you can probably jump across if there is running water. Look over to your right and you will see Clear Creek. This is near the midpoint of Clear Creek which will eventually drain into the Kentucky River farther downstream. Just beyond is the highlight of Pauls Mill Road, Pauls Mill Farm. The Pauls Mill Farm property was settled by a Virginian named John Paul in 1813. The farm is now owned by the Walden family who have purchased most of the original Paul property to increase the total farm size to 300 acres. They have also performed extensive renovations on the property in their 8 years of ownership.
As you approach the main entrance of Pauls Mill Farm you will see a dam that holds back the main channel of Clear Creek. Beyond this dam you will see the main entrance to Pauls Mill Farm. There’s a good chance you will see the swans that call this section of Clear Creek home. Along with the swans you will be cheered on by the many Canadian geese which share this section of creek. The lovely stone bridge that crosses Clear Creek was extensively renovated in the early 1960’s along with some of the other buildings on the property.
Beyond Pauls Mill Farm you will approach a restored 19th century grist mill that is the current home of Prajna Design & Construction. If you’re lucky you might encounter a few wild turkeys on this section of road. Just beyond the grist mill you will once again intersect Troy Pike where you will turn left. From here it’s about .75 mile back to the start at Troy Presbyterian.
Even though the loop I’ve described is only 3.5 miles there are many options to add additional mileage. Continuing on Cummins Ferry Road is an easy way to add additional mileage. You can run out and back on Cummins Ferry and add up to 9 additional miles. Like any local road with “ferry” in the title it is hilly so be prepared as it dead-ends at the Kentucky River. You can also add up to 6.8 additional miles by running out and back on Troy Pike as you turn off Pauls Mill Road. Finally, you can add many additional miles by running out and back on Troy Road (not Pike) and beyond. If you run Troy Road I would highly recommend running far enough to do Richardson Lane, another really cool little country road.
This area of the Bluegrass is a beautiful part of central Kentucky that many runners never venture to. It is a little more “woodsy” with more trees and forested areas than land that is closer to Lexington. If you are looking for new routes to explore I highly recommend this part of Woodford and Jessamine counties. It is easily accessible from the Harrodsburg Road area since it is a short distance off Rt. 68.