Find Your Calm in Louisiana’s Special Places

In Japan, people practice something called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath,” hence the term. The basic idea behind this practice is to simply be in nature and let your senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing, and taste be fully utilized to experience the peace and calm nature can bring. People today are more disconnected from nature than we’ve ever been. Indeed, the average American spends 93% of their time indoors. And yet now, more than ever, the world could use cleansing from the stress of sickness, joblessness, isolation, and the loss of loved ones due to Covid19.

During this time of year, nature’s anthem of hope after a dark season can be seen and heard everywhere. Trees are budding, birds are chirping and life is regenerating. We hope you’ll find time for a “cleanse” in Louisiana’s special places. We’ve provided information about some natural areas where you can amble the day away, including on our own conservation properties.  We’ve done a bit of research and as of Earth Day, these places are open to the public. Please do follow CDC recommendations for social distancing and check provided websites for any last minute updates on public access. Enjoy and here is a downloadable Nature Treasure Hunt to take along and do with the kids! 

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OPEN:  from 8am to 5pm for nature walks/hiking.  No Other Activities at this time. Entrance Fees are being waived. (Information obtained from parks official FB pages and/or State Park pages) All State Park day-use areas have public restrooms.

Tickfaw State Park:
27225 Patterson Road
Springfield, LA 70462-8906

Features:

  • Gum Cypress Trail — 1/2 mile (ADA accessible)
  • Pine Hardwood Trail — 1/2 mile
  • River Overlook/Bottomland HardwoodTrail — 3/4 mile
  • River Trail — 3 miles

Amenities:

  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Restroom Facilities

*Pets welcome but must be leashed.

https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/tickfaw-state-park/indexhttps://www.facebook.com/Tickfaw-State-Park-149506481782320/

Fountainebleau State Park:
HWY 190
Mandeville, LA

Features:

  • 8 mile Hiking Trail
  • 1- ¼ mile Nature Trail

Amenities:

  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Restroom Facilities

 

*Pets welcome but must be leashed.

https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/fontainebleau-state-park/index

https://www.facebook.com/Fontainebleau-State-Park-188949176061

 

Bogue Chitto State Park:

17049 State Park Blvd.
Franklinton, LA 70438

Features:

  • 7 mile nature trail
  • Ponds are available for fishing

Amenities:

  • Restroom Facilities

*Pets welcome but must be leashed.

https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/bogue-chitto-state-park/index

https://www.facebook.com/BogueChittoStatePark

 

Palmetto Island State Park:

19501 Pleasant Road
Abbeville, LA 70510

Features:  1 mile nature/cypress trail

Amenities:

  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Restroom Facilities

*Pets welcome but must be leashed.

https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/palmetto-island-state-park/index

https://www.facebook.com/Palmetto-Island-State-Park-139467999460273

 

NON STATE PARKS

Northlake Nature Center:
23135 Hwy. 190
Mandeville, LA 70448

Features:         8+ miles of hiking and biking trails

Amenities:

  • Port-a-Potty available in parking area

https://northlakenature.org/

https://www.facebook.com/NorthlakeNatureCenter

 

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge:
New Orleans East

Features:    

  • 2/3 mile-long interpretive boardwalk loop trail provides views of bottomland hardwood forest and marsh habitats
  • Hike along the levees within the Refuge

*Pets welcome but must be leashed.

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Bayou_Sauvage/

https://www.facebook.com/SoutheastLouisiana

 

Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge:
Hwy 190
Lacombe, La

Features:

  • hiking/biking trails
  • canoeing, kayaking
  • interpretive boardwalk
  • wildlife observation/photography
  • fishing

* Pets must be leashed

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/big_branch_marsh

 

Blackwater Conservation Area (managed by BREC):
9385 Blackwater Road
Central, LA 70814

Features:

  • 48 acre site
  • two large fishing lakes
  • nature trails

Amenities:  None

*Pets on a leash are allowed

***Stay on the trails. Bicycles not allowed

http://www.brec.org/index.cfm/park/BlackwaterConservationArea

 

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge:

11757 Ferdinand St.

St. Francisville, LA 70775

 

Features:  A short .75 trail and a 2.5 mile trail.

Amenities: None

*Pets must be leashed.

