Walk Across KY

Walk Across KY

What is the Walk Across Kentucky?

The Walk Across Kentucky is a diverse and unique Kentucky native plant collection and a living museum that captures the spirit of the Commonwealth’s landscape. It was first planted in 1991 after extensive plant collection efforts in the 1980s, which sought to secure the botanical diversity from across Kentucky and cultivate it in a common location for research and conservation efforts.

A two-mile paved pathway meanders through over 80 acres of wild-collected native plants that represent the seven physiographic regions of the state. There are over 2,500 trees and shrubs in the collection, and efforts are being made to further develop the interesting ecosystems found across Kentucky, including tallgrass prairies, wetlands, savannahs, and glades.

The Seven Physiographic Regions

The Appalachian Plateau The Bluegrass The Cumberland Mountains The Knobs The Mississippi Embayment The Pennyrile The Shawnee Hills

The Arboretum Woods

Native buckeyes bloom in The Arboretum Woods in spring 2021. Photo by Carol Lea SpenceThe Arboretum Woods is a 15-acre remnant Inner Bluegrass Woodland and is an especially valuable part of the Walk Across Kentucky Native Plant Collection.

It includes over 60 species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers, including some ancient trees aged between 200 to 400 years.

There are ongoing efforts to remove invasive plant species, such as wintercreeper (Euonymus fortuneii), and restore The Arboretum Woods to a more ecologically sustainable condition.

A half-mile trail provides access through the woods, and we ask that visitors remain on the trail to preserve the forest understory.

Arboretum Explorer

Arboretum Explorer is a web-based database that can be accessed on your smartphone, tablet or desktop computer to "explore" the plants and learn more about The Arboretum. 


  • You can locate plants by using an interactive MAP of The Arboretum grounds.
  • You can also SEARCH our database for specific plants, or choose from a list of plants under the NAMES tab. The results of this search will give you its Arboretum location, the origin and the unique number that staff use to identify individual plants.
  • Under our FEATURES tab, you can find memorial benches and trees, facilities, special gardens and more. 
  • You can take a self-guided TOUR created by Arboretum staff on topics such as native trees, shrubs and Kentucky Oaks.

Go to Arboretum Explorer     Learn How to Use Arboretum Explorer

The WAKY Blog

The Walk Across Kentucky (WAKY) Blog describes and chronicles the development of the Walk Across Kentucky Native Plant Collection.

Visit the Blog

Walk Across KY Tree Tour

Join Emily Ellingson on a virtual tree tour of the seven physiographic regions of Kentucky.

Watch the Video

Arboretum Map

A map of The Arboretum featuring paths, entrances, and regional features

Contact Information

Molly Davis

500 Alumni Drive Lexington, KY 40503

+1 (859) 257-6955