What are the best places to hike with dogs in Louisville, KY?
Louisville and the surrounding suburbs are full of great parks and trails to enjoy with your dog. There are hiking areas available for every skill level, and enough variety to keep things fresh and interesting. Hiking is tremendous exercise for both you and your dog, and also provides your dog with good mental stimulation. Most dogs never leave their home neighborhood, which is a boring way to live their life. Hiking gives them a chance to see new things, and explore places that they have never been before.
We have personally visited every single park on this list, and frequently utilize these areas to train and exercise our board and train dogs while they stay with us. Our own personal dogs also love spending time on the trails! In order, here are our favorite places to hike in Louisville with dogs.
Jefferson Memorial Forest is a vast area of wilderness, and is so big that I think it might be impossible to explore it all. Most of the trails are fully shaded, so hiking in the summer is possible even when it gets to be very hot outside. You will share the trails with people on horses and bikes, but the park is so big that foot traffic gets spread out. Parking is plentiful, and picnic tables are available in some sites.
If you are a fan of water, there are several creeks and other bodies of water that flow through the park. Fishing opportunities can be found if that is something you want to add to your experience. The park is outside of the city in Fairdale, but still within very easy driving distance of all of Louisville.
This incredible park system is one of my favorite places to hike in the state. The scenery here is nothing short of spectacular. Deer, rabbits, and birds are everywhere in the park, and are a welcome sight on the trails. There are trails available to both pedestrians and cyclists, and some of the best bathroom facilities that you will see at a public park. Kayak areas are present in the park, and are easily accessible. Parking is a breeze, and you have plenty of paved trails for hiking in inclement weather.
The Parklands have some trails that are pretty mild, and easy for hikers. Others pose more of a challenge, and there is a big selection of trails for you to choose from. This park is a little out of the way, but well worth the trip
Known as “Louisville’s Yellowstone”, this park is located in the heart of South Louisville, and is very easy to reach by main roads. When you get onto the trails, you would never know that you were in the middle of a busy metro area. The accessibility is one of the reasons why this is a top place to hike with dogs in Louisville, KY. There are paved trails all around the park, with dirt trails that branch off. This is a busy park for mountain bikers, disc golfers, and equestrians.
This park is one of the busier options, and so be prepared to walk further from parking to the trailhead. The trails themselves are largely shaded, so are a good option for summertime hikes. The view from the top of the hill is incredible, and well worth the hike up to the top.
Safety When Hiking with Dogs
- Always bring plenty of water for both you and your dog.
- Bring a charged cell phone with you, and let someone know where you are going to be.
- Familiarize yourself with trails and maps before you head out.
- Make sure that you and your dog have flea, tick, and mosquito prevention, and check for ticks after the hike.
- Monitor your dog closely when temperatures are very high or very low. Some breeds are more tolerant of extreme temperatures than others. For example, your husky might thrive when its snowy and cold, but be a bad candidate for summer hiking.
- Do not let your dog drink from creeks and puddles, as these can be a source of girardia, leptospirosis, and other microorganisms.
- Do not let your dog off leash unless the park allows off leash dogs, and unless you know that your dog has a reliable “come” command. If you need help in this area, we can help build off leash reliability for your dog.
- If you will be having your dog swim on the hike, check out our water safety tips.