Dogwood Trail

History and Local Legacy

The lighting of the dogwood trail in Paducah became a tradition in April 1964 when the Civic Beautification Board began the tradition of touring Paducah in bloom at night. In 1964 when Dolly McNutt, chair of the Civic Beautification Board, visited Knoxville, Tennessee, she was taken by the beauty of Knoxville's lighted dogwoods. When she returned to Paducah, she persuaded members of the CBB that sponsoring a lighted dogwood trail would benefit Paducah. The first trail was two blocks long along Sycamore in Paducah's west end. It is now a 10-mile driving tour traversing downtown, LowerTown, and other residential neighborhoods. The tour showcases Dogwood, Japanese Maple, Red Bud, and Weeping Cherry trees as well as blooming garden areas and other flowering species.  History of the Paducah Dogwood Trail Video (3:55 minutes) >>

In 2000, the Library of Congress accepted the Lighted Dogwood Trail as a Local Legacy.  The goal of the Local Legacy project was to document the creative arts, crafts, and customs representing community life across the nation.  The Lighted Dogwood Trail is permanently documented in the Library's American Folklife Center collections.  Members of Congress in every state submitted materials documenting nearly 1300 local customs and traditions.  The Lighted Dogwood Trail was submitted by Rep. Ed Whitfield (1st District).  

Luxury Travel Magazine included Paducah Dogwood Trail's 50th Anniversary Celebration among top Spring Flower Festivals Across America in 2014.  Birds & Blooms listed the Trail as one of the 8 Must-See Flower Festivals for 2018.

facebook logoVisit Paducah Dogwood Trail on Facebook.

2020 Dogwood Trail - 56th Anniversary

Overview and General Information

2020 Dogwood Trail Map

The 56th Annual Dogwood Trail will begin April 8 and lasts until April 16.  The trail features about 12 miles of lighted dogwoods and spring plantings.  While the trees are in bloom, there will be Dogwood Trail signs strategically located at each turn in the Trail. The tour showcases Dogwood, Japanese Maple, Red Bud, and Weeping Cherry trees as well as blooming garden areas and other flowering species.  

Celebrating the resilience and beauty of the dogwood tree seems fitting as we face the challenges of COVID-19. We ask that our community light their dogwood trees, landscaping, and  American Flags to celebrate our traditions and patriotism.  This year, you may see the addition of green lights as requested by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear to show compassion for the victims of the Coronavirus and their families as well as a sign of Kentucky's resilience. The public is strongly encouraged to practice social distancing while enjoying this self-guided driving tour.

As a show of unity, the prize money will be donated to Community Kitchen to help those most in need at this time.  Next year, the Paducah Civic Beautification Board will resume awarding prizes to our best in trail.  Thank you to Paducah Power System for graciously sponsoring this year's Dogwood Trail.

2020 Dogwood Trail Map

Dogwood Tree Sale

During the month of March, the Paducah Civic Beautification Board partnered with local nurseries.  The nurseries are selling dogwoods for 25 percent off their normal price.  Visit your local nursery (Bloom N' Gardens, Edwards Nursery, James Sanders Nursery, and Wahl's Landscape and Garden Shoppe) for new dogwoods and planting instructions.  

CANCELLED - Landscape Lighting Sale

NOTE:  Due to the COVID-19 situation, this event is cancelled.  This year the Paducah Civic Beautification Board is partnering with Paducah Power System (PPS) for the Landscape Lighting Sale.  Stop by PPS on Saturday, March 21 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to purchase landscape lighting/spotlights for $20 each (cash only please). Boarding the trolley

CANCELLED - Trolley Tour

NOTE:  Due to the COVID-19 situation, this event is cancelled.  PATS (Paducah Area Transit System) will offer Dogwood Trail Trolley rides for $1 per person at dusk (approximately 6:30 p.m.) on Thursday, April ?? (the date has not been determined).  Come to the PATS station at 9th and Harrison Street (850 Harrison Street) to board the trolley.

