J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pretty Little Spring Hikes

Signs of Spring are popping up everywhere, in the tiny red buds on the deciduous trees, in the ever cheerful yellow daffodils and in the sea of green on the lawn.  Flowers of all variety are peeking out from the earth ready to make its flamboyant debut.   One of my favorite activities this time of the year is to go for a hike or a bike ride to witness nature’s colorful celebration of Spring.  Here are some of my favorites around the city.

All around Cherokee Park
745 Cochran Hill Road
Louisville, KY 40206

Hours: Dawn to dusk
Close to town and easily accessible, Cherokee offers many short pretty hikes that can be explored by yourself safely. I love the water, so following Beargrass Creek’s  meandering path all throughout the park is a must.  My favorite spot to start is at Big Rock where Beargrass Creek is at its widest and tiny waterfalls dotted the place.  You can drive directly here by putting in the intersection of Park Boundary Rd & Seneca Park Road & Beargrass Road. In warmer weather, you’ll see people wading in the water and swimming.  In spring, pretty spring flowers are all over the park, especially daffodils and other flower bearing trees.

Spring flowers at Bernheim
Bernheim Forest
Clermont, KY 40110
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
If you're up for the short 30 minute drive south on I-65, you'll be rewarded with the beauties of Spring on full display at this arboretum and research forest.  It’s free on the weekdays, but $5 per car and $10 for a passenger van on the weekends and holidays is a small price to pay see the well groomed trails, gardens and fields full of spring flowers.  Come on May 16 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for their Bloomfest and Spring Plant Sale, an annual celebration of spring that includes food vendors, kids friendly activities, music, garden lectures and arts and crafts.

Beckley Creek Park
The Parklands of Floyds Fork
Address varies
Click on Park for google coordinates 
This brand new park, upon completion, will connect 5 parks: Beckley Creek ParkPope Lick Parkthe StrandTurkey Run Park and Broad Run Park (only the first 2 are completed) via the Louisville Loop.  It's a beautiful place to hike, bike (mountain and road), and play in the water. A majority of the park has access to the creek and ponds where you can canoe, kayak or fish.  The best way to explore the entire park is to park your car by the silos at Beckley Creek and bike.  Follow the Louisville Loop all the way to Pope Lick Park, it's mostly flat and beautiful.  For hikers and runners, go straight to the Egg Lawn and pick one of the many trails to explore.  By the nature center is also a playground and a dog park.

Cave Hill. Source
Cave Hill Cemetery
701 Baxter Ave
Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m; Sat: 8 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sunday: Closed

A cemetery is not a traditional idea of fun, but if you’ve never been, Cave Hill is a treasure trove of history and beauty.  This park-like cemetery is the final resting place of famous Kentuckians such as Louisville’s founder George Roger Clarks, Colonel Harlan Sanders of the famed KFC, “Happy Birthday” song author Patty Hill and many other famous people whose names adorn streets and buildings all throughout Louisville.  Stroll through Cave Hill and you’ll see beautiful monuments, peacocks roaming free, a reservoir and ponds and all types of spring flowers (my favorite is the tulips).  If cemeteries creep you out, don’t worry, the ghosts are quiet friendly and never bother me before.

Old Louisville in the Spring
Old Louisville
Magnolia Ave & 4th St
If you like your Spring with a little urban flare, Old Louisville is the perfect place for a stroll.  Spring flowers and blooming trees are even more beautiful against the back drop of the largest collection of Victorian homes in the country.  Park your car at Central Park (designed by the same architect of New York’s Central Park) at Magnolia St and 4th Street.  Stroll through the wisteria covered walkways to the small garden by the visitor’s center, then make your way over to St. James Court and fountain.  Admire the beautiful homes and explore the many small connecting walkways that will take you from St. James to 4th street.  From there, explore the rest of the Victorian homes up and down, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd street.

Audubon Park Dogwood
Audubon Park
Preston Highway & Audubon Parkway
The Dogwood trees are in bloom now too, so make your way over to the Audubon Park neighborhood for their three day Dogwood Festival starting this Friday 4/17/2015 to Sunday 4/19/2015.  Located between Poplar Level Road and Preston Highway, north of the Watterson, this residential neighborhood has many variety of dogwood trees and azaleas in full bloom. Enter from the Preston Highway and Audubon Parkway entrance or Poplar Level Road and Nightengale Road.

Papa John's Park
Papa John's Park 
2002 Papa Johns Blvd, 40299
This small park is a nice retreat from busy shopping centers in and around Blakenbaker Parkway.  Here, you'll find pretty flowering trees line the walk ways, a manmade water fall, a small pond a small hiking path.

River Road flower fields
Mustard Flower Fields
Finally, for a spectacular display of color you’ll have to wait until May when endless fields of bright mustard flowers dot the countryside right outside of Louisville. It’s very unpredictable, I’ve seen it some years and not others.  Consistently, I’ve found them at: River Road (intersection of River & Juniper Beach Road, near Captain’s Quarters), in Crestwood
(intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway & U.S. 22) and in South Louisville (near Intersection of National Turnpike & Tolls Lane), and a smaller patch at Taylorsville Road (Taylorsville Road & Arboro Pl.)   If you head East on I-64 towards Simpsonville, you can see many small fields in the area (near the outlet mall).