Hiking along Harrods Creek in Prospect, KY
Trail: Harrods Creek Park – Orange, Blue, Green, and Red Trails
Trailhead: 6530 Montero Dr, Prospect, KY 40059 – Harrods Creek Park
Stats: 3.8 Miles for all trails as a loop with 500 feet of elevation gain. About 1.5 hours to complete. By trail, point to point, as follows:
Orange: 1 mile
Green: 0.7 miles
Red: 0.9 miles
Blue: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy – Harrods Creek Park rates the trails as moderate. Most people will find them easy. A mix of single and doubletrack with sections of gravel but mostly natural trail with minimal elevation change.
Fees: No Fees
Trail Notes: Limited parking in the parking lot. There is on-street parking, and the trails are accessible from the street. While feeling like you are secluded, the park backs up to backyards. Be careful not to go off-trail into private property. Trails are well marked at every trail intersection and every tenth of a mile.
Summary: Jump here (TL:DR) for a quick breakdown.
This post is the first in a series of hikes, Louisville Hiking Project, that I will feature on the site. They are all under an hour’s drive from Louisville, KY. They make for great day hikes that are easy to complete with little prior planning. If you are in the Louisville area and are looking for a quick escape to the trails, then this is the series for you. Next time you ask, where should I hike around Louisville, KY? Check out this series.
Recently The Girl and I went to Harrods Creek Park for a quick weekend morning hike. Not too long ago, we were here for a kayak outing. If you are into paddle sports, be sure to check that out. We were back this time to see what the park had in the way of trails.
We started on the Orange Trail and made a counter-clockwise loop. The Orange Trailhead is towards the boat launch with a turnoff to the left. This path is a mix of doubletrack dirt service road, gravel, and a few sections of dirt singletrack. The trail has a few minor ups and downs following along Harrods Creek.
There is a scattering of swings set up along the route providing a place to sit and enjoy nature. If you are getting started early in the morning, like we were, then I would recommend starting here and making a counter-clockwise loop. This is the only trail that is unshaded. Hitting this path first gets you under the tree canopy as the sun gets higher in the sky.
The Orange Trail ends at a small clearing with a nice view of the creek and easy access down to the creek. There is a little bench here to take a short rest break and enjoy your surroundings. After a brief rest, we headed into the woods along the Blue Trail.
This trail starts with a slight uphill and is all single track. After 0.2 miles, you come to an intersection with the Green Trail. For a short hike, keep on the Blue Trail winding back to the parking lot.
We took a right heading onto the Green Trail. After another 0.2 miles, you come to an intersection with the Red Trail. These two trails make a loop, so there is no wrong way to go. We chose to head down the Red Trail and hike along the creek.
The Red Trail starts with a short downhill section and then levels off. The route is a little tighter here and runs along Harrods Creek on one side with the forest is on the other.
There are a few opportunities to get down to the creek and enjoy the water.
Coming to the end of the Red Trail, there is one last access point to the creek. Just before the creek access, you will find the return leg on the Green Trail. There is a short uphill section but otherwise is relatively flat. On this trail, there are a few small bridges to carry you over watersheds. There are also a couple of small feeder creeks that run down the hillside.
The forest was thickest through this section. There are a few wildflowers still blooming, as well as rockfaces that add contrast and points of interest along the trail.
The Green trail is the shortest of all of the routes, and you are quickly back to the Blue Trail. Heading back on the Blue Trail, there are more cliff lines, large deciduous trees, some large boulders, and lots of wildlife to be seen. Before long you will come to the end of the trail.
The Blue trail has a couple of exit points that will put you back on the start of the Orange Trail, back at the parking lot, or out onto the main entrance road.
Summary: Harrods Creek Park is a quick and easy getaway where you quickly feel like you are much deeper in the woods than you are. The multiple trails are relatively short and are easy to loop together. This makes it easy to have a short hike or add on a little more distance to suit your needs. The trail is moderate to heavily trafficked. Also, please remember to keep your dogs on a leash. There is a lot of wildlife back here that call this park home. An endangered species of migratory waterbird nests each spring in the park as well. Not to mention it is the law and out of courtesy to your fellow hikers.
Harrods Creek Park also offers easy access to the creek for kayaking, canoeing, and SUP. Check out my post here for information on paddling on Harrods Creek.