*Stay on the trails. Bicycles not allowed

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Cat_Island/visit/visitor_activities.html

 

Acadiana Park Nature Station:
1205 E. Alexander St.
Lafayette, LA 70501

Features:

  • 6 mile hiking trail
  • Wheelchair accessible facility

*Bicycles not allowed

*Pets allowed on leash

http://www.naturestation.org/pages/about-us

 

Abita Creek Flatwoods:

5 miles north of Abita Springs on Hwy. 435

Amenities: none

Features: interpretive trail and boardwalk

*Dog and pets not permitted

 

Updates on Kisatchie National Forest Recreation Sites

 All restroom facilities throughout the Forest are shut down.

 The Old LSU Walking Trail at the Supervisor’s Office is open.

 

Calcasieu Ranger District:

Evangeline Unit, Rapides Parish:

 

SHUT DOWN:

 Kincaid Lake Group-Use Area

 Kincaid Lake Recreation Area, Campgrounds A & B, and the primitive camp

 Valentine Lake Recreation Area and Campground (Valentine Lake and the trail are OPEN)

 Loran Campground

 Boy Scout Camp

 

WHAT IS OPEN:

  • All Kincaid Boat Launches
  • Kincaid Lake Trail: people may park at the gate, go behind the gate, walk to the beach, walk the trails around Kincaid Lake (Trail has been rerouted due to tornado damage)
  • Valentine Lake and Trail
  • Wild Azalea Trail
  • Camp Claiborne OHV Trails
  • Evangeline Camp – tent camping only
  • Ahtus Melder Camp

 

 

Vernon Unit, Vernon Parish:

 

SHUT DOWN:

 Fullerton Group-Use Area

 Fullerton Campground

 Little Cypress day and group-use area

 Government Pond Camping

 Enduro OHV Trail and Campground (closed due to tornado damage)

 

WHAT IS OPEN:

  • Fullerton Lake and the Interpretive Trail
  • Little Cypress Lake and Ol’ Sarge Interpretive Trail
  • Blue Hole and Hogback Ridge Trail
  • Government Pond fishing and day-use horse riding
  • Wolf Rock Cave
  • Big Branch Trail and Longleaf Area
  • Wild Turkey Trail
  • Hunter Camp

 

Caney Ranger District, Claiborne and Webster Parishes:

 

SHUT DOWN:

 Caney Lakes Group-Use Area

 Caney Lakes Campground (Beaver Dam Campground)

 

WHAT IS OPEN:

  • Caney Lakes and Corney Lake boat launches
  • Corney Bayou Boat Ramp
  • Sugar Cane National Recreation Trail
  • Corney Lake Hunter Camp
  • Sugar Creek Hunter Camp
  • Bucktail Hunter Camp
  • Turkey Trot Hunter Camp

 

Catahoula Ranger District, Grant Parish:

 

SHUT DOWN:

 Stuart Lake Group-Use Area

 Stuart Lake Recreation Area and Campground

 Stuart Lake and part of the Glen Emery Trail near the Lake

 

WHAT IS OPEN:

  • Glen Emery Hiking Trail (except the portion of the trail near Stuart Lake)
  • Iatt Lake
  • Bankston Hunter Camp
  • Highway 472 Hunter Camp
  • Pearson Hunter Camp
  • Saddle Bayou Hunter Camp
  • Livingston OHV Trails: Hickman Trail and Little Creek Trail

 

Kisatchie Ranger District, Natchitoches Parish:

 

SHUT DOWN:

 Longleaf Vista Group-Use Area

 Longleaf Vista Trail (barricades are at the Scenic By-way; visitors may not drive or walk to the Vista)

 Kisatchie Bayou Recreation Area and Campground

 Kisatchie Bayou access (the gate is shut and visitors may not walk behind the gate)

 Dogwood Campground

 Cane Camp

 Lotus Camp

 

WHAT IS OPEN:

  • Kisatchie Hills Wilderness Area
  • Caroline Dormon Recreation Trail
  • Sandstone Trail (open to hiking, biking [cycling, not motorized], and horses)
  • Anderson Pond
  • Corral Camp
  • Coyote Camp
  • Custis Camp
  • Oak Camp
  • Red Bluff Camp

 

Winn Ranger District, Winn Parish:

 

SHUT DOWN:

 Cloud Crossing Campground

 Gum Springs Campground

 Gum Springs Horse Campground

 

WHAT IS OPEN:

  • Saline Bayou
    • Cloud Crossing Launch Area
    • Pearfield Launch Area
    • Goldonna Launch Area
    • Sand Point Launch Area
  • Saline Bayou Recreation Trail
  • Gum Springs Horse Trail
  • Highway 472 Hunter Camp

 

Motorized trail status changes with weather conditions. Please call the OHV Trail Status Hotline for updates: 866-830-6467.