Buttermilk Falls – Day Trip to Brandenburg Kentucky
Day Trip to Brandenburg, KY and Buttermilk Falls
Brandenburg is in Meade County and is about an hour, maximum, from Louisville families. It offers parks and water fun for families to explore for a day trip.
For us, day trips are all about learning and exercise. Buttermilk Falls Kentucky and Brandenburg provide that in one compact spot! All of this was really easy to find and a simple drive from Louisville.Buttermilk Falls is a great place to hike regardless of the weather. It has two trails: Buttermilk Falls Trail and Emmert Falls Trail. Buttermilk Falls Kentucky trail is a wide, paved path that is handicap/stroller accessible. There are several spots where you can sit and eat snacks.
There are two portable bathrooms that you can use if needed. There are even dog baggies and garbage cans on the trail. The Buttermilk Falls trail is blocked at one point, however, a short ways down you can pick it back up instead of going to Emmert Trail. This is one of the waterfalls we have on our waterfall list.
On this trail, you will find a small waterfall that looked great for younger kids to splash and play in the water. You will also find the area where people love to swing from the vine.
At the waterfall area, there is a small, covered area with benches where you could also stop to have a picnic or snack. It’s also a great place to review scientific information on local plant and animal wildlife, as well as the water cycle.
Emmett Falls trail is considered a “primitive” trail. It’s more dirt and elevation than the other trail, but ends in a beautiful waterfall area with small waterflow making it a fun place to stop and play for a while. And, a great covered sitting area for rest, snacks, and changing from sneakers to water shoes.
The trail is an in-and-out trail. Because of this, it’s great for families. You won’t get lost! And, we saw many families just doing the paved part and not the dirt hiking trails because they can use a stroller.
After your PE time walking Buttermilk Falls, head down to the River Front Park for a stroll. There is a tall, Confederate Veteran’s Monument at the one end of the River Front walkway.
A short distance down the walkway is a statue that commemorates the Underground Railroad. This is a great time to have family discussions about the beliefs systems associated with a Confederate Monument and an Underground Railroad, both in the same waterfront. While at River Front Park, talk about the art involved in making statues and monuments.
There are lots of historical markers at River Front Park and some plaques and statues that document different historical events that occurred in the Brandenburg area. It’s a great time to review some historical facts about the Civil War and Underground Railroad in particular.
For some math work, have your kids do a little geometry! Have your kids look at all of the different shapes at River Front. The bridges, sidewalk bricks, garbage cans, and information plaques are all made up of different shapes. Classify shapes by lines and angles. Look at the property of shapes. As the barges go by, you can talk about the physics of water displacement and how big, metal boats can float. Even at a park, math is all around you! See, we love learning.
At the waterfront, there is a boat ramp area that leads you to a great spot for fishing (check license requirements for Kentucky). There is also a great walking bridge that is a great spot for pictures. There are some gazebos to sit at and an amphitheater with free WIFI (a great spot to sit and do school work or look up historical information).
There’s no playground, just nature, which makes it a nice place to visit. Plenty of green space! During the summer evenings they even have food trucks that have their own parking area at River Front Park.
Across the street from the riverfront, is Jailhouse Pizza. This restaurant is on the site of the old Meade County prison. This pizza joint is awesome! There are old newspapers, photos, and artifacts hanging on every available space on the walls to show you the history of the prison, and you can eat your pizza in one of the old jail cells! If the cells are full, you can eat in the additional building added to the jail.
For an outside option, you can take your pizza to go, and eat in the Jailhouse Pizza picnic benches out front, or take it down to the waterfront.
For extra history education you can tie to music education, there is a historical marker on the road in front of Jailhouse Pizza that states the Meade County Courthouse used to be in that location before it was destroyed by a tornado. One of the visitors to the courthouse was Aaron Burr. Yes, the Aaron Burr of the musical Hamilton.
Another neat spot across the street from Jailhouse Pizza, is My Old Kentucky Quilting Studio and Crafts. We didn’t get a chance to check this place out on our visit and work on our art skills, but from the reviews and pictures, it looks like it offers a multitude of crafts along with quilting services. It’s only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays, so if you’re visiting on one of those days, you might want to check it out.
Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area is about a 20 minute car ride from River Front Park back toward the direction of Louisville. Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area is owned by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife, and there are fees to enter as well as special fees to use the horse trails, mountain bike trails and shooting ranges. This is a popular camp site that offers fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding trails, mountain bike trails, archery range, and disc golf. If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway, this is a great option to check out.
Extra activity in the area: About 20 minutes east of the River Front is Tioga Falls and Bridges of the Past. This is not an easy hike. It is not flip flop or stroller friendly and can be very steep at times. See more about this trail on this post.