Summary: The Siltstone Trail traverses the knobs of southern Jefferson County, topping out on some of the areas highest points. The 6 1/2 mile trail can be hiked from either end, and is an easy shuttle if you have a hiking buddy with wheels. Otherwise, it's a 13 mile out and back hike.
It doesn't take long to get warmed up on this hike. After strolling past Tom Wallace Lake, you're faced with a 300' climb from the trailhead. Once you've made the climb, the hike is mostly a ridge line hike. But this doesn't mean there's no more climbing. The trail drops down to cross 2 paved roads, with steep climbs down and up at each intersection. With over 3,000' of total climbing, this trail keeps the thighs burning and the heart pumping.
Since nearly the entire hike is through heavily wooded areas, this is a great hike in the fall and when the leaves are off in the winter and early spring.
Deer and wild turkey (feathered not bottled) are commonly seen along the way.
Trailhead: The Siltstone Trail is located in Jefferson Co Memorial Forest, about 15 miles south of downtown Louisville. From I-65, turn west on the Gene Snyder Freeway (I-265). Travel about 2 miles, and turn south at the Fairdale-National Turnpike exit. Turn right at the first light onto Fairdale Road. After 3/4 mi. turn right onto Manslick Road, then take an immediate left onto Mitchell Hill Road. The Welcome Center is located on your left, nearly 2 miles ahead. The trail begins across the road from the Welcome Center.
The trail can also be entered on the west end of the trail off of Scott's Gap Road, which gives you the option of cutting the length in half with a shuttle hike. But as of the Fall of 2003, the parking area at the west end was unavailable due to construction. Call ahead to verify if parking is available before heading to the west end of the trail.
The trail also crosses Jefferson Hill Road and Bearcamp Road, but there are no official parking areas. (Lat:38.08489 Lon:-85.7676)
Trail Guides for Siltstone Trail:
Hiking in the Louisville Area
by Richard & Steve Hollos (RSH Media)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Jefferson County Memorial Forest - (502) 368-5404
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Ron Long, who has posted 22 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Ben on 3/29/2013
most of these trails are on hill sides or climbing up or going down a hill. Make sure you bring plenty of water. They are fun and are very challenging at times.
Reviewed by Alexis on 11/6/2012
I love this hike! I went today and started out by the playground area, went through Scotts gap longer loop, and hiked back to the playground. (15 miles about) Its a very pleasant but strenuous hike. Its harder with the leaves during fall simply because its harder to see the trail and leaves are slippery but, the views are breathtaking and well worth the climb. This is one of my personal favorites. I've only ever seen a couple people (3 in all today) on the trails. Im a young woman that hikes by myself and have never had any issues to date. The trails were well maintained.
Reviewed by Doug Troklus on 9/13/2010
I ran/hiked this trail on Saturday, 9/11. I would say its a very hard trail. 3000+ ft of elevation in 13 miles makes it way more strenuous than Millennium. Be in good shape to do this hike, and bring alot of water. I only saw 1 person the entire day, so obviously people don't know much about this trail.
Reviewed by rjr on 7/24/2010
I walked this today, 7/24/10, and was rather impressed with the condition of the trail. It was only slightly overgrown in just a few short areas, but otherwise, its a very nice trail. I agree with the sentiment that it would be better to hike this trail in the fall or spring because the leaves/vegetation pretty much blocked any views on top of the knobs today. I went one way, starting across the street from the welcome center and going to Scott's Gap where I was able to drop off my car. Hiking in that direction puts most, if not all, of the uphill hiking in the first half of the hike. The second half was spent mostly along a high ridge from knob top to knob top which will offer some nice views in the fall, when I will hike it again.
Reviewed by RAH on 7/6/2010
It was a lovely hike and more than we expected. My husband and I took our dog (100 lb bluetick coonhound). The rocky terrian completely torn the poor dog's paws apart though. He ended up ripping square inch sized pieces of his pads off. We've never had problems with his feet before, so be aware if you're bring Fido. The landscape is beautiful, but rather rough.
Reviewed by JH on 9/20/2008
Right now I would rate the trail as moderate to strenuous with quite a bit of bushwhacking. I hiked 5 days after the windstorm hit the Louisville area. I was told by the lady at the welcome center that the trail was clear. Maybe her idea of a clear trail differs from mine. There were several large trees down on the trail, many more tree limbs and much debris along the trail. I had to bushwhack as several spots. If or when they actually do clear it I would then rate it as moderate. Overall still a good trail.
Reviewed by Doug on 6/18/2007
This trail was tough...one of the most strenuous I've ever been on. I would rate it more strenuous than the Millenium Trail. We started at 9:00 am from Scott's Gap Road on a hot, humid day. We each had three 33oz water bottles. We started out immediately with a steep climb and then settled in for a nice ridge line hike for the next 2 hours. The next steep climb was right after Bearcreek Rd, I would say at least 400 ft in an 1/8 th of a mile. One of the steepest clims I've ever made. Next was alot of moderate hiking to the visitor center. Nice view of the lake and saw a deer. We made it to the halfway point in 2hours 40 minutes. After resting we travelled back uneventfully, making it back in 2 hours 50 min. Nice hike I'd do it agai
Reviewed by Brenda on 7/24/2006
I hiked this trail 7/16/06, 6.5 miles in, 6.5 miles back out. I thought it was a nice hike. I wanted to get some elevation in to help train for an upcoming trip. I'd consider it a moderate trail. Though it does have about 3000 foot total elevation gain, it doesn't last for very long periods of time before leveling out again. Of course, in July, there are no views to be had in the thick forestation and vegetation and it is quite humid and buggy. However, knowing that in advance helps one be prepared with the insect repellant and an early start. It took me about 7 hours total and about 100 ounces of water, the maximum of my reservoir. I considered it rewarding at the end. I saw no snakes and only pulled off 1 tick.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Kentucky Hiking, Kentucky Trails, Kentucky Hikes, Jefferson County Hiking, Jefferson County Trails, Jefferson County Hikes