Louisville, Ky., – Louisville is a beautiful and lively metropolis. One of the greatest features of the city is that many natural wonders lie just a few miles outside of its boundaries. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are many outdoor activities and outstanding natural sights available for enjoyment.
Outdoor opportunities include hiking, camping, horseback riding, forest canopy exploration, angling, hunting and other wilderness pastimes. Here is a guide of Louisville destinations that will enliven your sense of adventure and get you into the great outdoors:
Jefferson Memorial Forest
This park is only minutes from the city, though it feels as if it is in the middle of nowhere. The remote campground has a network of trails that make for great day hikes. The trails weave through the Horine Reservation and offer beautiful views of its 6,500 acres. For camping reservations, take note of the park’s event rates, as they will differ from normal rates. The event rates will vary during the Kentucky Derby, the Forest Fest, and the Forecastle Festival. The park will also create 20 x 20 event slots for visitors, which can be reserved for $15. The park also has a treetop adventure course, created by Go Ape. The course is made of many rope ladders, 39 crossings, two Tarzan swings and five zip lines. The park also has a 5.5 acre fishing lake, called Tom Wallace Lake, accessible to wheelchairs, equestrians and other hikers.
Taylorsville Lake State Park
Just outside of Louisville is a park full of adventurous opportunities. Taylorsville Park is an angler’s paradise. The park encompasses the 3,050 acres of Taylorsville Lake. Here, anglers can pursue the catch of bass, bluegill and crappie. If you are a novice angler, without any gear, you can rent fishing equipment and purchase bait and tackle within the park. The park also offers some of the best horseback riding trails, with a 24-mile, multi-use trail system. There is equine camping, if you and your horse will have an extended trip within the park. The park offers a fun activity that involves orienteering. Orienteering is the sport of navigation, where you must use only a map — provided by the park’s gift shop — and compass for the completion of a course. This is an educational sport and teaches you survival skills, which will prepare you for a situation when you can’t obtain access to GPS navigation. The park offers a 3.4 km orienteering course, that features 13 check points in a mixed forest setting.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
For those interested in plant biology and varieties, the arboretum is the perfect destination. The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is an educational and recreational preserve that has more than 14,600 acres of natural forest. The forest also contains a 600-acre arboretum, 32 miles of hiking trails and 16 miles of paved biking trails. The Bernheim Forest excels in its pursuit of ecological stabilization, as it restores habitats and takes measures that counteract previous human disturbances of the land. This area is a wonderful place where you can learn about the synchronicity and coexistence of the native plants and animals of Kentucky. Utilize Bernheim’s website for guides and additional information about everything the forest has to offer.
Knobs State Forest
Twenty-eight miles south of Louisville is the Knobs State Forest. Hiking, wildlife viewing and regulated hunting are permitted, though ATVs and horseback riding aren’t allowed. The wide open area of this forest is ideal for some safe plinking. It is an outdoor activity that allows the exploration of nature and the opportunity to practice your target shooting. Make sure you clean up after your fun, for preservation of the forest’s natural state. Any pieces of garbage are a hindrance toward the health of the plant life and increase the risk of injury of the wildlife.