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Louisville hiking guide

Check out these 14 hiking trails catered to all skill levels in and around Derby City for outdoor adventures.

Waterfall over rocks

The best time to visit Tioga Falls is after rain in the springtime.

Photo by LOUtoday

Table of Contents

From quick and easy loops around town to drives that take you to fantastic lakes and mountains, our city has so many options to hit the trail. So lace up your hiking boots, because we’ve compiled a hiking guide for the Louisville area with 10 routes and trails to help you plan your next adventure and experience breathtaking views.

Note: While parks and trails may be listed as open, we recommend checking park websites before visiting for further info, current trail conditions, and safest practices for the area.

Key: Easy = 🥾| Moderate = 🥾🥾 | Hard = 🥾🥾🥾

East of Louisville

Stone bridge way with brick path.

The Anchorage Trail is located across from TEN20 Brewery.

Photo by LOUtoday

Anchorage Trail, Downtown Anchorage, 1500 Evergreen Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

This 10-foot wide, paved path begins with a herringbone brick walk before it winds through a parklike setting past open fields and Willow Lake + ends under a light tree canopy. Pro tip: Visit in the fall to see giant pumpkins on flanking the walkway.

Blackacre State Nature Preserve, 3200 Tucker Station Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 3.2-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Walk through history on this combined loop to see a waterfall, cattail pond, historic springhouse, and double-crib barn on this 19th-century farm.

Turkey Run Loop Trail, The Parklands of Floyds Fork, Beckley Creek Pkwy.

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 6.1-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Portions — short paved section
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Begin this hike at the Brown-Forman Silo Center and meander through the forest — just be on the lookout for mountain bikers sharing the path.
Goose Creek Trail, E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, 300 Freys Hill Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.25-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

White-tailed deer and American turkeys are often spotted on this trail that winds around most of the 554-acre park. Expect to travel across open fields + lightly wooded areas along the creek.

South of Louisville

LOUtoday_forest giants

Little Elina is one of three forest giants at Bernheim.

Photo by LOUtoday

Forest Giants Trail, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, 2499 Clermont Rd., Clermont

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2 miles out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: Limited
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Most visitors of Bernheim Forest are headed to this trail dotted with three giant sculptures of woodland creatures made by Danish artist Thomas Dambo using recycled and repurposed materials.
Tioga Falls Trail, Louisville Nashville Turnpike, West Point, KY 40177

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 2 miles out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Owned by the U.S. Army Fort Knox, this trail is occasionally closed for military training, but when its not, the uphill hike to the base of its three-tiered, 130-foot waterfall is a must — plus, you get to cross railroad tracks.

LOUtoday_Bridges of the Past

The stone bridges along the Bridges of the Past trail are 150+ years old.

Photo by LOUtoday

Bridges of the Past, Louisville Nashville Turnpike, West Point, KY 40177

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2.3 miles out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: Limited
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Adjacent to the Tioga Falls trailhead is a second trail option populated with three stone bridges that were built in the 19th century and later repaired for army use by German POWs in World War II.
Scott’s Gap Trail, Jefferson Memorial Forest, 11311 Mitchell Hill Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 3.3-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Portions — finely graveled loop trail located at trailhead
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Located within the largest municipal urban forest in the US, this trail isn’t for the faint-hearted, but its steep elevations give way to beautiful ridgetop views of the Kentucky hardwood forest.
Waverly Park Loops, Waverly Park, 4800 Waverly Park Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 4.7 miles
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

This 300-acre hardwood forest attracts mountain bikers and fishermen, but the park also offers well-maintained trails for hikers. This route combines the Twisting Bends Loop and Clinic Loop paths that wind over creeks, up ridges, and down hills. The park is also located just west of the famous Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

Fall leaves on a trail

Jefferson Memorial Forest is Louisville’s largest nature preserve.

Photo by LOUtoday

Saunders Springs Nature Preserve Loop, Saunders Springs Nature Preserve, 100 Saunders Spring Ln., Radcliff

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 6.2-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

This picturesque preserve is filled with cascading streams, springs, and four reconstructed 19th-century log cabins. The area is believed to have been a campsite for both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. This loop offers a longer, combined hike, but there are 11 trails total to explore on the property.

Central Louisville

White Oak Trail, Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve, 3745 Illinois Ave.

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 1.5-mile loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • Pet-friendly: No

Explore a tiny portion of this 41-acre nature preserve via tree and native plant signs along this trail that starts at the Louisville Nature Center.
Iroquois Park Overlook, Iroquois Park, 521 New Cut Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾
  • Length: 1.2 miles out-and-back
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Get sweeping views of downtown LOU at the summit of this paved route which is closed to vehicular traffic Monday-Friday.

Fall foliage at a park.

Cherokee Park provides a pastoral setting amid rolling hills, open meadows, and woodlands of the Beargrass Creek valley.

Photo by Louisville Tourism

Cherokee Park Scenic Loop, Cherokee Park, 745 Cochran Hill Rd.

  • Difficulty: 🥾
  • Length: 2.3-mile paved loop
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Take a gentle stroll along the main travel artery of this 389-acre Highlands park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1891. The paved loop is divided evenly between pedestrian and vehicular use. Highlights on the path include Hogan’s Fountain, Baringer Hill, and Christensen Memorial Fountain.

North of Louisville

LOUtoday_Rose Island

Formally known as the “Walkway of Roses,” these arches are all that remain of the former entrance to amusement park.

Photo by LOUtoday

Rose Island Loop, Charlestown State Park, 12500 Indiana 62

  • Difficulty: 🥾🥾🥾
  • Length: 2.1-mile loop (with an option to make it a 5.5-mile loop)
  • Wheelchair accessible: Portions — short paved section at the trailhead.
  • Pet-friendly: Yes, leash required

Located 20 miles north of downtown Louisville, this loop descends to the site of a former early 20th-century amusement park and resort where you can see remnants of the park like a swimming pool, bear cage, and walkway arches.
Ready to hike more? We regularly use the “Five-Star Trails: Louisville & Southern Indiana: 40 Spectacular Hikes in the Derby City Region” book by Lexington, KY author Valerie Askren.

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