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Outdoor Parks in Louisville, KY

September 15th, 2022 by

Did you know that Louisville Parks and Recreation manages 120 parks and six parkways covering more than 13,000 acres of land in the Louisville, Kentucky, area? Whether you’re an avid recreational enthusiast or enjoy occasional excursions in the great outdoors, the following Louisville parks offer plenty of amenities to suit your interests.

E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park

a park with trees and a running trail

E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park by merfam is licensed with CC By 2.0

If you’re seeking unlimited opportunities for outdoor adventures, don’t pass up a visit to E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park. This 554-acre park on the outskirts of Louisville offers some of Kentucky’s most dynamic indoor and outdoor recreation facilities.

You can test your skills at the only outdoor public archery range in Louisville or cool off in Louisville’s largest outdoor swimming pool and splash pad during the summer. Catch glimpses of animals from the natural world along the shaded Goose Creek Nature Trail, or supercharge your fun with a spin on the Supercross BMX track within the park.

The Louisville Astronomical Society, formed in 1933, created the on-site astronomy center. It makes an ideal place for you to experience the wonders of our universe. Gaze through the telescopes at the planets and stars during the free monthly Star Parties. More information about the center’s programs is available on the Astronomical Society’s website.

If you’re a model airplane enthusiast, take advantage of the park’s radio-controlled airfield, featuring a 400-foot-long, 35-foot-wide runway. It’s open to pilot members of the River City Remote Controllers, and membership of the River City Remote Controllers is required to use the airfield.

If these amenities aren’t what you’re looking for, the park is also home to the following:

  • Sawyer Dog Park, an off-leash community dog park.
  • Four badminton and pickleball courts in the Activities Building.
  • Community garden plots.
  • Picnic shelters.
  • Playgrounds.
  • Soccer and softball fields.
  • Tennis courts.

Location: 3000 Freys Hill Road.

Iroquois Park

people sitting in the outdoor amphitheater in Iroquois Park, Louisville, KY

Photo by Louisville Images | Licensed with CC-By-NC-ND 2.0

Dubbed Louisville’s own Yellowstone Park, Iroquois Park is one of the largest public parks in Louisville at more than 725 acres. The rugged terrain of the park includes mature woodlands and scenic overlooks. In particular, the North Overlook within the park has treated generations of visitors to extraordinary views of the city of Louisville. A meandering wheelchair-accessible path leads park visitors to a high point with vistas of downtown Louisville and the Indiana Knobs.

When the opportunity arises, consider attending an event at the Iroquois Amphitheater. This accessible outdoor amphitheater seats approximately 2,348 people and hosts various arts and cultural programs.

Additional amenities include a disc golf course, hiking and horseback riding trails, fishing, tennis, and more.

Location: 5216 New Cut Road.

Louisville Champions Park

If you’re a sports lover looking for outdoor recreational facilities in the Louisville area, this massive 222-acre park will suit you. Several athletic fields, a cyclocross course, a cross-country course, a fenced dog park, walking paths, a playground, concession stands, and restrooms number among the many amenities at Louisville Champions Park.

Due to its impressive size, the park often hosts large-scale events. In 2018, it hosted the second annual Bourbon & Beyond festival, which featured music artists such as Keb’ Mo’ and John Mayer, bourbon tastings, culinary demonstrations, and other arts and entertainment activities.

Location: 2050 River Road.

Waterfront Park

Fireworks exploding at Waterfront park in louisville ky

Image by | Licensed with CC By 2.0

Located adjacent to the Ohio River, Louisville’s wharf, and Riverfront Plaza, Waterfront Park welcomes close to 2 million visitors per year at the largest public park in the nation that offers free Wi-Fi access to visitors. Before becoming an 85-acre public park, the site was a wasteland of scrap yards and abandoned industrial buildings. It now features adventure playgrounds, grand bridges, and boating areas to enjoy with your family.

Waterfront Park hosts several events, including the annual Fourth of July spectacular, Forecastle Festival, and WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays. Concerts and weddings also number among the special events at the park. Whether you want to ride your bicycle, practice yoga, or enjoy a stunning view of the city from the Big Four Bridge, you’ll find ample space to do it at Louisville’s Waterfront Park.

Location: 129 E. River Road.

Thurman Hutchins Park

Adjacent to River Road, the 75-acre Thurman Hutchins Park entered the Louisville Parks and Recreation portfolio in 1999. In 2013, Joseph & Joseph Architects of Louisville developed a design concept for the park that maintained a natural passive landscape view from River Road. You’ll find an area of preserved wetlands and rustic natural woodlands near the linear center of the park.

Landscape features include a new walking path, pond, fishing pier, savannah meadow, and lawn. On the opposite side of the woodland screen, a children’s playground, picnic pavilion, concessions building, restrooms, soccer fields, baseball fields, and trails add to the amenities you can enjoy.

According to the Joseph & Joseph Architects website, these park enhancements create an “architecture [that] conjures up the impression of a 1920s river camp style.”

Location: 3734 River Road.

Watterson Lake Park

Bring your fishing gear to Watterson Lake Park. Located off Interstate 264, the 11-acre park has served the area’s recreational needs since 1978. It’s home to the 3.7-acre Watterson Lake. An accessible fishing pier allows anglers of all abilities to access the lake. You can expect to find bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish in Watterson Lake.

In addition to fishing, park visitors can stroll, run, or jog the quarter-mile trail at the park. Families with young children will appreciate the many picnic tables, shelters, and playgrounds available for public use.

Location: 1714 S. Wheatmore Drive.

Whether you’re a resident of Louisville or a visitor, you can witness nature’s wonders when you visit the many parks in the Louisville area. At Bachman Subaru, our team members enjoy sharing information about Louisville’s attractions. We hope you’ll use this list to discover new ways to get outdoors and experience Louisville. You can also check out our guide to pet-friendly parks if you have a furry companion with you. Which parks are your favorites? Contact us and let us know.

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