The Parklands of Floyds Fork are a gem to Louisvillians who love to get outdoors. Paddling down the Floyds Fork waterway is a peaceful, and sometimes adventurous, way to get back to nature and take in amazing natural vistas.
Beginning in Henry County and moving into Eastern Jefferson County, the river then flows south to Southeast Jefferson County and then runs into the Salt River in Bullitt County. It’s the largest and least environmentally compromised watershed in Jefferson County. The waterway is named for John Floyd, who surveyed the area in the 1700s, and helped lay out the city of Louisville. He later became one of the first judges in Kentucky. The land for the Parklands of Floyds Fork was purchased by Louisville as part of its City of Parks initiative and is now run by the non-profit 21st Century Parks. It relies on donations and membership to maintain the property.
What Makes It Great
Paddling Floyds Fork is a fun way to see beautiful natural lands, trees, rocky outcroppings, and animals. There are several put-in sites, so your adventure never has to be the same. Scooter Thompson at Blue Moon Canoe and Kayak of Kentucky pays careful attention to the weather, water levels and conditions, and he is quick to tell you when you should and shouldn’t go. When the water level is too low, there are too many places where you’ll have to carry your vessel across dry land, and he will shut down operations. If there are too many strainers (downed trees and bushes) in the river, he will tell you the best place to put in to avoid them.
At the more northern parts of the river, especially just south of the Fisherville access, there are several braids, making it tough to decide which way to go. After about a mile or so of somewhat difficult terrain, including some class 1 rapids, the river opens up to The Strand, a section of land that connects the linear parks with no public access. In the Strand, you’ll encounter Catfish Bend, Walnut Grove, and The Palisades, an area where the river is lined with stunning, rocky bluffs with trailing green vines, creating a beautiful riverscape.
The Strand is where the river widens a bit, and the paddling gets a bit easier, offering boaters the chance to relax and take in the gorgeous views. While on the river, be on the lookout for turtles sunning themselves on rocks, frogs jumping into the water, and fish swimming along in the current, all making your river trip even more spectacular.
River miles are clearly marked along the way, and there are even some signs marking sections, such as the Palisades and locations of access points.
Stop at Mussel Bend for a picnic and let the kids enjoy finding an abundance of mussel shells scattered among the rocks.
Who is Going to Love It
Those who love a good water ride in a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard will enjoy all that Floyds Fork has to offer. If you pay attention to the water speeds and conditions, you can easily know when is the best time to go per your skill level. Paddleboarders are best accommodated in lower water, when the stream isn’t running as fast. Kayakers who crave adventure will be happiest just after strong rains.
Families with good knowledge of canoeing and kayaking are likely to have an excellent time showing the kids the beautiful views and wild fauna. Anglers will enjoy fishing for rainbow trout, which are stocked by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program. The park asks that anglers practice catch-and-release to preserve the river’s diversity.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Pope Lick Park is at Taylorsville and Pope Lick roads. Blue Moon operates out of the building next to the soccer fields. After renting your equipment, you drive to the Fisherville put-in (about ¼ mile) to park, and Blue Moon will launch you. Then they will meet you at your end location and drive you back to your car. If you have your own equipment, Blue Moon also offers shuttle service. For more information, visit www.bluemooncanoeky.com.