Jefferson Memorial Forest

Louisville, Kentucky 40272

Jefferson Memorial Forest

Jefferson Memorial Forest Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Pleasantly wooded ridges and hollows with limited views north toward the Ohio River and Indiana are the terrain for this day hike south of Louisville. Local officials call the Jefferson Memorial Forest the nation’s “largest public urban forest.” Indeed, from one of the knobs you cross on this hike, you can see downtown Louisville.

It’s hard to believe that these 5,600 acres of wooded ridges and hollows are anywhere near the state’s biggest city. In fact, for generations this area of steep hills and winding roads was well isolated from the rest of Louisville and surrounding Jefferson County."

Jefferson Memorial Forest Trip Reports

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7/24/2018
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10/29/2009
I ran the Yellow Trail - a 5.4 mile loop. This trail was absolutely AWESOME!!! If you are looking to run a highly technical, switchback type trail, with mud, muck, slickery spots and a lot of goo, then this trail is the one to run! I run trails in Maryland and this trail rivals anything Maryland has to offer! What an awesome run!!!
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7/16/2006
The Siltstone trail is 13 miles roundtrip requiring retracing one's steps after 6.5 miles. It's fair to say that it is a moderate, not strenuous hike. There is a fair amount of hiking up and down for about 3000 ft total elevation gain. However, none of the climbing is for very long periods of time before it levels out again.

July hiking is, of course, humid and buggy. During the summer, there are no views to be had because of the thick forestation and vegetation. This is not meant to be a deterrant. If you still want a long hike in the summer, this one does make for a good one. You're constantly in the woods so the sun is not beating down on you. Be sure to wear an insect repellent and "always" check for ticks, same drill as for any KY area hike.

Fortunately, I didn't see any snakes on this day. I did see lots of different fungi which made for some colorful pictures.
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3/8/2003
The Horine Trail, approximately 5 miles in length, is only one of several trails within the Jefferson County Forest system. Given the severity of the winter, the trail is in really good shape. You start near a campground and follow along a ridgeline with teasing glimpses of a vast panorama just beyond your tree cover (be careful of the blaize's. The rangers here have had a problem with rogue groups coming in and all using different blaize symbols when marking the trail). The trail leads you along forest service roads for some short distances, but mostly you are in the solitude of the forest, especially when you make it to the bottom of some of the trails valleys.
A word of caution, the descents are steep because some switchbacks don't switch and some of the ascents are very strenuous (especially 30-40 yard stretch that is set at a 60 degree angle).
All in all it is a very pleasurable hike. Being so close to the population of the 16th largest city in America, it is refreshing to find such solitude.
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6/21/2002
This area is rather lightly traveled considering it's proximity to Louisville. It's only minutes from the Gene Snyder. Several trail segments can be combined to build a walk from a mile and a half on up to 17 miles (I think). Bridal paths criss cross the trail in certain areas and it's not uncommon to come across a rider who "lost" the bridal path and strayed onto the hiking trail. The hills can be greuling and, unfortunately, there are few ridgetop panoramas. Yeah, it's nice to look through the trees across the valley, but you never get the feeling of emerging from the forest. No doubt, carrying an ample water supply is required.
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4/13/2002
This is a beautiful trail right in Louisville's backyard. It is very lightly hiked or visited by people. A very difficult trail, lots of rock and root and steep hills, hills, and more hills! One can hike/run the 13 mile Siltstone trail as an out and back, or you can cross the asphalt road at the 6.5 mile turnaround and continue on a 4 mile loop that makes this trail a 17 mile out and back. I highly recommend this trail. Beautiful and well maintained single track trail. It does tend to get overgrown with briar and sticky brush in the summer so long pants are essential. Also make sure you have plenty of water and food with you as this is a very remote trail and you will have to carry with you. There is a Ranger visitors center at the parking lot off Mitchell Rd. where you should sign in so people know you are out on the trail. Highly recommend!
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Jefferson Memorial Forest Photos

Trail Information

Louisville
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
13.4
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
6 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Jefferson Memorial Forest, (502) 368-5404, www.memorialforest.com
Local Contacts
USGS Valley Station
Local Maps

Trail Log