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    Pope Lick Park won a 2018 Critic's Choice award in the 2018 Best of Louisville awards. 

    By Barbara Myerson Katz 
    Photos by Mickie Winters 

    Pope Lick Park, 4002 S. Pope Lick Road 

    A dozen or so years ago, my husband and I started bicycling with friends for fun and exercise. The group would meet for bagels on Sunday mornings, then go work off the carbs on routes devised to avoid as much traffic as possible on city streets.

    The old Sunday morning bunch is now busy with out-of-town travel, grandkids and other weekend activities, but David and I still don pads, helmets and gloves, and hop on our bikes whenever we can. And there’s a new, completely traffic-free route that we love — so much so that, despite our penchant for new places (we’ve biked Cape Cod, the Napa Valley and, with van assistance, from Prague to Vienna), we head there week after week.

    Pope Lick Park, in the Parklands of Floyds Fork, lies between Taylorsville and Seatonville roads in eastern Jefferson County and boasts a comfortably wide and paved path that curves through open fields and shaded woodland. The route crisscrosses the waterway via a series of bridges and has enough gentle incline to give casual riders like us — along with walkers, runners and inline skaters — a decent workout, passing through areas with names like Catfish Bend, the Walnut Grove and the Ascent.

    The Pope Lick stretch, about six miles one-way, is part of the 100-mile Louisville Loop that’s being built and is bookended by more challenging hills — the trail winds through Beckley Creek Park to the north and Turkey Run Park to the south. We generally do the 12 round-trip miles, sometimes adding distance and slopes in Turkey Run. Stone and park benches offer places to stop along the way.

    The picturesque scene changes with the seasons. In the summer: a meadow awash in yellow wildflowers, rows of corn, rolls of hay, an old tobacco barn, trees reflected in a stream stirred by paddling kayakers. Honeysuckle perfumes the air. Birds are abundant, along with the occasional deer, rabbit or squirrel. We recently encountered a snapping turtle that stared inquisitively as we and fellow bikers paused to stare back.

    This originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine as a Best of Louisville Critic's Choice winner. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    To see more Critic's Choices, click here.

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