There are a lot of parks in the south end. Iroquois Park, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Greenwood Boat Docks (there’s a more official name, but everyone knows it by the “Boat Docks”), and many others. The park that I see the fewest amount of people at, and it’s really surprising to me, is Waverly Park. Waverly Park is located off of Arnoldtown Road. According to some history I was able to gather from Metro Parks, the park was created in 1965, after the land was purchased from the Kessler heirs by The Louisville and Jefferson County Board of Health. The purchase of the land was the result of Charlie Vittiner proposing that the land adjacent to Waverly Hills Sanatorium become part of his Chain of Rainbow Parks.
Waverly Park has a fishing lake, includes Bobby Nichols Golf Course, and several miles of mountain bike/hiking trails. To be honest, when we hike at Waverly Park, we mostly see mountain bikers and relatively few hikers. Near the trail head for Clinic and Twisting Bends Loop, there is an air machine for bike tires. There’s also a dog park that is affiliated with the other city managed dog parks, meaning you need a fob to get in (from what I gather). The dog park section is back off the road and is surrounded by trees.
There are so many great things about this park, specifically the trails. None of the trails are too difficult so even beginning hikers would enjoy them. I wouldn’t consider the trails wheelchair accessible, though. There’s next to no litter, and the trails are meticulously maintained. There are little wooden bridges, along with stone paths, and some good elevation to give you a workout. You can choose to do the entire trail system in the park called the Waverly Park MTB Loop (6.4 miles, according to All Trails), or you can pop in on the Clinic and Twisty Bends Loop (3.6 miles), or the Fresh Air Loop (2.8 miles). There’s also a kid loop trail located by the playground that is 1 mile long. The kid trail is not included in the Waverly Park MTB Loop calculation. We’ve seen turtles, snakes, frogs, deer, and several different types of birds while hiking here.
One thing worth noting about the Clinic and Twisty Bends Loop is that this trail double backs on itself many, many times. I read an article where the author talks about how he felt he was losing his mind on this trail because it can appear you’re going nowhere, or somewhere, but just not progressing out of the forest. A handy tool for assuring yourself that you’re in fact not hallucinating and you have seen the same area more than twice, is the All Trails app. This app (for Android and iPhone), has maps for just about every trail in most of our parks, and parks across the country.
If hiking isn’t your thing, there is a lake for fishing. It is used regularly, and stocked well. There are a few pavilions for picnics, and some cut outs along the bank for getting closer to the water to fish/relax. Overall, I’ve seen a lot of fellowship taking place at the lake. People from all walks of life gather and cook out, fish, and play.