CANCELLED - Dogwood Trail Bike RideDogwood Trail Bike Ride

Note:  Due to the COVID-19 situation, this event is cancelled.  The annual Dogwood Trail Bike Ride and potluck is a not-to-be missed springtime adventure on bicycles. Meet at BikeWorld, 809 Joe Clifton Drive, and then pedal along some of Paducah's beautiful streets through neighborhoods awakening to spring. The route is well signed, and BikeWorld staff are stationed along route to provide assistance.  A community dinner/potluck will be held at BikeWorld after the ride.  BikeWorld will provide the meat, bread, drinks, and tableware.  Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite potluck side dishes and desserts.  There is no charge to participate.

In previous years, more than 250 cyclists rode the trail and returned to enjoy an afternoon of grilling and fellowshipping with other cyclists. Please wear a helmet. BikeWorld will have a follow vehicle.  However, the pace is deliberately slow to enjoy the beauty of Paducah in spring.  The entire route is 11 miles, but riders may turn back at any time, riding as little as just a block.  Bicyclists do share streets with car traffic and are responsible for obeying traffic laws. Children should be accompanied by responsible adults. If you have a question, contact BikeWorld at 270-442-0751.

Children's Dogwood Art Contest

In February 2020, the Paducah Civic Beautification Board reached out to the Paducah School District's elementary schools inviting children in grades 3 through 5 to participate in an art contest.  After providing some information about the annual Dogwood Trail history and events, the students were given the freedom to create artwork using markers, watercolors, or other types of supplies.  Paducah Power System is sponsoring the event and providing cash awards to the winners.  This year, Clark and McNabb elementary schools participated with 490 entries received.  A special thank you to the following art teachers:  Missy Kern at Clark Elementary and Sierra Senn at McNabb Elementary.  The Board collected the entries on March 2 and coordinated a committee to do the difficult task of selecting the winners.  

boy scout troop 1

Flag Fundraiser

The trail will honor American Troops by partnering with Boy Scouts Troop 1 and their flag fundraiser program.  For anyone who participates in the Boy Scout Troop 1 flag program and agrees to spotlight the American flag, Troop 1 will place a flag in their yard on the first day of the official Dogwood Trail Celebration and members of Troop 1 will return to retire the flag later that week. For more information about Troop 1's flag fundraiser (which costs $50 for the Dogwood Trail week and six designated holidays), visit Flag Fundraiser.


Trail and Art & Photography Contest Winners

2020 Dogwood Trail Children's Art Contest Winners for 2020 >>
2019 Dogwood Trail Winners for 2019 (list of names and addresses) >>

Dogwood Trail Winners for 2018 (list of names and addresses) >>

Photography Contest Winners:
1st Place:  Stephanie Young, Let’s Dance
2nd Place:  Phyllis Russell, Twist and Shout
3rd Place:  Cindy Jones, Spring Backwards

Art Contest Winners:
1st Place:  Debra K. Talbert, Cornus Virgiana, mixed media
2nd Place:  Carol Tribou, Dogwood in Blossum, watercolor
3rd Place:  Barbara Harris, Dogwood Designed, ink jet print


Dogwood Trail Winners for 2017 (list of names and addresses) >>

Photography Contest Winners:
1st Place: Phyllis Russell (untitled)
2nd Place: Michael G. Smith "Solo Aglow"
3rd Place:  James Long Jr. "Anticipation"

Fine Art Contest Winners:
1st Place: Paul Grumley "Dogwood I"
2nd Place:  Maria Korte "Dogwoods in Downtown"
3rd Place:  Kelly Scarbrough "Spring's Beauty"


Dogwood Trail Winners for 2016 (list of names) >>
Images of Homes of 2016 Dogwood Trail Winners >>

Photography Contest Winners:
1st Place:  Basil Drossos "Summer, Winter"
2nd Place:  Phyllis Russell "Pretty in Pink"
3rd Place:  Paul Grumley "Elegance"

Fine Art Contest Winners:
1st Place:  Frank Bennett "Along the Dogwood Trail"
2nd Place:  Katherine English "Impressions of Spring"
3rd Place:  Nancy Calcutt "Pink Dogwood"

