Written by Abigail Proffitt
Composed of nearly 4,000 acres of eastern Jefferson County, the Parklands of Floyds Fork stretches over four parks and 20 miles—from Shelbyville Road to Bardstown Road. Whether you live near Louisville or travel from far away, the parks’ sheer size means they are best accessed by car-- especially in chilly weather.
Driven by Parklands Fund Coordinator Taylor Freimund and seated comfortably in the leather backseat of The Parkland’s Mariner, I watch the interconnected landscapes pass quickly. She has assembled directions that meander through the most stunning views in each park. It’s an unusually sunny day and we travel with the windows down and the sunroof open. The puzzle of elements—patches of real estate, diverse forests, trailheads and river bends, sports fields and reclaimed barns, is a lot to assemble. When you take the scenic drive, you can zoom out, slow down, and enjoy the scale of The Parklands from the comfort of your car.
Begin your scenic drive in Beckley Creek Park!
Driving through Beckley Creek Park, you see the Egg Lawn, a flat grassy expanse. The Egg Lawn, as well as many other spots in the park, is adaptable space, useful for many purposes.
Beyond the meadows is the monumental Donors Fountain at the Humana Grande Allee. When it is turned on, it makes sophisticated patterns out of water. It shuts off for the season in November, but its textured surface is a beautiful sight any time of year.
Continue to Distillery Bend where, 50 years ago, a distillery operated. When it burned down, it left tame meadows, enveloping both sides of the road. Tall grasses wave in the breeze as you pass them. Today they are being tended, groomed with machines that cut mesmerizing lines into the wide expanse. Make the drive again in the spring to see them coated in vibrant wildflowers.
From Beckley Creek Park to Pope Lick Park
At the end of a gravel driveway at the top of a hill in Pope Lick Park, there is a cozy house in the woods, invisible from the road. You don’t have to travel into the woods to enjoy the Big Beech Woods-- the beeches and meadows are gorgeous even through car windows.
From Pope Lick Park to Turkey Run Park
Traveling along Turkey Run Parkway, you will come to a fork in the road. Take a left to see the Brown-Forman Silo Center, painted a sunny yellow to represent ears of corn, and the Hockensmith Barn. The former corn storehouse and tobacco barn have been repurposed for public use. Ben Stout House, a carefully restored two-story farmhouse, is also located along Turkey Run Parkway and recalls The Parkland’s early history as agricultural land used by Kentucky farming families.
From Turkey Run Park to Broad Run Park
Composed of hardwood forests, fields, waterfalls, and overlooks, Broad Run Park spans 600 acres. Here, Limestone Gorge and Big Vista Overlook will capture your attention with their steep drops and vibrant foliage. Miles of forest will pass too quickly, as you drive past the Cliffside Center and head back to the highway.
The Parklands provides memorable experiences for however you wish to experience it: walking, biking, kayaking, or playing in the playground. But an experience like no other is certainly driving. Every turn and glimpse of an expanse feels purposeful. By car, I was able to fully grasp the different feel of each park, the different horizons and landscapes. I will definitely plan another scenic visit soon!
View full Scenic Drive Directions HERE!
Being a donor-supported public park means we rely on donations, not tax dollars, for annual operations each year. Because of your generosity, we are able to maintain, program, and further develop this extraordinary public space without charging an entry fee. Together we work to enhance quality of life and help our community and economy grow in ways that are healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable for people of all ages. Help us reach our goal of sustaining The Parklands by becoming a Member today. Members make it happen!
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