Nestled in the hills of the Big Beech Woods in Pope Lick Park, the Big Beech Trail takes hikers deep into a forest of Sycamore, Beech and Cedar trees rolling over gentle hills and through small creeks that feed into Floyds Fork. The trail itself is listed at 1.57 miles, but to get to the trailhead, you must walk a half-mile-or-so, depending on where you park. We chose the lot at the administration building, which gets you the closest to the trailhead, putting us at an easy 2.89 miles.
We hiked the trail on March 5 in 70-degree weather. A mild winter gave us an early blanket of blooming wild flowers, and we saw many clumps of Cutleaf Toothwort near the creek beds and bright green buds on many of the bushes and trees, a few of which we included in our original Trail Guide.
We love this trail because of the hills and trees. Just past the trailhead, you begin to climb towards an overlook of Floyds Fork, but don’t worry. The climb is less than a hundred feet, and the view, especially in winter, is worth the effort. After the overlook the trail dips and climbs again into a stand of cedar that delighted us with its rich fragrance. On the day we scouted the trail, I wore a fleece jacket, and on the way home, I noticed that it had absorbed the strong scent of the copse of cedars I walked through on the ridge above the overlook. It smelled so good, I refused to wash that jacket for a month or so, and even then the smell was still very strong.
While the trail may seem short to those used to putting in big miles on big trails, the Big Beech Trail is a great way to get experience the woods while being just 15 minutes from downtown. For beginners, the trail is a great first step on the way to longer and more remote trails like those found in the Great Smoky Mountains or out on the Appalachian Trail.
If you’re in good shape, budget an hour for this hike. If you’re a beginner, expect this to take 1.5 – 2 hours.
Watch Our Video Trail Guide
Getting here – from the Gene Snyder Freeway (I-265)
- Take I-64 to exit 23 for KY-155/Taylorsville Road
- Head East on KY-155/Taylorsville Road
- Turn right on S. Pope Lick Road, which is just before the Shell station
- Follow S. Pope Lick Road past the parking area for the soccer fields all the way back to the Administration Building, and begin your hike on the Fitness Loop.