If you’re new to Louisville or visiting and looking for a place to log some mileage, the city has no shortage of options. From cross-country trails through the hills to the Riverwalk along the Ohio River, our list of top running trails in Louisville features the best routes for runners of all experience levels.
1. The Parklands of Floyds Park
The Parklands of Floyds Park features a 19-mile greenway that connects four Louisville parks: Beckley Creek Park, The Strand, Turkey Run Park, and Broad Run Park. Just 20 miles west of the city, this area is very popular among runners, and if you follow the Louisville Loop signs along the main route, you’ll discover several other trails that split off the main one. All of the paths offer peaceful forested views, grassy meadows, and lush lawns. Locals recommend the Humana Grand Allee section for running, which features several paths, trails, and boardwalks in Beckley Creek Park.
Tips: Prefer water views? Check out The Strand, a section of trails that runs along the Floyds Fork stream. The Wild Hyacinth Trail, in the woods across from the Ben Stout House, is also stunning in the spring, featuring blankets of blooming hyacinths.
2. Broad Run Park
Broad Run Park is a relatively new park that opened in 2016. It’s home to about 600 acres of pretty natural scenery and boasts gorgeous waterfalls, thick hardwood forests, breathtaking lookouts over the landscape, and plenty of amenities for visitors to enjoy. The Limestone Gorge is a well-loved 1.4-mile loop in this park, but there are several other trails and areas to navigate, so expect to spend a decent amount of time exploring if it’s your first time here!
Tips: Don’t forget to check out the beautiful 15-acre Moss Gibbs Woodland Garden while you’re at Broad Run Park.
3. Louisville Riverwalk
The Louisville Riverwalk is an area along the Ohio River that features a series of waterfront paths for runners to enjoy. Starting at Waterfront Park, you can either go west, toward Lannan Memorial Park, for a route that features the KFC Yum! Center, Kentucky International Convention Center, and the Muhammad Ali Center. In total, it’s about 3.1 miles to Lannan Memorial Park. Alternatively, you can head east from Waterfront Park toward the Big Four Bridge, Thurston Park, Louisville Water Tower, and to Carrie Gaulbert Cox Park, where you’ll find more water views.
Tips: The Riverwalk’s official starting point is the Shawnee Park Trailhead, and there is plenty of parking in the immediate area.
4. Big Four Bridge
The Big Four Bridge at Louisville’s Waterfront Park is one of the most unique running spots in the city. Originally an operating railroad bridge that connected Louisville to Southern Indiana, it’s now a hot spot for tourism, featuring some of the best sunset and water views in the area. If you start your workout at the ramp on River Road, a run from one state to the other and back again is about two miles in total. You don’t have to worry about cars because the bridge is for cyclists and pedestrians only. For a longer route, continue running along some of the waterfront trails on the Riverwalk.
Tips: Try running the bridge after sunset. It features a stunning LED lighting system that displays different colored themes until 1 a.m. every night. There are also several playgrounds and a splash pad on the Kentucky side.
5. Cherokee and Seneca Parks
Cherokee Park and Seneca Park are two of five Louisville parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Cherokee Park features long, winding roads that carve their way through Beargrass Creek Valley’s rolling hills and woodlands. The best spot for running in this park is a 2.4-mile Scenic Route through the center of the park, featuring separate lanes for vehicles and pedestrians. You can also run 1.5 miles along Seneca Park Road and Beargrass Road to get to Seneca Park. Within it, you can enjoy another 1.2-mile walking path called the Scenic Loop or a 3.1-mile cross-country route that meanders through the natural terrain.
Tips: The nearby Rock Creek also offers a mile or two of running on easy, grassy surfaces.
6. University of Louisville Campus
Just south of downtown, The University of Louisville campus provides a couple of miles of easy, flat running with great views of the historic university. The sidewalks and main roads through the campus are pedestrian-friendly, and you can create your own routes through the area, so it’s a highly customizable running experience in the city. To park on campus, make sure you get a visitor permit.
Tips: We also recommend exploring the charming and historic Old Louisville neighborhood just north of the campus. It’s home to an extensive collection of gorgeous restored Victorian mansions, Central Park, and fantastic restaurants.
7. E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park features 554 acres of land on the outskirts of Louisville. Originally farmland, the park is now a popular area for outdoor recreation, including running. Of the three trails to choose from, the 1.25-mile Goose Creek nature trail is the most popular. It follows Goose Creek and maintains an easy grade for runners of all experience levels. It’s only open to hikers, so you don’t have to worry about dodging cyclists along the way.
Tips: For a quick warmup or cooldown, try the park’s 1-mile fitness trail, which features 10 exercise stations.
8. Waverly Park
Waverly Park is a 300-acre park just east of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a former hospital and tourist attraction. The park is well-known for its fantastic mountain biking trails, but it’s also a highly desirable location for trail runners. The extensive system of trails is open to shared use (cyclists, runners, and hikers), and the park also features a gravel trail that encircles Waverly Lake. Amenities include a public bathroom, water fountain, dog park, picnic shelters, and fishing areas.
Tips: If you’d rather avoid the cyclists here, you can run along the playground loop trail instead.
9. Joe Creason Park
Joe Creason Park is located in the center of Louisville and connects to Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve. It’s mostly known for the Louisville Tennis Center but also features several hiking and running trails for cross-country runners. The White Oak Nature Trail is a popular 2.7-mile running route following Beargrass Creek. Although dogs aren’t allowed on this trail, it’s kid-friendly and ideal for bird-watching. Joe Creason Park also has a paved loop with one huge hill for those who want a challenge. After your run, nearby tourist attractions include the Louisville Nature Center and Louisville Zoo.
Tips: For great cross-country running, head to the nearby Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve for 3.1 miles of trails. Or, for residential running in a nearby neighborhood, try running along Trevilian Way, just northeast of the park.
10. Iroquois Park
Iroquois Park is another one of Louisville’s Olmsted parks. Just south of downtown, the park’s 739 acres create a scenic landscape that offers stunning views of the city from its highest points. Nicknamed “Louisville’s Yellowstone,” this park is home to plenty of gorgeous vistas and forested hillsides, which you can enjoy while running along its many paths. For a breathtaking view of Louisville from above, run the Uppill Road Path (1.5 miles) to the summit.
Tips: The adjacent Iroquois Park neighborhood (east of the park) also offers excellent residential running for those who want to log a few extra miles.
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