Louisville, Kentucky is a beautiful city on the Ohio River. It is near the border of Indiana. It has lovely forests filled with streams, rivers, historical remains, and ancient rock formations.
There are only a few waterfalls within Louisville itself. Some of these are small. Others are man-made like Papa John’s Waterfall. Other waterfalls are now flooded due to dam construction, such as the Falls of Ohio, which once were quite magnificent.
Some waterfalls in the Louisville area are actually in Indiana. Hoffman, Clifty, and Tunnel Falls are all wonderful waterfalls, across state lines.
If you are looking to get out in nature, while in Louisville there are a wide variety of options. Parks with waterfalls and hiking trails that pass more than one waterfall are all nearby. This is a list of ten beautiful and unique waterfalls in Louisville.
1. Falls of the Ohio
Credit: Falls of the Ohio State Park
The Falls of Ohio is a waterfall that can no longer be viewed. It is on the Ohio River. This is just across the river from Louisville, in Falls of Ohio State Park.
The Falls of Ohio were 26 feet tall. The image here shows what the falls once were. Unfortunately, these lovely falls were destroyed with the construction of dams in the area.
The Falls of Ohio is a wonderful place to visit still today. It is historically significant to the history of the United States. It is where Lewis and Clark me prior to their expedition at George Rogers Clark’s Cabin.
If you are interested in going further back in history, it is also home to fossil beds that have been exposed in Jeffersonville Limestone.
There is a wonderful interpretive center at the state park that has loads of information on the historical significance of the area and information on local plants and animals.
A fee is required to access this sight that was once home to Falls of Ohio. It is a great place to visit, as it shows how man can change the landscape of the natural world.
It can also take you back in history with its fossil beds and stories of famous explorers in the area. Lastly, the Falls of Ohio are family friendly.
There is something for everyone no matter how old or young they are or what their hiking ability may be at the waterfall that once was.
2. Tioga Falls
Tioga Falls are located in West Point, Kentucky. They are 8 miles north of Fort Knox. It is free to access the waterfall. Tioga Falls is reached by hiking 2 miles on a loop trail. The hike is a bit challenging.
If you have limited mobility, you may want to consider checking out a more accessible waterfall. Bird watching, hiking, and trail running are all popular activities on the trail to Tioga Falls. Dogs are allowed on the trails if they are leashed.
The hiking trail to Tioga Falls is near railroad tracks and passes 2 railroad trestles. Stay off the tracks! Trains still use them. Along the hike to and from Tioga Falls you will find the remnants of a spring house. This was used on carriage routes in the 19th century.
Tioga Falls is accessible all year. It is made up of numerous drops, not just one. In total the waterfall stands 130 feet tall. It is a lovely place to visit. Next time you are in the Louisville area looking for a hike and a waterfall, this is a fantastic option.
Related Read: 14 Fun & Free Things To Do in Bardstown, KY
3. Waterfalls on Karst Climb
Credit: Joe Frank / AllTrails
Mount Washington, Kentucky is home to the Waterfalls on Karst Climb. This is a gorgeous waterfall found in Broad Run Park.
The trail to and from the Waterfalls on Karst Climb are accessible by hiking 2.4 miles on an out and back trail. This trail connects to the Highlands Crossing Trail, for those that want to explore Broad Run Park beyond the waterfall.
The Waterfall is a single drop fall. The hike to it is easy. This is a great place to take the whole family, including your furry friends. Kids can easy take on this trek. Dogs are welcome here too, but they must be leashed.
4. Fairmount Falls
Credit: Jeff / Flickr
Fairmount Falls is located in Louisville at Fairmount Falls Park. This waterfall is accessible, with permission from Jefferson Memorial Forest Welcome Center. They allow three vehicles in the park each day, to hike on the 1 mile out and back trail to and from the waterfall.
You need to call ahead to get permission to access the parking area with a gate code. Once you get through the gate there is a small parking lot near the hiking trail.
This is a serene and peaceful place to visit, due to the limited access each day. The trail allows you to cross on top of the falls. You can work your way up the creek to go under the falls, too. This is not as easy to do, as you are off trail.
The trail to the Fairmount Falls is easy for kids to hike. The waterfall is only 0.2 miles from the parking area. You can continue on the trail if you would like to further explore the forest beyond the waterfall.
The waterfall is best in spring and after it rains. Beware the trails may be muddy after rain. Both the waterfall and creek may go dry during the hot summer months.
Birding, hiking, and running are all popular activities on the trail to Fairmount Falls. Dogs are allowed on the trail too. They must be leashed.
If you are looking to get out in nature and away from the crowd, Fairmount Falls is a wonderful place to visit next time you are in Louisville. It is beautiful and never crowded.