Dogwood-Quilt Week Downtown Storefront Display Winners >>


Dogwood Art & Photography Contest Winners for 2015 >>

Dogwood Trail Winners for 2015 >>

2015 Storefront Contest Award Winners >>


Dogwood Art & Photography Contest Winners for 2014 >> 

Dogwood Trail Winners for 2014 >>


 Dogwood Trail Winners for 2013 >>


Dogwood Trail Winners for 2012 >>

On the Trail Winners

2011: Jim and Susie Sigler (1126 Sherwood Road); Mike and Amber Smith (329 West Jefferson Street); Rachel Holshouser (2701 Jefferson Street); and Barbara Dwyer (315 Madison Street)

2010: Wanda Mullinax Williams (2800 Broadway); Steve and Julie Leidecker (4046 Magnolia Drive); Paul and Juliette Grumley (4300 Alben Barkley Drive); Gregory and Nancy Waldrop (1924 Jefferson Street); Gary and Patti McDowell (2620 Jefferson Street), and Charles and Sally Proctor (104 Vine Street)

2009: The trail event was cancelled due to tree damage and debris from the January 2009 ice storm.

2008 Winners: Bill and Sara Minihan (1152 Jefferson); Mark and Stephanie Mahan (432 West Jefferson); Phil and Michele Chase (3511 Forest Circle); Jim and Pat Brockenborough (3901 Court Avenue)

Off the Trail Winners

2011: Mrs. Frank Kolb (3831 Phillips Avenue); Brad and Beth Wyant (245 North 38th Street); Mrs. Jesse Dortch (422 North 36th Street); Bruce and Renea Akin (235 North 38th Street); and Lucia Robertson (4006 Buckner Road)

2010: Buz and Janie Smith (250 Jennifer Lynn Drive); Robin and Melissa Breeden (3239 Monroe Street); Keith and Susan Mason (1269 Hedge Lane); Chris and Ginny Hutson (1104 Olde Friedman Lane); William and Teri Coscarelli (220 Fountain Avenue); and Charles and Nancy Hammonds (1918 Jackson Street)

2009: The trail event was cancelled due to tree damage and debris from the January 2009 ice storm.

2008 Winners: Jim and Linda Gould (145 Red Fox Trail); Kelly and Kenya Estes with Bennett, Layton, and Cade (150 Deer Path Lane); Bob and Cindy Ragland (620 North 36th Street), Chad and Shauna Kerley (217 Wallace Lane)

Dogwood Photo Exhibit Contest

2011: Contest not held.

2010: Contest not held.

2009 Winners: 1st-Michael G. Smith; 2nd Tom Fusco; 3rd-Phyllis Petcaff

2008 Winners: 1st-Tom Fusco; 2nd-Gail Ransler; 3rd-Phyllis Russel

2007 Winners: 1st-Mike Myers; 2nd-Gail Ransler; 3rd-Andy Jetton

Guidelines: Each photo must contain an image of a dogwood. All entries should be prepared for exhibit (matted or framed in whatever fashion the artist chooses).

Dogwood Painting Exhibit Contest

2011: Contest not held.

2010: Contest not held.

2009 Winners: 1st-Harietta Harper; 2nd-Betty Martyn; 3rd-Susan Durrett

2008 Winners: 1st-Bill Fleming; 2nd-Mel Garbark; 3rd-Betty Martyn

2007 Winners: 1st-Harrietta Harper; 2nd Mel Garbark; 3rd-Sharon Linn

Guidelines: Each painting must contain an image of a dogwood. Entry form should be attached to the back of each painting. Forms are available at the PAPA Gallery (Paducah Area Painters Alliance). All entries should be prepared for exhibit (matted or framed in whatever fashion the artist chooses). All sizes of artwork will be accepted.

Lighting and Planting

Tips for lighting dogwoods, azaleas, and other spring flowers include

1) Use low watt outdoor halogen bulb light sets

2) Use weatherproof outdoor cords and connectors

To grow a dogwood

1) Select a well-drained site with afternoon shade and plant a nursery grown tree.

2) Plant in late winter or early spring.

3) Dig planting hole twice the diameter of the rootball and at least 18 inches deep.

4) Refill hole to depth of rootball with loose soil Tap soil to provide a firm base for tree.

5) Place dogwood in hole, spread the roots, and pack soil around and over the roots.

6) After planting, water and cover soil with mulch except at tree trunk

7) Water weekly during dry periods. When watering, soak root area well. Do not drown trees planted in poorly drained soil.