The Parklands

Hitting the Trails – Staff Trail Picks

Recent studies have shown that spending as little as 20 minutes in a park can help improve your well-being. With all of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, taking care of your mental and physical health is more important than ever.  With nearly 4,000 acres to explore, you can reap the rewards of the outdoors at The Parklands (as well as other local parks, preserves and arboretums), while practicing social distancing.

We encourage our followers to prioritize their well-being in the coming weeks with a daily dose of outdoor recreation. Our four parks and The Strand offer trails of varying lengths, level-of-difficulty and surface so that visitors of all abilities can get out and explore. 

Continue reading to learn more about staff favorites and what makes each so special. We hope to see you (from a safe distance) at The Parklands!

Big Beech Trail – Pope Lick Park, Photo by Bob Hower/Quadrant

For a scenic route:

“I’d recommend an original favorite—Big Beech Trail at Pope Lick Park. It takes you along a trail with 200-year-old trees and is just 1.5 miles long. It’s also close to The Strand, my favorite section of the park to take a leisurely hike or pedal.” – Toni Woodard, Facility & Hospitality Director

“I would recommend our new Leatherwood Trail in Broad Run Park. It is a trail that our staff built from scratch and provides excellent views of the valley below. It is a short hike but hooks up with Limestone Gorge if you want to keep on going.” – Kirk Dolan, Park Superintendent

“I love all our trails, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be Karst Climb in Broad Run Park. It’s a great trail for all ages with beautiful scenery.” – David Paris, Maintenance Team Leader

The Storybook Forest located on the Osage Orange Explorer Trail in Beckley Creek Park.

For families with little ones:

Creekside Paddling Access in Beckley Creek Park is a special little spot for children and adults. It’s nice for a picnic, reading a book and introducing children to a low water spot on the fork for a fun adventure.” – Stephanie Blair, Park Attendant

“The Osage Orange Explorer Trail, located behind the Marshall Playground & Sprayground in Beckley Creek Park is a perfect beginner trail for families with small children. The Storybook Forest is a must-see stop. Regardless of age, you might still learn something new from the signs placed along the trail.” – Anna Rosales-Crone, Manager of Communications & Marketing

Louisville Loop – Broad Run Park, Photo by Ted Wathen/Quadrant

For rain or shine:

“I would absolutely recommend for visitors to check out the Louisville Loop, especially the access point in Broad Run Park by the Woodland Pavilion and Moss Gibbs Woodland Garden. I love that Broad Run Park is always full of park visitors and families enjoying the weather and the outdoors; it is a wonderful, high-energy area.” – Alyssa Rosen, Events Specialist

Sycamores tower over Floyds Fork along Valley of the Giants trail in Beckley Creek Park.

For a Great Escape:

I see hiking as an opportunity to exercise and enjoy nature, plus get in a little quiet time. The Valley of the Giants trail in Beckley Creek Park isn’t too crowded, and you can always spot something new in the Fork.” Sam Stewart, Director of Development & External Relations

“The trail I would recommend to visitors is Paw Paw Trail in Turkey Run Park. These trails give you a real sense of being out with nature.” Jim Miller, Lead Ranger

“My favorite trail in The Parklands is the Wild Hyacinth trail in Turkey Run Park. I can get into the woods where it is quiet to rest and recharge. I enjoy going out after a good rain and seeing the water cascade into Turkey Run creek. I also enjoy splashing in the creek looking for crawdads just as much as our students do!” – Curtis Carman, Education Director

Karst Climb – Broad Run Park, Photo by Ali Greenwell

For those looking for a challenge/workout:

“I really enjoy the Karst Climb Trail in Broad Run Park.  It has varied topography that can turn a brisk hike into a phenomenal workout. ” – Mike Nielsen, Vice President of Finance & Operations

Limestone Gorge Trail – Broad Run Park, Photo by Ted Wathen/Quadrant

Staff Favorite: Limestone Gorge, Broad Run Park

Limestone Gorge is the most unique trail we have, and it sits in the middle of my favorite forest. It’s a lovely, diverse place with some vertical ups and downs to make it fun.” – Dan Jones, Founder & Chairman

“One of my favorite trails in the park is the Limestone Gorge in Broad Run Park. You get great views at the top and get that feeling of getting lost in the woods since you can’t hear any highways.” – Erin Kinnetz, Education Specialist

“My favorite trail to hike in the Parklands is the Limestone Gorge Trail in Broad Run Park. It takes you through some gorgeous terrain and there are sights of phenomenal landforms that allow you to ponder how the flow of water carved the land. This is also where I discovered my first frost flower! If you don’t know what that is, don’t Google it! It’ll be far more magical when you find one! Just take a hike on a frosty morning before the sun has time to melt them away.” – Kayla Franck, Zone Gardener

If you happen to visit the Limestone Gorge area after rain, take a hike on the Louisville Loop for a mud-free journey and great views of the gorge and forest.

Please continue to keep an eye on our website for the latests updates. We are looking forward to resuming our events and guided hikes in the future. Until then, happy exploring!

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About the Author

Picture of Anna Rosales-Crone

Anna Rosales-Crone

As Manager of Marketing and Communications, Anna Rosales-Crone manages internal and external communications strategies for The Parklands, as well as marketing to promote facility rentals, educational programming, fundraising and overall park awareness. Anna was hired as Communications Coordinator in May of 2015 to help build awareness of the newly constructed park by managing The Parklands brand, website and social media. Prior to joining The Parklands team, she worked in communications at the American Red Cross for five years where she grew the Louisville Area Chapter’s digital and social media presence while supporting public relations, marketing and special events. She also provided public affairs support and guidance during major disaster operations. Anna is a graduate of the University of Evansville where she met her husband and the second love of her life—traveling. She also enjoys hiking, reading, baking, dancing, going to concerts and hanging out with her two cats. Contact me about: media relations, photo requests and website.