5. Papa John’s Park Waterfall
Credit: Crystal A Murray / Flickr
Papa John’s Park Waterfall is located in near Louisville in Jeffersontown, KY. This is a park at the headquarters for the very popular pizza franchise, Papa John’s.
It is free to access the falls and the park. The grounds are spotless and always very well maintained. There are numerous benches and picnic tables to sit at, as you enjoy the waterfalls and park
The park has a relaxing natural ambiance. It is home to bluegill, largemouth bass, and snapping turtles. Geese love to stop at the park. Do not feed the geese. They have been known to get aggressive toward visitors because of human feedings.
This park and the waterfall are popular for prom and wedding pictures. This is also a great place to take family pictures.
If you are looking for a clean and free park with a waterfall, then check out Papa John’s Park. It is great for visitors of all ages and the waterfall is very accessible for all ages and fitness levels.
Related Read: 25 Top Treehouse Rentals in Kentucky
6. Tunnel Falls
Tunnel Falls is near Louisville, but across state lines in Madison Indiana. The waterfall is in Clifty State Park. This waterfall can be found on a six-mile loop with three other waterfalls. These include Hoffman and Clifty Falls.
The state park and trails in the park are open year-round. The area surrounding Tunnel Falls is popular for birdwatching and camping during the warmer months.
In the winter, it’s a great place to cross-country ski. Dogs are allowed on the trails with their humans. They must be leashed.
Tunnel Falls is 84 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It is hard to see the whole waterfall at once, due to the vegetation trailside.
If you are looking for an awesome hike and a waterfall that is near other waterfalls, then Tunnel Falls is a great waterfall to visit. It’s easy to access and the hike it's on is long enough to take up most of your day.
7. McNeely Lake Falls
Credit: M W / Flickr
McNeely Lake Falls are a small waterfall in Louisville. They are on a 46-acre lake that offers its visitors many recreational opportunities. The park is great for hiking, fishing, boating, and grilling.
There is a pleasant picnic area on McNeely Lake. This is a great place to hang out with your family and friends during the warmer months of the year.
If you like boating, there is a boat ramp to get you out on the lake. The park is also home to a Korean War Memorial. Model airplane and helicopter enthusiasts love using this park to fly their aircrafts, as well.
McNeely Lake Falls may not be large in size. They are in a park that has fun activities for visitors of all ages though.
The falls are also very easily accessible. This makes them worth your time, if you are traveling through Louisville and have limited mobility or kids in tow.
Related Read: 15 BEST Water Parks In Kentucky
8. Clifty Falls
Clifty Falls is a 60-foot waterfall. It’s 20 feet wide. This waterfall is on Clifty Creek, in Clifty State Park. The waterfall is best in the spring, after the snow has melted and rain has fallen.
It’s near three other lovely waterfalls on a six-mile loop trail, known as Trail #2. The Gorge Trail is a spur trail off of the trail that takes you right to the base of the waterfall. Dogs are allowed on the trails.
At the end of the Gorge Trail, you can best view the waterfall. It can be a steep and wet hike. Once you get to the end of the trail there is a wooden platform you have to climb up a ladder to reach. The view from here is wonderful.
Clifty Falls is a great place to go to see many waterfalls in the spring. During the rest of the year, the looped trail is a great place to take a hike but may not present the waterfalls to their fullest potential.
9. Blackacre Waterfall
Credit: Beer Coaster / Flickr
Blackacre Waterfall is located on Tucker Station Road. It is best to visit this waterfall in the spring, as can go dry in the summer. The waterfall is located on a 1.1-mile loop trail. Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
The trail to Blackacre Waterfall is not very well marked, but it is still easy to find your way on it. The trail is easy for kids to hike along on too. Blackacre Falls is in Blackacre Park.
This is a historic homestead that is now a popular place for environmental education field trips and picnickers. It’s home to very old white oak tree too. The park is managed by Black Conservancy.
In addition to be a place of natural wonder, horses, cows, and goats reside at the park. If you are looking for a park that has a beautiful waterfall and plenty of other sights to see, this is a great stop.
It’s only 25 minutes from Louisville. You need two to three hours to fully experience the waterfall hike and the rest of what Blackacre Park has to offer.
Related Read: 30 BEST Things To Do in Louisville with Kids
10. Hoffman Falls
Credit: Tina Karle / Flickr
Hoffman Falls is a 78-foot-tall waterfall in Clifty State Park in Madison, Indiana. It is on the same six-mile loop that CIifty and Tunnel Falls are on. It is the second tallest waterfall in the park.
There is no official trail to base of Hoffman Falls. You can walk upstream from trail #2 but this may violate park rules.
In addition to being a fantastic place to view waterfalls, Clifty State Park is home to 11 other hiking trails, a campground, nature center, and observation tower.
There is a day-use fee to visit this park. It is affordable for most families and well-worth spending to enjoy this beautiful park and waterfalls in it. Hoffman Falls is one of these.