Louisiana, Child of the Mississippi and a Sportsman’s Paradise, offers many opportunities for hikers to explore the lowlands, beaches, forests, and swamps that are found throughout the Bayou State. We've taken recommendations from Trails.com and the Louisiana Office of Tourism to highlight five of the best hiking trails to help you start exploring, so grab your boots, and "bonne route!"
Caroline Dormon Trail
The Caroline Dormon Trail is a 12-mile out-and-back hike through the Kisatchie Hills Wilderness Area, Louisiana's only national forest. Named for the first female forestry employee in the United States, the Caroline Dormon Trail takes hikers over uncharacteristic rocky formations and through the bayous to treat them to scenes of old-growth pine and bald cypress groves.
Driskill Mountain Trail
The 1.8-mile Driskill Mountain Trail takes hikers to the summit of Louisiana’s highest “mountain,” which tops out at 535 feet. This easy ascent is open to hikers all year long to offer gorgeous views of the surrounding forests.
Wild Azalea Trail
Louisiana’s longest hike is the Wild Azalea Trail, which runs for 28 miles through the Kisatchie National Forest from the Valentine Lake Recreation Area to the Town Hall in Woodworth. Hikers pass through several ecosystems, ranging from rolling hills to the bogs of the bayou, and are treated to breathtaking scenes of blooming wild azaleas during March and April.
Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area
You can choose between three 2-mile hiking trails to explore the Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area, a diverse habitat of undeveloped hills, hardwood forests, and bluffs that support plant and animal species found only in this region of Louisiana. Hikers are offered many opportunities to see migratory birds and native wildlife, such as deer, bobcats, and small game.
The Barataria Preserve is a 23,000 acre wetland wilderness that offers hikers the chance to traverse forests, marshes, and swamps as pirates and outlaws did hundreds of years ago. Several dirt trails and boardwalks allow hikers to explore the Barataria, such as the Wood Duck Trail and Plantation Trail hiking trails and the Bayou Coquille Trail and the Ring Levee Trail boardwalk trails, and if you visit in late spring watch for a blooming Louisiana Iris!