Tunica Hills, near St. Francisville, LA
When you’re ready to get away from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and escape to the wilder, quieter side of Louisiana, just head for the hills: Tunica Hills.
Tunica Hills State Park is nearly 6,000 acres of wildlife, perfect for hiking, camping, and seeking solitude with nature. A diverse population of animals call this park home, including the worm-eating warbler and Cooper’s hawk which are both rare in the rest of Louisiana. The year-round park features nature and hiking trails that lead to a side of Louisiana you might not know yet—but should!
Louisiana State Arboretum in Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, LA
The Arboretum contains over 150 species of plant life native to Louisiana, on a varied topography suitable for nearly all Louisiana vegetation except those of the prairies and coastal marshes. The Arboretum is a mature Beech-Magnolia forest containing centuries-old giant beech, magnolia, oak, and ash trees, as well as ferns, hickories, maples, sycamores, and crane fly orchids. Wildlife includes white-tail deer, fox, opossum, raccoon, skunk, squirrel, wild turkey, and numerous other bird species.
Grand Isle Birding Trail, Grand Isle, LA
Did you know Louisiana is a hotspot for birds and therefore birders and bird enthusiasts? Grand Isle, Louisiana in Jefferson Parish is particularly famous for its bird-watching. Springtime is peak time to spot some of the most beautiful birds around, but even if you’re not a bird enthusiast it’s still one of the most beautiful landscape Louisiana has to offer, and home to some of the most spectacular sunsets in the state.
Caroline Dormon Trail, Kisatchie National Forest
The forest also offers recreation activities including: bird watching, photography, backpacking, canoeing, all-terrain vehicle trails, boating, camping, cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, mountain biking, picnicking and swimming. The forest has more than 40 developed recreation sites and over 100 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Named for the first woman employed in forestry in the United States one of Kitsatchie’s most beautiful trails is the Caroline Dormon trail.
Barataria Preserve Trails, Jean Lafitte National Park
The preserve’s 23,000 acres give visitors a glimpse into Louisiana’s wetlands, including bayous, swamps, marshes, and forests. It’s truly one of the most scenic areas in the state. The boardwalk trails allow you to venture out into the swamps and marshes, giving you access to parts of Louisiana’s wetlands that you just wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. Alligators, turtles, snakes, deer, and hundreds of species of birds all call the area home, so be sure to keep an eye out while you’re on the trails.
Toledo Bend Reservoir, one of the country’s largest man-made reservoirs, provides a venue for a wide variety of activities. More than 900 acres are available for camping, picnicking, hiking, and relaxing in the heart of nature. Hiking and biking trails wind throughout the park, with hills that are perfect settings for photographing sunsets over the lake. And if you’re looking for calmer waters, the park also offers canoes for rent.
Make sure to keep an eye out for bald eagles!
Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, LA
Chicot State Park is located near Ville Platte, Louisiana. This wildlife reserve of South Central Louisiana features 6,400 acres of rolling hills surrounding a 2,000-acre man-made lake stocked with bass, crappie, bluegill, and red-ear sunfish. It’s home to one of the longest trails within a state park in Louisiana, the 22-mile hike around Chicot lake offers breathtaking views of Cypress Swamp. Primitive campsites are stationed all along the way–but be sure and bring your own water!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore!