Located in northern Kentucky, Louisville is the largest city in the state and one of the most populated in the United States, with almost 790,000 residents. The city was founded in 1778 and named after King Louis the 16th. The whole northern and eastern borders of Louisville run along the Ohio River, making it a popular spot for water sports like fishing, swimming, and boating. It is also the home of the Kentucky Derby, Muhammad Ali, the Louisville Slugger baseball bat, and the first cheeseburger.
It was Charles Kaelin who invented the delicious fast food dish in 1934 when he was trying to get more flavor on his burgers at his restaurant, Kaelin’s. But he did not patent the idea so he did not get the actual “credit” for the discovery. With hot summers and mild winters, Louisville also has lots of parks. In fact, there are more than 120 parks with about 13,000 acres. Here are 15 of the top Louisville dog parks.
The Barklands in Beckley Creek Park
Just about 20 minutes east of Louisville, The Barklands in Beckley Creek Park was the first off-leash dog park in the city, and it boasts three acres of green space for pups to prance around in. Separated by one acre each, there is a space for big dogs, one for small, and one for resting. The spaces rotate constantly, with the resting section closed to regenerate. Right next to the Egg Lawn in the middle of the park south of Interstate 64.
As one of the Louisville Dog Run Association (LDRA) parks, you have to pay for a membership and provide your pup’s vaccination records before visiting. However, this is what makes it such a great park. Also, if you are a visitor, you can get a one-day pass. It is always clean, bags are always stocked, and it is easy to find with a row of lime green fire hydrants and a giant bone leading to the entrance. And during the summer, there are always kiddie pools for the cuddly canines to cool off in.
Champions Dog Run Park
Another one of the dog parks run by the LDRA, Champions Dog Run, can be found in Champions Park along the banks of the Ohio River in eastern Louisville. This one has almost four acres and is separated with one side for little tykes and another for all dogs, from tiny Terriers to large Leonbergers. The land used to be a golf course and was (and is) very well maintained, so there is plenty of lush green grass to make it comfy for puppy paws.
The park provides gazebos and mature weeping willow trees to give you plenty of shaded seating and since it is a private park, it is not as crowded as others in the city. This means lots of doggie bags and space for the pooches to chase each other. Or bring a ball to play fetch. There are also water fountains for both pups and their pup parents from March to October.
Club K9 Dog Bar
You never have to leave your pooch at home while you go out and enjoy a drink or two with Club K9 Dog Bar. Located in eastern Louisville, the dog bar has an acre of fenced space outdoors for pups to play unhindered by a leash while you enjoy an adult beverage with other pup parents. If the weather gets bad, there are more than 7,000 square feet inside that have both AC and heat. There is also a separate area for small dogs that do not like playing with the bigguns.
During the summer, there are fire hydrant sprayers, tennis ball fountains, and pools to keep them cool, and all sorts of toys, balls, and agility equipment to play with. You do have to have a membership, but they offer daily passes, too, for those just passing through or just want to check it out. Provide vaccination records, and you can go enjoy a beer, wine, or cocktail right now! They even have food trucks, karaoke, bingo, and trivia.
Cochran Hill Dog Run Park at Cherokee Park
Cochran Hill Dog Run is another one of the members-only clubs, this one at the 400-acre Cherokee Park just a few miles south of Champions Park. The fenced off-leash pup playspace is two acres and separated with one section for small dogs only. During the summer, both sides have several kiddie pools filled with cool water to chill out in. It is a gorgeous place all year long but it can get muddy in the winter when the grass dies off.
The fenced section is located across Interstate 64 from the rest of Cherokee Park but your cuddly canine is welcome to join you there if he is leashed. You will find all sorts of fun activities here, like tennis, basketball, soccer, and golfing, as well as a hiking and biking path. They even have archery and picnic areas, as well as sledding in the winter. During the summer, you can cool off in the sprayground, which doubles as a playground in the winter.
E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park
The massive E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park can be found in northeastern Louisville on North Hurstbourne Parkway (RD-1747), and it has a fantastic dog park with six acres! The Sawyer Dog Park is separated into two sections for large and small pooches and was the first official dog park for off-leash fun in the city. You will find it in the northeast section of the park by the main park entrance. You will need to be a member of the LDRA to enjoy this park, which makes it even more special.
