The Parklands

#OptOutside this Black Friday with These Staff Trail Picks

Start a new holiday tradition this year with a hike in The Parklands! Whether you are looking for a way to burn off a few calories after indulging in the Thanksgiving meal, or you are looking to avoid the shopping crowds on Black Friday, The Parklands has plenty of trails to help you achieve your mission. Long and short, paved and natural surface, make a plan to revisit a favorite or explore a new area.

Continue reading to learn more about staff favorites and what makes each so special courtesy of the folks whose work helps preserve and maintain them. Then make a date to explore one (or more) this holiday season!

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 Coordinator

Karst Climb – Broad Run Park, Photo by Ali Greenwell

For those looking for a challenge/workout:

“Of the trails I have explored I would recommend Karst Climb in Broad Run Park. I enjoyed the terrain of this trail. As the trail opens and you enter on the south end, near Bardstown road, you hike into a quaint clearing that gradually feeds into the dense stand of trees and seasonal waterfalls. This soft surface trail is just shy of 2 miles and is labeled as more challenging. I think the challenge is worth it, as the trail meanders to the north through several species of trees and wildflowers (notable spring ephemerals), a cedar grove, a small creek with rippling waterfalls; it spills out in the north at the Highland Crossing. It is a great hike for an after work stress reliever or early morning wake-up.” – Karen Mann, Garden Team Leader

“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.

Are you interested in guided hikes or hiking with fellow outdoor lovers? Check out our events page for more details on hiking programs, including Member-exclusive hikes.

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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.