Louisville, Kentucky Biking Guide: Retrospec Guest Writer Kevin Cockerline

Louisville, KY is an exceptional place to live in or travel to.

From premier sporting events to incredible food and everything in between, Louisville has it. This includes an incredible cycling community and access to equally incredible bike rides. Whether it is the streets, or a beautiful park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – the same designer of New York’s Central Park and Chicago’s Riverside Park - there is a bike ride for anyone. Some of these routes are sections of the Louisville Loop, a near 100-mile shared-use path system around the Louisville area! Try some of them out and you will be sure to catch the beauty of Louisville from a fresh perspective.

Note: You can access park information by clicking the corresponding hyperlinks. The entire Louisville bike map is available here, as well as further below.

Waterfront Park

Biking in downtown Louisville is much more pleasant than other downtowns. The addition of dedicated bike lanes alongside sharrows make downtown Louisville a considerably safe cycling location. As for route selection, any combination that gets you to Waterfront Park will be perfect. Waterfront park sits at the very north of Louisville on the Ohio River. The paths are wide and allow for comfortable cruising. Often best for first-time visitors, you can see a variety of sculptures, a Lincoln Memorial, playgrounds and the views of the Ohio River and Louisville’s skyline. Going east, it meets with the Big Four Bridge.

Big Four Bridge

Previously a railroad track, this bridge was converted to a multi-use bridge in 2013. With a decent climb to reach the bridge itself, this route works for nearly everyone and provides a unique experience. I have seen it crowded at all times of the day, so expect some foot traffic and ride vigilantly.

Iroquois Park

Heavily wooded and lightly trafficked roads make this park perfect for cycling. There is an overlook at the top of the park, but take note that it is a serious climb up. There are multi-use trails, but they are not intended for cycling, so stick to the roads here.

Cherokee Park

With a total of 409 acres, this park is huge. As far as road cycling, there are miles of roads with mostly light climbs and descents throughout. However, I believe the best feature here is the mountain bike trail system. With about 12 miles of trails that connect into Seneca Park as well, there is a lot to explore. The trail is overall pretty flowy with some berms, small obstacles, and tech throughout – making it a small challenge for beginners and easy ride for experts. This trail system does not have a set direction and is multi-use, so again, ride vigilantly.

Waverly Park

Located just southwest of Iroquois Park, Waverly Park has a well-manicured trail system that’s known for being fast. Around 7 miles, the trails lack technical intensity, but keep a nice flow, with steady climbs followed by quick descents throughout. With over 600 feet of elevation change, be sure to bring your cardio.

Dave Armstrong Extreme Park

Just a bit south of Waterfront Park and a couple blocks east of Louisville Slugger Field is a 40,000 square foot extreme park. There are bowls, ramps, rails, boxes, and even a wooden half-pipe, making this place a unique experience. It’s a great place to learn dropping in and out of bowls and practice getting some air. While the park attracts mostly skateboarders and BMX riders, if you’re comfortable on a mountain bike, you can have a lot of fun here.

Race Loops

A personal addition to my Louisville biking experience, I found there are enough dedicated bike lanes that I can do time trials. In this, I am stopped only by traffic signals, as the bike lanes provide freedom from most car interventions.. 3rd Street, 2nd Street, West/East Oak Street, and East Breckinridge Street offer a lot of possibilities. Before you consider going fast, take necessary safety precautions, and sample the route to ensure it is safe.


Wear a helmet whenever you’re riding. Be sure to follow the rules of the road and rules specific to your location. If the trails are muddy, stay off – it is best for your safety and the condition of the trails. You can learn about Louisville biking regulations here.

Kevin Cockerline is a writer, designer, photographer, and business owner living in Louisville, KY. For more of his work, check out Cream, his streetwear brand, and give him a follow on Instagram