The other 544 acres is also dog-friendly in most areas as long as you keep your canine companion leashed at all times. There are several trails in the park, including the one-mile fitness trail with 10 exercise stations. If you want to see the creek, take the 1.25-mile Goose Creek Trail. They also have pickleball, basketball, a model airplane field, badminton, archery, tennis, soccer, and baseball. And there are two playgrounds for the kiddos.
Falls of the Ohio State Park
As the name implies, the most well-known attractions at Falls of the Ohio State Park are the waterfalls. However, none of them have water anymore, making them fossil beds instead. The falls were destroyed when the dams were built to protect the adjoining areas from flooding. Although most of the park is really in Indiana, some of it is in Kentucky, and it is only 2.5 miles from downtown Louisville so it is actually closer than most of the parks in Kentucky.
The park does not have a fenced area for off-leash play, but there are many areas where your fur puppy can be off the leash if he is voice-trained. Take him on one of the trails to see the fossil beds from the Devonian Age, have a picnic lunch with your pooch in one of the picnic areas, or get a fishing license to do some fishing. But you may need to get both Indiana and Kentucky licenses depending on where you fish on the Ohio River.
Highland Dog Park
Highland Dog Park is also in Indiana, just 5.4 miles from Louisville across the Ohio River. This members-only dog park was the first official off-leash pooch park in Highland. You do have to pay an annual fee if you decide to join, but they offer day passes if you want to try it out. There is a separate space for small dogs that do not feel comfortable playing with the bigger pooches. All dogs over 25 pounds have to play in the large dog section.
When you sign up, all members have to show proof of vaccinations and be spayed or neutered so you know your fur puppy will be safe there. The park also has some fun agility equipment, like a ramp and climbing platforms. There is also shaded seating for pup parents, a pergola with picnic tables, water fountains, waste stations with baggies, and a walking trail to enjoy with your cuddly canine companion.
Love’s Travel Stop Park #238
You may not think of a truck stop when you want to take your fur baby to play, but Love’s Travel Stop in Shepherdsville actually has a dog park. It is only 20 minutes south of downtown Louisville where Interstate 65 meets KY-480 over the Salt River. The fenced park for pups to play off the leash can be found by the entrance on the western side of the store. It also has a waste station, seating for pet parents, and a 50-foot by 100-foot space for pups to play. And it is open 24 hours a day!
If you get hungry while you are there, they also have a Subway Sandwich Shope and Chester’s Chicken Restaurant as well as lots of snacks at the convenience store. If you are on the road, you may appreciate the hot showers, wi-fi, propane, and laundry facility. And they also offer mechanical services, Amazon pickup, and an ATM.
Love’s Travel Stop Park #355
If you happen to be heading north of Louisville, Love’s Travel Stop has another awesome pup park about 20 minutes to the north of downtown Louisville. Right off Interstate 65 by Blue Lick Road in Memphis, Indiana, this is another rest stop packed with everything you may need, from food to fun. On the western end of the lot by the entrance, you will find the quaint little fenced area for cuddly canines to explore.
It may not be huge, but it has everything you need, including seating, a waste station with doggie bags, and a trash can with room for your pupster to run around a bit. The travel stop also has a Subway Sandwich Shop and McDonald’s if you need a bite to eat. Like the other Love stations, it also has showers, wi-fi, propane, a laundry facility, and a small mechanical shop as well as an ATM, check cashing, and overnight parking.
Morton Avenue Dog Park
If you and your fur buddy happen to be in southeastern Louisville Morton Avenue Dog Park in the Original Highlands area is a local favorite of many. Pup parents who visit tend to be regular visitors after the first time because the people and the pups are so pleasant. It is also maintained better than most dog parks and has a flat one-acre space that is fenced and fully shaded. There are tons of chairs, so you can move around all day if you want to.
This is one of the few off-leash dog parks in the city that do not require a membership, so it is completely free no matter how often you go. What’s more, the park has a separate fenced area for the little humans as well. If you have some, bring them, and they can play on the playground equipment while your fur puppy plays in the dog area.
