Hiking in Louisiana is unlike hiking anywhere else in the country. Witness the majestic wildlife that live in the deltas, marshes, and swamps throughout the region. Go bird watching like John J. Audubon or take in the diverse flora and fauna. Whether you’re a nature nut, an experienced hiker, or simply want to go on a stroll with the family, you’ll find fantastic opportunities throughout the state. Check out five great options below.
The Louisiana State Arboretum in Ville Platte, Louisiana, is one of the most gorgeous natural areas in the entire region. The arboretum is part of Chicot State Park, and offers trails for hikers of all experience levels. Beginners can peruse the Wetland Trail, which is only .7 miles, whereas more experienced hikers will enjoy the 20-mile trail that surrounds the lake. The oldest state-supported arboretum in the United States, it is home to over 150 unique plant species, and diverse wild-life.
The Wild Azalea Trail in Woodworth, Louisiana, cuts through the scenic Kisatchie National Forest. The entire trail is almost 31 miles-long, which makes for an intense 16-hour hiking experience for those so inclined to experience the entire route, or a series of bountiful nature walks for those more interested in shorter sojourns. A recreation area, shelters, and drinking water facilities are sprinkled along the trail, providing opportunities for refreshment. The trail is typically rated as moderate and is known for its incredible wild flowers.
The Barataria Preserve is part of the greater Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, which covers much of the Mississippi River Delta region. The Barataria Preserve is closest to Marrero, Louisiana, and offers a four-mile trail that is perfect for hikers of all ages. Wildflowers, swamp, and alligators await.
Gorge Run Trail cuts through the relatively new Bogue Chitto State Park. Dogs are welcome on this six-mile, moderate trail, but must be kept on a leash. Each entrant to the park must pay $3. The trail is a loop near a lake, which adds to the scenic beauty. Try to avoid visiting just after a heavy rain, as the bogs may become too deep to properly enjoy the hike. Terrain types include beach, pine, gravel, and gorge.
Originally a railroad trail, the Tammany Trace Trail has been repurposed into a regular hiking path covering over 30 miles. According to the Tammany Hall official website, the trailhead “resembles an old-fashioned railroad station and includes a covered waiting platform, a clock tower, a band stand, a sloped, grassy, shaded audience area, restrooms, water fountains, visitor center, exhibit hall and small movie theater.” The train itself winds through a 27.5-mile corridor and stretches from Covington through four other towns. The elevation is nice and easy, and will work for hikers of all levels.