Family Friendly Hiking Trails around Louisville
Find family friendly hiking trails around Louisville to get exercise together and enjoy nature.
We have so many wonderful parks with great trails, many of which feature paved walking paths among their terrific amenities. With current recommendations for social distancing or after when you are ready to explore beyond, here are our favorite places for hiking with kids.
Some of these great spots won’t be as good for social distancing if they are busy so flexibility and a back up plan if they look crowded will be helpful. If you have a dog, please realize that not all allow dogs. Also, not all have restrooms. While most are free, some do have a reasonable gate entry cost so check first. Be prepared, practice good trail etiquette, and leave no trace while you have family fun and get some fresh air while you enjoy these hiking trails around Louisville!
Here’s a link to metro updates regarding services (parks included).
Family friendly hiking trails around Louisville
Need some binoculars for bird watching? Click here
Take this Kentucky Fish & Wildlife animal tracks identification paper with you!
The Louisville Loop runs through several of the local parks or you may want to plan to cover all or parts of it on its own.
Harrods Creek Park– fantastic space that has several trails, one of which goes alongside the creek with swinging benches to rest or enjoy the view. Other trails offer more challenge and good variety. Most are still easy to moderate, so great spot for beginners or little ones.
Hays Kennedy Park features a short walking or biking paved path. But, many don’t realize there is the lovely Garvin Brown Preserve on the other side. It has charming views, pretty easy hiking trails, and a hard to find small access to a fun little spot on the river.
E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park– You have probably walked the gravel path that run through the sports fields at this popular spot, but there is also an easy trail through meadow & woods. There’s a trail along the creek that you can spend a lot of time in even though it is short because plenty to explore. These are not always easy to navigate, which can add an extra element to the fun.
Anchorage Trail– Many walk the paved path and enjoy all of the beauty it offers, but there are also some less traveled dirt ones through woods. Both are a great place to see birds including raptors sometimes.
Joe Creason Park – Paved and very pretty place to walk. Be sure to go to the nearby Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve at Louisville Nature Center with its easy-to-walk but adventurous trails that offer natural diversity packed into its urban forest.
The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork– Too many options to list! Plenty of room for people to spread out to its different parks and each of their trails, especially if you move beyond the places closest to parking areas.
Jefferson Memorial Forest– trails ranging from easy to for-the-more serious hiker. They manage several natural areas, each of which offer trails or paths for hiking in Louisville. Smaller ones like Capertown Swamp are perfect for a quick outing (and to pretend to search for ogres!). Trails that are part of other parks like Waverly can make for a longer visit. The trails at the Forest, some of which are accessed at the main entrance and others a short drive away, can keep you busy for days.
Peek at history coupled with hiking in Louisville at places like Blackacre Conservancy. Or, the Ohio Levee Trail at Riverside, the FarnsleyMoreman Landing.
Family Friendly Hiking Trails beyond Louisville
Falls of the Ohio State Park– It is always awesome to explore the fossil beds there and they also have some short wooded trails perfect for a quick outing.
Charlestown State Park in Charlestown, Indiana- numerous trails various difficulties with great variety. Trail 6 is a little rugged but worth the views along river. You can’t miss Trail 3 with its walk across a bridge to the ruins of the old Rose Island Amusement Park which now have great interpretive signs.
Lapping Memorial Park in Clark County, Indiana- great starter trails with views of creek and old forest.
NOW CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC – A little farther out is the always well-loved Bernheim Forest with so many trails you have to drive between most of them. Plenty of space to roam and a great opportunity to venture out farther to discover all they have there! We are partial to always popping by the Canopy Tree Walk and Fire Tower trail. Just pay attention to trail lengths and difficulty levels.
If you want to take a little well worth it drive, consider some of our other favorite hiking spots like Red Orchard Park in Shelbyville, the trails at Salato Wildlife Center in Frankfort, Saunders Springs & Annex, Tioga Falls, and Bridges to the Past in Radcliffe/Ft. Knox area, Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area in Bradenberg, and Mount Saint Francis in Floyd County, In.
Others we have never visited but might be worth checking out:
• Taylorsville Lake
• Fort Duffield near Etown
• O’Banoon Woods State Park
Farther away, but worth the drive:
• General Butler– some trails and a nice view
• Clifty Falls- easy to get to waterfalls and lots of wooded trails of various lengths and difficulty
• Big Bone Lick State Park Union, Ky- bison,
• Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest, In- like being in Land of the Lost, one of our top loved hiking places