Old Louisville Dog Run Park
Another dog park for members of the LDRA, Old Louisville Dog Run is located in southern Louisville at Toonerville Trolley Park. However, according to the locals, it is never locked, and anyone is welcome. The park has two small fenced areas separated by a small field to keep the big dogs and little pups separate. But one side is completely paved with no trees or shade as it used to be a tennis court.
The larger dog area has grass and some shade but not much. They do both have plenty of benches and chairs for seating as well as kiddie pools for the fur puppies to splash around and cool off in. You will need to bring your own doggie bags for picking up poop and go ahead and pack some water, too just in case. Toonerville Trolley Park also welcomes leashed pets and has a nice kids’ playground and field.
Peggy Baker Park Dog Park
Peggy Baker Dog Park is located inside the popular Peggy Baker Ballpark in Crestwood Heritage Place. You can find this small but pup popular park in northeastern Louisville, and it is part of the LDRA as well, so you will need a membership or day pass. There is a separate section for small and shy dogs, which is much smaller than the large dog section and not shaded at all. Bring a had and some sunscreen if you will be on that side of the park.
The large dog area welcomes small pooches too, as long as they are well-socialized with larger dogs. There are some shade structures and benches here, as well as a water fountain and lots of lush green grass to prance around on. Your pooch will love chasing around the other pups or playing a game of fetch with you. During the summer, there are usually kiddie pools to keep the pups cool.
PG&Js Dog Park Bar
Less than a half mile from Morton Avenue Dog Park, PG&Js Dog Park Bar was the first dog park bar in Louisville and is incredibly popular with the pups and pup parents. Named after the owner’s cuddly canines Paco, Ginnie, Austin, and Roddy, this place loves to be surrounded by fur babies and friendly pet parents. While you enjoy a brew or two (or another beverage), you can let your little buddy run around in the fenced outdoor area.
There is a lot to do here for dogs and their humans. Pupsters can enjoy agility ramps, climbing pedestals, tunnels, and other fun toys, as well as pools filled with cold water in the summer. The ground is mulched for comfort. The humans get to choose from 12 rotating brews, including some local faves, flat-screen TVs, trivia, comedy nights, and food trucks. There is a small fee whether you want a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly membership, but it is worth it.
Vettiner Dog Run Park
Southeastern Louisville has the popular Vettiner Dog Run, another of the LDRA membership parks in the city. The off-leash park boasts two acres of space in southern Charlie Vettiner Park. It has separate sections for different-sized dogs as well as a gazebo and other shaded seating for the pet parents to enjoy. Because it is a membership park, you will notice fewer people but those who are there are true dog lovers. It is also quite rugged, with a nice trail through the trees.
The park also offers waste stations and water fountains, but bring your own just in case. If you put your pup’s leash back on, he can join you in the rest of the 280 acres. You can enjoy a game of disc golf, basketball, or regular golf, as well as pickleball, tennis, and baseball. They also have picnic areas with tables and grills, restrooms, and playgrounds for the kiddos.
Waverly Dog Run Park
The final LDRA membership park, Waverly Dog Run, is located at the 300-acre Waverly Park in southwestern Louisville. You can find it at the northwestern end of the park by Westerly Park Lake. The off-leash dog run is about two acres but is not separated for small and large fur puppies, so everyone plays together. It is also very wooded and has a trail that takes you through the thick wooded area.
The pooch park has enough space for fetch or frisbee or for your pooch to chase other pooches around. There are lots of benches in the shade as well as water stations for pups and people, waste stations with baggies, and water bowls. It can get a little muddy after a rain, but you can clean his paws with the water hose. You can bring Fido to the rest of the park if he is leashed, where you can go fishing, have a picnic, or play some golf.
The Final Woof
Once you visit some (or all) of these fun pup parks, you probably need to do something more relaxing. If shopping relaxes you, take your fur buddy to Fleur De Flea Vintage Market, with both indoor and outdoor spaces to peruse with your pooch. As long as your pup is leashed, he is welcome. The South 4th Street Business District features more than 40 shops, eateries, and galleries and is also pup popular with many of the places allowing leashed canine companions inside. For more excitement, try one of the local dog-friendly tours. The Amerighost Louisville Ghost Tours are fun, a little scary, and very informative. After, relax with an adult beverage at the Great Flood Highlands, where leashed pups are always welcome.